The Elusive Avengers
, Neulovimye mstiteli) is a trilogy of Soviet youth-oriented action movies. The first movie is a typical Ostern
; the second, New Adventures of the Elusives
, takes place in a city and is more like cinematic spy action, and the third, Crown of the Russian Empire
, is similar to the second and is stylized after 1920s Soviet pulp adventures.
The main heroes of the trilogy are a quartet of Russian Civil War era
teenagers who become Child Soldiers
and then Cheka agents: the bold straight arrow hero
Danka, his sister Ksanka
, their smart-aleck buddy
Valerka and a roguish Roma boy
named Yashka. Their adventures start when Danka has to avenge his father's death at the hands of a bandit warlord; it quickly brings them into fighting the Russian Civil War first against bandits and anarchists, then against the Whites. After the war is over, the now (barely) adult Avengers become Cheka agents.
These films provide examples of:
- Action Girl: Ksanka becomes this in the third movie, taking a level in badass after being The Chick.
- Always Lawful Good: In Soviet fiction, Bolsheviks were this, invariantly.
- Anonymous Benefactor: Louis-Leonid in Crown.
- Fridge Brilliance: one could initially wonder why Louis-Leonid helps the Avengers. Then you notice he mentions his photographic memory. Then you realize he's played by the same actor as Bubba's fiddler in New Adventures, and is probably the same person. Suddenly everything becomes right: Louis-Leonid is Bubba's fiddler, remembers the Avengers and takes Bubba's place as their benefactor.
- Bad Guys Play Pool: White Russian officers hang around in a pool club in the second movie.
- Boxed Crook: Naryshkin, master thief and opportunist extraordinaire, in Crown.
- Catch Phrase: ever since Danka's disguise as Hrinya the Little Cossack fails, Burnash picks up "Coo-coo, Hrinya" as a Catch Phrase uttered everytime he sees Danka.
- City Mouse and Country Mouse: Valerka vs the rest of the team.
- Conveniently an Orphan: Danka and Ksanka. Their father is dead, calling them for adventure. We never know what happened to their mother.
- Cool Crown: the Russian Imperial Crown, of course.
- Corrupt Church: A corrupt, drunkard Orthodox priest accompanies the bandits in the first movie.
- Good Shepherd: His foil is another priest who sympathises with the Avengers and gives them his blessings.
- Distressed Damsel: Ksanka in the first movie. Later she takes some levels in badass, though.
- The Dragon: in Elusives, Sidor Lyuty fills this role for Ataman Burnash. In New Adventures, Staff Captain Ovechkin is this for Colonel Kudasov. In Crown, Ovechkin again, but now for Monsieur Duc.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Colonel Kudasov's defection in Crown is motivated by his outrage that Monsieur Duc wants to sell the Russian Imperial Crown at an auction rather than hand it to an emigre pretender to the Russian throne.
- Fake Nationality: Averted: the actor playing Yashka really is Romany.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble:
- Danka: Choleric
- Yashka: Sanguine
- Valerka: Melancholic
- Ksanka: Phlegmatic
- Five-Bad Band: The third movie provides an example.
- Five-Man Band: not quite, since the group lacks a clear-cut Big Guy, but otherwise they fit.
- Heel-Face Revolving Door: Naryshkin, again.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: all the main cast in Crown.
- I Have Many Names: Naryshkin, once again.
- Impersonation Gambit: Danka steals the identity of a young Cossack named Hrinya to infiltrate Burnash's gang.
- Last Breath Bullet: In the end of the second movie a dying White officer shoots Bubba.
- Left for Dead: Danka thinks he killed Lyuty after he sees him hanging powerlessly in the saddle and turns back. Lyuty returns with a chip on his shoulder several days after and tries to expose the disguised Danka to Burnash.
- Le Parkour: Danka is an acrobat, but some of his chase scenes look very much like parkour moves (or something out of Assassin's Creed)
- Mad Scientist: the apothecary in the second movie. Inventor of, among other things, pool ball bombs.
- McGuffin: as you can tell from the title, the Russian Imperial Crown in the third movie.
- Never Found the Body: Valerka causes an explosion right in front of Ovechkin and then runs to get the documents, screaming that Ovechkin has been killed to distract the guards. But nobody bothers to check. In the third film, a young boy reveals that the man who pays him to test the museum's security has a distinctive tic, which tips Valerka that Ovechkin is alive.
- Nobody Here But Us Birds: the Avengers use this method of signaling extensively in the first movie, mimicking the cries of cuckoos and roosters.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Bubba Kastorsky acts like a loon when arrested by Kudasov, annoying him with bad jokes and non sequiturs and dispelling any suspicion that he is smart enough to work as a Red spy.
- Only a Flesh Wound: It seems as though every heroic character shrugs off a bullet to the shoulder at some point.
- Red October: the setting of the first two movies.
- Riding into the Sunset: The creators of the movies love this trope: all three movies end with this.
- Serious Business: The pool game in the second movie.
- Shiny New Poland: or Caucasus. The Hairy Tsar feels free to promise any of those to Kudasov.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Lyuty and Burnash in the first movie.
- Stepford Smiler: Ksanka starts acting like that in Elusives when she's captured by Lyuty and forced to work in the tavern. Lyuty is not fooled and recognizes her behaviour as suspicious.
- The Soviet Twenties: the setting of the third movie.
- Stolen MacGuffin Reveal
- Villain Ball: In the second film, Valerka disguises himself and befriends Staff Captain Ovechkin in order to get the code for a safe. However, it turns out that Ovechkin has figured out who Valerka is and was merely playing along. But then why does he reveal the code seconds before trying to arrest Valerka? He also lets Valerka play a last game of pool with him, not realizing that Valerka has replaced one of the balls with an identical bomb.
- Young Gun