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Old 05-07-2014, 05:15 PM   #1
kongisking
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Dovchenko: Just Following Orders?

You all know I like Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. One of the genuine highlights for me was Igor Jijikine as Colonel Dovchenko. He had genuine physical menace, an effective scowl, was efficient and competent as heck, and got a delightfully nasty death scene in the Giant Mook tradition.

That said, I've recently thought about the exact scale of his 'villain'-ness. I know the novelization went out of its way to give him a good number of bastardly moments and sadistic bits, but in the actual movie...he honestly strikes me as just an incredibly focused, efficient, does-what-has-to-be-done soldier. A lot of what he does is NOT nice, but from his perspective, its completing the mission for Spalko. He doesn't really ever do things that cross the line.

Most of his actions make sense from a strategic standpoint (gunning down the guards at Hangar 51, refusing to give ammunition to a prisoner with a, well, history of being sneaky) or an intimidation standpoint (punching Indy and preparing to hit him again for disrespect). I repeat: I don't condone lots of his methods. But from the character's point of view? I understand it being reasonable.

But not only that, I thought he had a couple really fun humanizing moments, such as tossing Indy's hat back to him in the camp, as a sly way of saying "cocky American, I can be cocky too!" and his exasperation at the argument in the back in the truck. I think he's a strangely endearing thug, and he never half-asses anything. Hell, he's even got a semblance of fair play: he legitimately allowed Indy a second to go get his hat!

So, basically, I kind of wonder if Dovchenko was really a malicious dude, or just a damn determined, dedicated-to-the-mission soldier. I'd love to start a general discussion about the ethics and such of the Russians' actions in KOTCS, even though I know such has been discussed before. But for this instance, maybe we can focus on Dovchenko purely?
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Old 05-07-2014, 10:51 PM   #2
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Good thread topic. Dovchenko is a character in the vein of Pat Roach's roles as the German mechanic and Kali Chief Guard, but more involved in the story and more developed.

I will have to rewatch the scenes you are referring to and look for those details as you have described, such as giving back Indy's hat at the camp.

He is cold and efficient in his tasks and duties, the way he blandly watches his soldiers mow down the guards at the entry to Area 51 and when he leaps from the jeep as it pulls up before it comes to a stop justifiably makes McHale lower the odds on his bet for getting out of there.

His relationship with Spalko is also interesting. It seems to be a mix of fear and respect of her rank and maybe a recognition of her power in terms of her mental abilities. Like many species in nature, she is like the queen and Dovchenko and the other soldiers are her busy and absolutely loyal subjects.
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Old 05-30-2014, 04:13 PM   #3
Attila the Professor
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There was some discussion of this in the past that I found interesting. (I only went hunting for it because I thought I'd expressed myself on this in the past.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stone Triple
I've mentioned before how awesome the seriousness of that scene is in revealing just how detached and coldblooded Dovchenko really is.
[...]
This guy is different than Belloq being snarky, Toht snickering, Mola Ram's comic book turn, Donavan's smugness, or even the meanness of Vogel.

This guy is all about his objective. He's not interested in discussing it, finding the highest price for it, using it to one-up a rival, or celebrating it with a glass of wine. He's just here to get it.

Followed by:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Attila the Professor
And that's pretty awesome, then. (Although he does still share some Vogel [and to a lesser extent, probably the Chief Thuggee Guard] characteristics insofar as he does have it out for Indy personally once he's been beat by him. To be honest, if there's a fifth one, I'd like to be a Dietrich sort of colonel who's not a part of the fighting. It's been awhile. Even Chatter Lal's got a knife.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by oki9Sedo
He's like a combination of Vogel and the "Pat Roach brute"(as well as being unique himself), but I think that the Pat Roach element is stronger.

But yes, Dovchenko is a great character and Igor Jijinike was perfectly cast, i think.

I think I stand by these comments. Toht's a sadist, and Vogel is too, but not quite so strongly; he preens as well, and seems more concerned with status. Contrast Vogel with Dietrich, who keeps his hands clean but also doesn't have much interest in a fancy uniform. (Of course, only Vogel bears the swastika.)

Dovchenko's a brute, with only some command of English, and a tenacious dedication to the task at hand, not unlike the tough sergeant on the truck. But he still, like Toht or Vogel, takes pleasure in his work. That said, I'm not sure if he enjoys causing pain, the way those two sadists do, or merely revels in victory and using his physique to his advantage.
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Old 05-31-2014, 02:03 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Attila the Professor
Dovchenko's a brute, with only some command of English, and a tenacious dedication to the task at hand, not unlike the tough sergeant on the truck. But he still, like Toht or Vogel, takes pleasure in his work. That said, I'm not sure if he enjoys causing pain, the way those two sadists do, or merely revels in victory and using his physique to his advantage.

I personally got the vibe that Dovchenko, after Indy escaped his wrath at Hangar 51, did have something of a grudge against him for the rest of the movie. Possibly doubly so after knocking him out in the back of the truck. You can interpret his attacking Indy at the siafu colony as either trying to retrieve the skull, or him being determined to kill Indy to make him 'pay'. I go for the latter, since Dovchenko looks damn pissed when he's fighting Indy. Though, it could just be Igor. Guy really is a master of the menacing scowl...
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