'The Russian Five' - Movie Review

I'm not a huge fan of hockey, nor of the Detroit Red Wings. But this is an interesting story that begins in the late Eighties, with the Red Wings at or near the bottom of the league and desperately trying to claw their way out. They spend a couple third and fourth draft picks on Russian players - with no guarantee they could actually get them out of the Soviet Union. But they manage to get them both to defect within a couple years, and pick up a third out of Russia, and eventually (as you can guess from the title), a couple more - this time from other NHL teams. The result is everything they'd wished for, although it took longer than they'd hoped. The story takes a somewhat tragic turn that I might have known about had I been a fan, but of course I'm not.

I found Jim Devellano a bit too twee and self-congratulatory (he was the Red Wings' recruiter, and the talking head with the most time on screen), and Jeff Daniels somewhat unnecessary - he's famous, but he's trying to speak for the whole of Detroit, and does he really do that? But even for a non-fan, the Russian Five's skills on the ice were obvious. They were also surprisingly interesting to listen to. I thought it was a bit too long, but for the most part very good.