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  • Writer's pictureStephen Yanni

The Machine - From Viral Bit to Vengeful Mobsters

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5 stars)

Released 05-26-2023

Watched 09-09-2023

Reviewed 09-18-2023

Available to Rent or Buy



"I think I liked that story better when I thought it was a lie."


"The Machine," directed by Peter Atencio, takes the curious decision to stretch a popular, albeit brief, comedy sketch into a full-length feature film. The result is a wild ride through the chaotic world of Bert Kreischer's younger days and the present repercussions of a night-turned-folklore.


There's no denying that Mark Hamill, Jimmy Tatro, and the ensemble cast deliver memorable moments, injecting a blend of humor and tension into this comedic action adventure. Kreischer, in a self-referential role, does justice to his real-life persona, embodying a figure caught between hilarity and danger, even if the notion of him as a 'Russian legend' is quite a stretch.


However, the film's attempt to blend elements of action and comedy sometimes feels mismatched. The transition from the humorous origins in Russia to a present-day revenge narrative is a stretch, and one might argue that the film takes certain liberties for the sake of cinematic drama.


It's clear that fans of the original stand-up routine will find more to appreciate here, relishing in the absurdity of how a college trip spiraled into mob confrontations. Yet, for those unfamiliar with Kreischer's comedy or those not keen on seeing the shirtless antics of an older comedian, "The Machine" might come off as an acquired taste.


All in all, "The Machine" is an entertaining endeavor but perhaps best suited for those who already have a penchant for the comedic stylings of Bert Kreischer or who relish in the absurdity of a far-fetched tale grounded in a shred of truth.


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