Better Than Us is a Russian science fiction television series created by Andrey Junkovsky. It was produced by Yellow, Black, and White in cooperation with Sputnik Vostok Production for the Russian state channel C1R. Netflix purchased the series under the English title “Better Than Us” and it is the first Russian series presented as a Netflix Original. On August 16, 2019, the first season was available to stream on Netflix markets outside of Russia and China. While the “stay at home” has been in effect, I’ve gotten to see many, many television and cable series — this was one of the better ones, even though it’s been voiced over from Russan to English. I hope there’s a second season.
Better Than Us opens in Russia, in the year 2029. Advanced androids are sold to help serve humans in various work positions. These AIs are also replacing humans in many menial jobs. China’s one-child policy has led to a critical shortage of marriageable women, so an engineer designed an advanced AI and named her Arisa (Paulina Andreeva). She is programmed to be a wife to a man and mother to adopted children. Arisa does not abide by Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, she is designed to protect her family, which includes herself. Since her creator died, Arisa is sold to the Russian robotics firm called CRONOS, in England. Her first day there, Arisa accidentally kills a man who tried to use her as a sex robot. Robots are not supposed to have the ability to kill, so she flees from CRONOS. Having gotten very far, she encounters a little girl named Sonia Safronov (Vita Kornienko) and automatically bonds with her and makes herself the child’s guardian. Later Arisa meets more of Sonia’s family, which includes her father Georgy Safronov (Kirill Käro) a pathologist as well as a former surgeon and Sonia’s brother Egor Safronov (Eldar Kalimulin).
The series follows three storylines: that of Arisa and the family whom she adopts; the family’s son Egor Safranov and his girlfriend Zhanna (Vera Panfilova) who is part of the anti-droid militant group called the “Liquidators”; and the secrets of Viktor Toropov (Aleksandr Ustyugov), the head director of CRONOS, as he tries to hide the fact that they cannot make another Arisa. The story also features the children’s mother and Georgy’s ex-wife Ella Safronov (Olga Lomonosova).
Better Than Us was a delightful thrill ride and a quality series. I was especially excited over the fact that Arisa was so human that no one would think to accuse her of all she was capable of doing. Arisa would not lie or hurt anyone who she reported to as her family. She is also quite the eye candy as she is very pretty. Things got so complicated as Arisa became more and more human and empathetic toward her family. This series takes us on an adventure that is hard to forget. Better Than Us is streaming on Netflix. There has been 1 season of 16 episodes aired. I can’t wait for season 2, Check It Out!
Posted in Action, Cable Series, Dramas, SciFi/Fantasy, STREAMING, Thriller/Mystery
Tagged Aleksandr Ustyugov, Better Than Us, CRONOS, Egor Safronov, Eldar Kalimulin, Ella Safronov, Georgy Safronov, Kirill Käro, Liquidators, Olga Lomonosova, sonia, Vera Panfilova, Viktor Toropov, Vita Kornienko, Zhanna
Surprisingly, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, a comedy written by Tom O’Connor and directed by Patrick Hughes, is very funny and very entertaining. The movie left me wanting more. The action was spot-on as it showed two know-it-all bodyguard/hitmen who protect as well as kill for a living, respectively battle it out between themselves. Each with their own set of personal issues, presented a hilariously dark look into their twisted lifestyles. Somehow, being brought together was the best thing that could have happened to them.
Bodyguard Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) is hired to protect Takashi Kurosawa (Tsuwayuki Saotome), a Japanese arms dealer. All seems well but as Kurosawa is about to board a plane, he is shot in the head. Having lost a client, Bryce has fallen into disgrace and after two years is now making a living protecting drug-addicted corporate executives. Meanwhile, Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman), a ruthless and bloodthirsty dictator of Belarus, is put on trial for crimes against humanity at the International Court of Justice. The prosecution is unable to make headway against him, as they are unable to substantiate their allegations with physical evidence and Dukhovich assassinates any witnesses who could do so. The prosecution’s last hope is notorious hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson), who agrees to testify against Dukhovich in exchange for the exoneration of his wife Sonia (Salma Hayek), who is currently incarcerated for a crime she did not commit.
Interpol Assistant Director Jean Foucher (Joaquim de Almeida), assigns Amelia Roussel (Élodie Yung), a greenhorn agent who is Bryce’s estranged ex-girlfriend, to lead a squad of Interpol agents tasked with escorting Kincaid to The Hague to testify. However, the convoy is ambushed in Coventry and everyone except Kincaid and Roussel is killed. The two retreat to a safehouse, where they deduce someone in Interpol must have betrayed them to Dukhovich. Realizing that they need someone who is completely unaffiliated with Interpol and can remain trustworthy, Roussel contacts Bryce. Bryce is reluctant to help, as he has had multiple conflicts with Kincaid in the past and believes that Roussel was responsible for the death of Kurosawa two years ago, but ultimately agrees to aid them in exchange for the restoration of his good name. Roussel returns to Interpol to update them on the situation while Bryce and Kincaid escape an attack by Dukhovich’s men.
At this point, interaction between Bryce and Kincaid (the story of The Hitman’s Bodyguard) begins. Lots of action, lots of funny one liners and brilliant performances by Ryan, Jackson and Hayek. The cinematography was magnificent, as well as the special effects. I really enjoyed the movie and the message was a profound lessen for all. I highly recommend The Hitman’s Bodyguard to all.
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged amelia roussel, bryce, darius kincaid, elodie yung, gary oldman, jean foucher, joaquim de almeida, ryan reynolds, salma hayek, samuel l jackson, sonia, takashi kurosawa, the hitman's bodyguard, tsuwayuki saotome, vladislav dukhovich