Reviewed at Leura screening room, Leura, Australia, April 30, 1994. (In Sydney Film Festival.) Running time: 93 MIN.
Patrick … Samuli Edelman
Tony … Santeri Kinnunen
Edvard Roivas … Stig Fransman
Valto … Kari-Pekka Toivonen
Kaarina … Katarina Kaitus
Julia … Minna Sanchez
Marco … Pekka Valkeejarvi
Niki … Juha Veijonen
Ahma … Kari Hietalahti
“The Romanov Stones” is an unabashed Hollywood-style thriller filled with action, shootings and stunts. It would be a calling-card pic for director Aleksi Makela, if anyone ever gets to see it.
The son of established actor Vesa Makela, who has a small role here, Aleksi Makela is a talented newcomer who has simply re-created the staple American action-formula film in Finnish settings with Finnish heroes.
Simple plot has a couple of fresh-faced buddies, Patrick and Tony, hired by a villainous millionaire gambling czar to steal priceless Russian jewels known as the Romanov stones. The lads are double-crossed and nearly killed, but they return later to exact a revenge on the villain, winding up not only with all his money, but his wife and daughter, too.
Pic has a few dull patches, and there are lots of holes in the plot. But the action scenes are vigorously staged, on an obviously limited budget, suspense is effectively generated, location scenery (shot partly in Lapland) is spectacular and pacing is brisk.
Dialogue contains the Finnish equivalent of such cliches as “Cut to the chase” and “Let’s rock ‘n’ roll,” but it’s all in good fun and marks Makela as a director to watch.