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Review: Red Penguins

Red Penguins is a sports documentary that is less about the actual sport – ice hockey – than the place and time and personalities. It’s the story of how the Pittsburgh Penguins owner had the crazy idea to step in and save the Russian Hockey Team after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 left them penniless and unmoored. It’s a wild dive into the New Russia with its gangsters and emerging capitalism. And the actual game isn’t really all that central to this fascinating story. The naiveté of the Americans believing that business would be conducted just like at home in the a country that was just emerging from decades of state control is pretty hilarious in hindsight. And the film itself teeters between these naive American’s rushing in with money and the Russians taking advantage with a wink and a nod and a Kalashnikov at the ready. It’s definitely a stranger-than-fiction doc worth seeing.