Automotive manufacturers love the idea of placing their products in Hollywood films simply because there is no better marketing for a car than action heroes like James Bond or Bruce Wayne driving it.
No, this FX-heavy homage to the Michael Bay Transformers movies, shot by an amateur Russian filmmaker, doesn’t have much story. But neither do the Bay movies, so it’s a perfect imitation. Near as we can tell, there’s a good guy and a bad guy, both of whom own transforming telephones but neither of whom owns shirts.
Despite what certain blockbuster movies would have you believe, it wasn’t just the US that was visited by giant, transforming robots. The last Transformers movie cost around $200 million to make, and while Alexander Vladimirovich Semenov’s short film doesn’t have anywhere near the same budget, it’s still pretty remarkable.
Again, things like plot depth and character motivation were not foremost on director Alexander Vladimirovich Semenov’s mind. Instead, he was figuring out how best to make a crappy Russian sedan turn into a perfectly rendered Transformer, with all the bells, whistles and crazy metal tendrils Bay counted on ILM to create.
The premise of the film is pretty simple: A pair of bare-chested Russian rivals battle each other with the aid of their Transformer allies. There’s a bit of a twist in the tale that I don’t want to spoil, but I will say that hearing a Transformer speaking in Russian is very cool.
According to the film’s Vimeo description, the live action part was shot in just two hours, and then it took a further month to add in the computer effects. The effects are very impressive, especially considering this was a fan project made with minimal equipment. It’s only a few minutes long, so it doesn’t require a huge investment of time to watch it, but it contains some unauthorized audio however, so it might not be around forever.
One of the finest ever examples of this obvious ploy was the starring role the Chevrolet Camaro played in the Transporters films. No hero required here; Bumble Bee was a character in its own right, and in a stroke it made the American muscle car instantly recognisable around the globe.
This homemade video is unlikely to do the same for the humble VAZ 2106 – a box-on-wheels left over from the Soviet car maker era – but that just adds to the charm of this three minute Russian ‘blockbuster’.