The 9th Company (Russian: 9 Рота) is a 2005 Russian–Finnish–Ukrainian film directed by Fyodor Bondarchuk and set during the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan
. The film is loosely based on the events of the Battle for Hill 3234
. The protagonists are a group of young recruits of the Soviet Army, first arriving at boot camp in Soviet Central Asia and receiving combat training, until they are sent to the frontline where they are stationed in a remote base, surrounded with hostile locals. Soon, they find themselves ordered to hold a hilltop post at all cost, while the mujahideen decide to strike.
This work contains examples of following tropes:
- A Father to His Men: Both Dygalo and Khokhol use extreme measures to respectively train and keep their men alive, but in the same time they really care about their lives and well-being.
- Accidental Aiming Skills: Gioconda is revealed to be a perfect marksman, while he never before handled a gun. His own theory? As an artist, he simply got keen eye.
- An Ass Kicking Christmas: While the exact date isn't stated, the final battle takes place few days after a New Year. Orthodox Christmas are week after New Year.
- Anyone Can Die: And they do by the dozen.
- BFG: Few NSV heavy machine guns are used. To elaborate - it's tripod requires a dedicated carrier.
- Band of Brothers: What the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits became half way through.
- Berserk Button: Do and tell Vorobey what you want, but never take his letters or mock his girlfriend loyality. He won't take that lightly.
- Blind Without 'Em: The demolition expert. Gioconda uses this to pull a prank with piece of plastic explosives.
- Booby Trap: Patephone left a live grenade under killed Afgani, instructing the rest of soldiers how it's important to always do that.
- Bottomless Magazines: Averted - everyone is reloading and running out of ammo constantly. After some time during final battle there is hardly any ammunition left.
- Butt Monkey: Pinochet.
- Call Back: After Vorobey scored his first kill, a grenade was left under the body of the Afgani he shot. During his own Heroic Sacrifice, he blows himself with a grenade.
- Camp Follower: Snow White is a modern incarnation of this trope. She is a daughter of a local nurse, in a mutually satisfactory deal with a whole base of horny young soldiers.
- Conscription: The leading characters have been conscripted.
- Darkest Hour: After a day-long battle, almost all named characters are dead. There is only a handful of soldiers left, surrounded by seemingly endless mass of Afgani fighters. Their highest ranking personel is Private first class. They are almost out of ammo and without any means of calling backup.
- Dead Man's Trigger Finger: Chugun dies this way.
- Determinator: Dygalo was planting such attitude into his men. When one of them wets himself during stresfull assignment and the rest burst in laught, Dygalo berates them and points out that the mission was still fulfilled, which is more important than anything else.
- Elite Mook: The mentioned below Overt Operative.
- End of an Age: While it's only hinted in-story, the film takes place in final years of Soviet Union (Perestroika is already in effect) and Cold War. The confusion between soldiers what is actually happening in politics is pretty accurate portrait of that time.
- Friendly Sniper: Gioconda.
- Good Luck Charm: One is given to the main characters by a soldier taking a flight back home. His plane is shot down almost immediately after take-off.
- Gunship Rescue: The Hind gunships in the end, tearing Afgani fighters apart in slow-motion. They arrive right after Lyutyy is a last man standing from his unit.
- I Shall Taunt You: An Afgani fighter starts shouting insults toward commander of garrison in broken Russian. While both sides find it amusing, after few laughts the Soviets promptly open fire. It's implied to be their local tradition.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Dygalo is an epitome of Drill Sergeant Nasty, but he doesn't allow bullying (at least when it's someone else than him bullying) and use all his strenght to turn his antagonizing soldiers into Band of Brothers. Being a Shell-Shocked Veteran adds it's own weight, since he's fully aware what could happen to those boys in Afganistan, so he hides all his feelings under a jaded facade.
- Mad Artist: Gioconda is a curious example; he went to war, despite having an opportunity of getting a comfortable post at the staff, because he saw it as a form of art.
- The Medic: Kurbashi.
- Mildly Military: Hastly trained conscripts are sent from all over the Soviet Union to Afganistan. Poor military conduct is almost guaranteed - everyone is getting constantly drunk and abuse of new conscripts by older ones is a norm. On the other hand, things like sleeping during watch are summarily punished.
- More Dakka: Most of the time, it's Rule of Cool. During the final battle it's Rule of Drama.
- The Nicknamer: One of the boys, he assigns all the nicknames to the rest.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Beware of Child Soldiers.
- No One Gets Left Behind: That's what training said. Then in the end it's reveled that the whole unit was left forgotten on the hill, fighting a pointless battle.
- Overheating: Do not grab barrel of your machine gun after you just emptied all of it's ammo.
- Oh Crap: Just when the battle starts, The Captain gets killed and ammo storage is blown up, taking with it radio station.
- Overt Operative: The Afghan warriors are led/accompanied by a guy in sunglasses and of suspiciously Western features.
- Playing Against Type: Aleksey Chadov is associated with playing tough guys, usually in action films. His Vorobey is a male equivalent of Shrinking Violet.
- Poor Communication Kills: The hill and the road protagonists were supposed to guard lost strategic value. Due to bureaucratic mess, the orders never reach them. But since all units are removed from that area, the Afgani feel free to attack with big numers. The final result is death of everyone aside from single soldier. Because an order didn't reach it's destiny.
- Pretty Little Headshots: Gioconda ends with one.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Obvious consequence of conscription. The whole first part of the story is about our misfits getting along during their training in boot camp.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Khokhol, resident Sergeant Rock, who swiftly balances between strict discipline and good morale by sole virtue of his veterancy.
- Reliably Unreliable Guns: This is probably the only film ever made where Soviet guns regularly jamms, overheat and have integrity problems. It's used both as Played for Laughs and Reality Is Unrealistic.
- Running Gag: Chugun is constantly trying - without any success - to fix his machine gun, which has bent barrel.
- Shaggy Dog Story: The whole final battle. The hill lost it's strategic value and the unit was ordered to return... only the orders didn't came on time and the unit was forgotten.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Doubling as Drill Sergeant Nasty, he's constantly trying to get the high command to send him back to "Afgan".
- Lyutyy breaks down after he learns all his friends died literally for nothing.
- Shoot Everything That Moves: The only conclusion of being surrounded by overwhelming force.
- The Soviet Way
- Taking You with Me: Vorobey is badly wounded. His only weapon? Grenades.
- Teach Him Anger: Vorobey is a timid and shy guy, who always backs down. When he finally snaps under his training, whole unit is cheering during his fist fight.
- Token Minority: Kurbashi, the only non-white soldier.
- War Is Glorious: Gioconda believes in a specific form of it. He lampshades that he doesn't expect others to get his point.
- War Is Hell
- Working Class Hero: Lyutyy, an orphan who lived through all kind of crap in his life, serves this role. He's also the only character to survive from his outfit.
- Worthy Opponent: How the intelligence officer views Afgan people, since they were never conquered in recorded history.