Skywalker’s at it again in the number-one movie streaming on Netflix, The Machine, though you can bet you’ve never seen Mark Hamill in such a way. His performance as Albert, the father of Bert Kreischer (who plays none other than Bert), will have you giggling all the way to the credits.
Mark Hamill stars in Bert Kreischer’s movie, The Machine, based on the comics stand-up routine and now streaming on Netflix.
The Machine is a new action comedy movie based on Bert Kreischer’s 2016 stand-up routine by the same name. Kreischer made the world laugh in a viral way when he told the true story of a drunken night in Russia while on a college trip.
Bert connects with a Russian tour guide named Igor, and he and his friends proceed on a drunken adventure that leads to Kreischer being deemed “The Machine,” a legend in Russian folklore. Of course, the story is only “based” on truth and quite inflated for the entertainment of the crowd, but that doesn’t make it any less funny.
The subsequent film, The Machine, is set 23 years after his initial inebriated incident. Bert’s family life is somewhat struggling, as there is tension between him, his wife (Stephanie Kurtzuba), and his oldest daughter, Sasha (Jessica Gabor).
While hosting a cookout one evening, Bert is unexpectedly reunited with his long-lost father, Albert (Mark Hamill). Albert is the dad who constantly picks on Bert, belittling his life’s accomplishments while being best friends with his daughters.
At least Bert’s dad isn’t nearly as hostile as another unexpected visitor to his backyard barbeque, Irina (Iva Babic). In The Machine, Irina is a Russian mobster who Bert finds out is there looking to recoup something he may have inadvertently stolen during his 1999 night of debauchery.
Though you won’t see a full adaptation of Kreischer’s stand-up story, The Machine does have several flashback moments that take viewers through some of the most exciting elements of the famed night.
Irina wants her dad’s antique pocket watch back, and she will go to great lengths to recover the piece. The watch was so sentimental to Irina’s father that the loss of it led to him becoming a fierce leader of his own Russian crime family, the like of which the country had never seen before.
Subsequently, Bert and his father, Albert, are kidnapped by Irina and taken back to Russia to atone for the thievery. In The Machine, the two must work to overcome their differences and retrace the steps of Bert’s drunken college adventure to decipher where one might find the priceless piece.
Though you won’t see a full adaptation of Kreischer’s stand-up story, The Machine does have several flashback moments that take viewers through some of the most exciting elements of the famed night. Bert’s ability to tell a good story is readily seen in the film, and revisiting his youth with his not-so-youthful body 23 years later is a comedy all in itself.
In addition to Mark Hamill and Bert Kreischer, The Machine features Jimmy Tatrow (as young Bert Kreischer), Amelie Villiers (Bert’s younger daughter, Tatiana), Martin Ford (as Sponge), and even Kreischer’s real-life wife makes a quick appearance in the film. The real LeeAnn Kreischer shows up at the beginning of the movie as a mother at a sweet 16 party whom Bert doesn’t get along with very well.
The Machine was released in May of 2023 by Screen Gems to just over 2,400 theaters in the U.S. and Canada. It grossed more than $5 million in a four-day time period, even though it was released alongside Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.
The Machine wasn’t a blockbuster, but it didn’t have to be, with an impressive audience score of 87 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, it was never a film for critics or a wide audience.
Critics went in hard on The Machine, saying the film would only appeal to preexisting fans of the comic. On Rotten Tomatoes, the Tomatometer only gave the movie a 37 percent positive rating, but the audience score on the site sits at 87 percent. The 87 percent positive audience rating comes from over 500 reviews from verified users, so maybe critics of the film are missing something.
Instead of taking other people’s word for it, you can watch The Machine yourself, streaming on Netflix. The movie has an “R” rating and a runtime of under two hours.
Make sure you don’t turn the movie off prematurely. The comedy isn’t quite over until you’ve seen what the credits have in store. Luckily, you can easily fast-forward to the hidden gem to make your wait a little more brief.