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Film / The Elusive Avengers

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The Elusive Avengers (Неуловимые мстители, 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 Heart.
  • Always Lawful Good: In Soviet fiction, Bolsheviks were this, invariantly.
  • Anonymous Benefactor: Louis-Leonid in Crown.
  • Bad Guys Play Pool: White Russian officers hang around in a pool club in the second movie.
  • The Baroness: A bizzare version in Crown. Here, Ksanka is an embodient of this trope: young, attractive, black leather-clad Chekist lady with bossy attitude, but since it's a Soviet film, she is one of good guys.
  • Boxed Crook: Naryshkin, master thief and opportunist extraordinaire, in Crown.
  • Catchphrase: ever since Danka's disguise as Hrinya the Little Cossack fails, Burnash picks up "Coo-coo, Hrinya" as a Catchphrase 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.
  • 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.

  • 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. Actually, Ovechkin's survival is revealed earlier in the third film by the heroes' Cheka supervisor and surprises no one.
  • 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 nonsequiturs 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.
  • Riding into the Sunset: The creators of the movies love this trope: all three movies end with this.
  • Roguish Romani: Yashka is a fairly stereotypical roguish, conniving Roma boy, but this is played positively, as he's a Guile Hero who uses trickery against enemies of Soviet Russia. Other Roma also appear in New Adventures of the Elusives, and are portrayed similarly to Yashka after he convinces them to help the Avengers free Danka from the White Guard Secret Police prison.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Worthy Opponent: Rarely for a Soviet movie, a few Whites in the second part are portrayed not as straightforwar villains, but as well-intentioned but misguided men.
  • Young Gun