Directed by: Aleksandr Buravsky
Starring: Chris Penn, Anna Karin, Aleksandr Yatsko J.T. Walsh, and Martin Sheen
Vince Kanevsky (Penn) is an all-American dude who likes to drink, gamble and
get into the occasional barfight. His brother could not be more
different - he’s Father Andrew Kanevsky (Sheen), a priest with a kindly
nature. When Andrew hears that back in the “old country”, St.
Petersburg, Russia, a neo-Nazi group is terrorizing Catholics, he and
Vince go there to see if they can help. Once in Russia,
the intrigue begins as Andrew is kidnapped by the evil Oleg (Yatsko)
and Vince, now a fish out of water in this strange land, must fend for
himself and get to the truth. Once meeting up with mysterious monk
Father Stanislav (Walsh), he realizes that the “sacred cargo” we’ve
heard so much about is hundreds of millions of dollars of stolen jewels
and “icons”. With the help of Sasha (Karin), Vince winds his way through
all the twists and turns to help save his
brother, the stolen loot, and the Catholic church.
The casting of Chris Penn and Martin Sheen as brothers is very weird. Sure, they’re “the original odd couple”, but Sheen’s presence in the film is minimal. Sacred Cargo,
as a whole, could have used more Sheen, but Chris Penn barely saves the
movie with his “everyman” presence and good acting. He’s an action star
we can all relate to - he’s not the best looking guy, he’s a little
pudgy, and he doesn’t always perfectly execute his fighting moves, but
he’s heroic and gets the girl, even if, naturally, he seems a little
It seems most people are not aware that this movie
exists, even though it features Martin Sheen. Chris Penn shows his range
somewhat here, in an atypical action-based role. But the film, with its
religious themes, serious, dour tone and bleak cinematography, is
closer to a drama/thriller with some action elements.
And we can’t
forget about J.T. Walsh,
who brings his menacing acting chops wherever he goes. The three leads
are fine in the acting department...others in the film not so much. The
first half of the film especially shows its low-budget roots, but once
the plot kicks in while everyone is in Russia, the streets and
architecture there give the film some good production value.
Featuring not one, but FOUR songs by Gorky Park
- “Bang” is not one of them but the super-catchy “Moscow Calling” is -
Sacred Cargo is certainly not a bad movie, but it can best be described
as an oddity on the filmography of everyone involved.
Comeuppance Review by: Ty and Brett