There is a new number one film on Netflix worldwide and there is a good chance that those of us in the United States have never heard of it. Major Grom: Plague Doctor hails from Russia and it is based on the Russian comic book series of the same name.
Igor Grom is a police major in the Saint Petersburg police force. He is honest and very skilled, but he is also well-known for his methods of catching criminals. When we first meet Grom, he is chasing three bank robbers disguised as the villainous hockey players from the popular Russian cartoon, Puck! Puck!.
Major Grom is successful, but as his method are less than conventional, he causes significant damage that’s going to cost the city a large amount of money. His boss, colonel General Fedor Prokopenko, reprimands him.
At the same time, “rich boy” Kirill Grechkin’s trial begins. Grechkin is accused of fatally hitting a young girl with his car. Despite all evidence pointing to Grechin’s guilt, he is somehow acquitted.
This does not sit well with many, who think the court is corrupt and the rich can pay off the legal system to get the results they want. IT millionaire Sergei Razumovsky and his friend Oleg Volkov, as well as the brother of the deceased girl, are among those upset with the acquittal.
During the brief trial, videos begin to appear showing a man wearing a Plague Doctor mask as well as a suit littered with bombs and flamethrowers, who makes a promise to cleanse the city of the evil that has taken over.
To prove his point, the Plague Doctor burns Grechkin to death in his car. After this killing, Oleg approaches Sergei and confesses that he is the Plague Doctor. Sergei is hesitant to turn in his friend.
Although many consider the Doctor to be a hero, Grom is called in to investigate and find him. Much to Grom’s chagrin, another officer from Moscow is brought in to find the Doctor, while Grom is reassigned. During his reassignment, Grom saves a young lady, Yulia Pchyolkina, from muggers and she turns out to be a journalist who staged the attack so she could get closer to the investigation.
The Doctor continues his rampage on the rich and criminals in the city. His antics lead Grom, who was told to stay away from the case but can’t, to a party where Grom believes he can capture the Doctor. Instead, Grom is forced to resign from the police force for once again going against his boss’s orders.
But Major Grom, ever the persistent one, doesn’t let his removal from the force stop his own investigation. He gains more and more information on Sergei and his upbringing in an orphanage. Yulia also continues with her own investigation, uncovering that Sergei had a contract with Holt Industries for high-tech weapon development. Holt also designed the Plague Doctor’s costume and weapons.
Grom finally approaches Sergei with the accusation that Sergei is actually the Plague Doctor. When Grom presents Sergei with evidence that his best friend Oleg died in the Syrian War, Sergei comes to the realization that Oleg is alive, but only within him. Oleg is his dark, second personality.
Major Grom: Plague Doctor faced a difficult journey to release. First off, the filmmakers tried to use actors who were less famous as the same name actors played in so many Russian movies. They had the most difficulty finding an actor to play Igor Grom and it took them a year to wind up with Tikhon Zhiznevsky.
The filmmakers had filmed a teaser to gain interest and initially, it went over well. But then they began to receive a number of unflattering political comments that caused the production crew to halt production. Changes were made in the entire production to include the script, which removed the political aspect of the film.
An entire new crew was brought in though it took nearly two years for that to happen. The film was made for ₽640 million (rubles) but only saw a ₽316.8 million return. It did, however, earn $4.4 million worldwide.
Major Grom: Plague Doctor can be seen worldwide on Netflix, though its availability in the United States is limited.