When you look at the Soviet Hockey teams of the 70’s and 80’s, you are instantly met with a feeling of fear. What’s surprising is the country had more crumbling than just the walls seperating this communism run land. The sport of Hockey was around long before the Russians took it to the next level with bone shattering hits and unison ice skating with precision choreography, but it was in that country that Hockey was more than just a game, it was a politically infused fired shot. In Red Army, the documentary from Director Gabe Polsky (Bad Lieutenant), we get an 82 minute look at the most successful dynasty in sports history. Told from the perspective of its captain Slava Fetisov, the story portrays his transformation from national hero to political enemy. From the USSR to Russia, the film examines how sport mirrors social and cultural movements and parallels the rise and fall of the Red Army team with the Soviet Union. What i really loved about this documentary was it’s ability to showcase the darker side of sports during a time when tensions were at their highest with political leaders. It’s true that this team and it’s run to the 1980 Winter Olympic Games have been well documented, but never from the point of what happens after the Americans defeated this dream team of ruthless athletes. That is the area where Polsky focuses on in this film, and it makes for the most compelling of storylines detailing the harsh realities that these players faced when trying to sign NHL contracts to play in America. The on-going tension between Fetisov and his long time coach and adversary, Viktor Tikhonov, crafts a feeling of father Vs Son in the film’s narrative storytelling, even if there is a lack of love between the two. If the film lacks one thing, it’s the more in-depth view into the players adolescence. There is some talk of the Red Academy picking players at an early age in an almost Twilight Zone-esque description, but it never really capitalizes on what psychological effects it had on these boys to be literally ripped from their growing periods and traded everything for a pair of skates. Besides that, it’s hard to find anything to not appreciate about Polsky’s impressive collection of lively game footage, as well as operatic tones in soundtrack score to always keep the action impactful. There are many stories about the American dream, but it would be surprising to find that one of the most hard hitting emotional of the genre comes from America’s biggest enemies during the Cold War. It’s a story that on the surface is about Hockey, but the sport serves as a chess game for the battle between which country’s way of living would reign on. Red Army is greed, passion, betrayal, and most importantly, paranoia. It’s also the best reminder that some dreams take place in a country where they are forbidden.