The opening credits of Red Army reveal:
a) veteran Hollywood producer (Nashville and the original Karate Kid among his many commercial hits) and one-time studio head Jerry Weintraub as a producer;
b) noted German film director Werner Herzog also as a producer;
c) a 1950's Ronald Reagan spouting some prophetic anticommunism rhetoric;
d) and Russian hockey superstar Slava Fetisov, the documentary's main subject, arrogantly flipping off the questioning director.
This line-up of diverse notables got my attention quickly, and I was not disappointed with this entertaining and informative documentary. Part history lesson, part social criticism, part sports story, and part redemption tale, Red Army tackles its subject with an engrossing style and seamless editing.
All great sports films are about more than competition. Red Army joins the roster as a meaningful story of athletes who come to champion friendship, family, and patriotism amid politics, greed, and personal tragedy.