xXx: Return of Xander Cage
The last forty minutes of the movie do come together in a pretty diverting way.
'Tycoon" is subtitled "A New Russian," and indeed its hero is a Russian unlike those we usually see in the movies: Platon Makovski is a killer capitalist, a onetime mathematics professor nicknamed Plato who seizes on the fall of Marxism as his opportunity to play capitalist tricks in a naive new economy. The character is based on the real-life billionaire Boris Berezovsky, who is even rumored to have financed it. Like "The Godfather," it shows him as a crook with certain standards, surrounded by rats with none.
The movie is handicapped by a jittery editing style that prevents us from getting involved in the flow of the narrative, but it provides visuals for all those headlines about the Russian Mafia, go-go capitalists and Moscow as Dodge City. It also suggests a series of recent Russian governments were shot through with corruption and bribery, which may help explain why this was the most successful Russian film in history at the box office.
Makovski is played by Vladimir Mashkov, who in some lights looks handsome and in others feral. He has a charm based on brilliance. Most of his inner circle, like himself, came up through universities, since academia offered an alternative to bureaucracy and the army in the pre-collapse days. There are scenes where he dazzles the others with his audacious schemes, explaining how he will sell cars at a loss to make a profit, or pay off three debts with a nonexistent payment that circles through the debts back to the place where it does not exist.
If you don't understand that, neither do some of his admiring colleagues, but it must work, since Plato ends up fabulously wealthy. He operates not by stealth, like old-model crooks, but in the modern style of audacious publicity. Like the con men at Enron, he presents his crimes as a thriving capitalist success story, and he has access to the highest levels of the Kremlin, just as Enron had in the White House. His empire is centered in a towering Moscow high rise with the company name in giant letters on the roof.