Sergey's Fortune

By Peter Mackie | Comedy
A hitman encounters a group of obnoxious YouTubers. And they ruin everything.

Sergey, a hard-boiled man who works in Little Odessa, is on a mission to redeem himself with his boss after botching an assignment. A consummate professional, he wants to fix his mistakes, not just for his reputation but for his own pride.

But things go awry in the middle of his attempt to fix everything, and in the worst place possible: the middle of the desert. When his car breaks down, the only people around who can lend a hand are a group of "bro-y" YouTubers called the DGAF Bros.

Much to the befuddlement of the hitman, the DGAF crew turn the occasion into a video for their channel. As much as the hitman tried to take control of the situation, the YouTubers' obnoxiousness proved to be more formidable an obstacle than Sergey could have imagined -- and ultimately endangers the mission.

Written by Nick Vitale and directed by Peter Mackie, this short possesses a very Tarantino-like mix of action, thriller and comedy, blending sharp and stylish high-stakes action sequences with a particular and goofy YouTube subculture, to humorous effect.

It's almost as if two very different types of genres and sensibilities collide into one film, unified by stylish, sleek camerawork and cinematography. Though the characters and action can be gleefully anarchic and out of control, the craftsmanship is impeccable and precise.

Both genres -- action-thriller and broad comedy -- are big in terms of movement impact, but they're balanced with a smart, engaging script and attendant editing that demonstrates a deft control of structure and pacing and takes advantage of the disparate genres and exploits them for great humor.

In many ways, the two strands of the film explore two different kinds of manhood, one classic and almost old-fashioned and the other with a new contemporary resonance and prominence, thanks to new social and streaming media. There's the strong, silent, hard-boiled and macho stereotype of Sergey, played with a consistent restraint by actor Yorgos Karamihos, and then there's the energetic, goofy Peter Pan-like manchild, embodied by actors Nick Mutuma and Hudson Long. Watching them try to make sense of one another, much less work together, is hilarious -- until the true stakes of the situation are revealed to all, to knuckle-biting effect.

"Sergey's Fortune" is engaging and fun, and though it takes a little time to set up its titular character's dilemma and world, the pacing and plot pick up and then each event drops with the momentum of dominoes falling. Its cultural juxtapositions feel both fresh and classic and beg for a deeper creative exploration that would perfect for a feature-length story. It's escapist, stylish and perfect popcorn entertainment that's smart, subversive and a great cinematic ride.

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