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The Machine  review by Bobby Blakey

Bert Kreischer’s story of him teaming up with Russian gangsters in his teens that he tells in his stand-up act is one of the most viewed out there. Over the years the single moment from his performance has taken a life of its own and become an iconic moment in comedy. Now Kreischer has teamed up with Keanu and Jean Claude Van Johnson director Peter Atencio for his film The Machine expanding on the famed story. The film co-stars Mark Hamill, Iva Babić, and Jimmy Tatro, but does it bring something new to this already hilarious story or will it bomb on stage?

The Machine follows Bert Kreischer facing familial crisis and the arrival of his estranged father when the ghost of his booze-soaked past arrives: a murderous mobster hellbent on kidnapping Bert back to the motherland to atone for his crimes 23 years after the original story which inspired it, The Machine finds. Together, he and his father must retrace the steps of his younger self in the midst of a war between a sociopathic crime family while they attempt to find common ground.

The idea here is the perfect direction to not only enhance the story with a follow-up, but they also recreate a lot of the story as well making it serve as a visual origin as well. It works all around, but to my surprise wasn’t as nonstop ridiculous as I had expect and that isn’t a bad thing. When it cuts lose it goes all in, but a lot of the set up and random heart here is the family drama and Kreischer’s struggles to find himself, be a better father and husband and trying to reconnect with his father.

Kreischer has such an innocent, insane and every man persona that it is hard not to just want to be his friend. At the same time, you can imagine it takes a special kind of person to be able to stay up with him on a daily basis. Clearly he knows this too and infused likely his own personal issues into this film and makes him more relatable in this over the top tale. Hamill steps in as his father to perfection bringing everything we’ve heard and imagined to life. There is a mean spirit there, but also a love for his son in a big dysfunctional relationship.

Both of these guys bring insanely perfect comedic timing when it calls for it and their ongoing banter delivers exactly what you would expect from this father and son duo. The rest of the cast are great as well with Tatro doing a good job as a young Bert and Babić holding her own as the grounded serious side of the story with some great funny moments infused randomly.

I wasn’t surprised that it had laughs, but the action level caught me off guard. It is jam packed with gun fights, fist fights and blood making for on helluva fun ride. Even Kreischer gets in on the action and does a pretty great job complete with a cheer and smile inducing moment in the finale of the film that really gives him his time to step it up and shine.

Not all the jokes hit, but rarely does any comedy. This is a fun flick that really does bring something fun and new to the iconic comedy bit and will no doubt entertain. Whether you are fan of the story or not, it is a fun flick that I hope finds the audience it deserves.

In addition to the film this release offers up bonus content including deleted scenes, outtakes & bloopers, featurettes and so much more. Witness the famed tale come to life and continue with The Machine when it hits Blu-ray and DVD on August 15th from Sony Home Entertainment.

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