The Detached Mission

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The Detached Mission
Spanish poster, citing the NYT: “El "Rambo" Sovietico Arrasa… America Tiembla…”
Directed by Mikhail Tumanishvili
Written by Yevgeni Mesyatsev
Starring Mikhail Nozhkin
Aleksandr Fatyushin
Sergei Nasibov
Nartai Begalin
Music by Viktor Babushkin
Cinematography Boris Bondarenko
Edited by Svetlana Lyashinskaya
Distributed by Mosfilm
Release dates
  • 1985 (1985)
Running time
96 minutes
Country Soviet Union
Language Russian

The Detached Mission sometimes translated as Solo Voyage or Solo Journey (Russian: Одиночное плавание, translit. Odinochnoye plavanie) and also known as The Russian Hero is a 1985 Soviet military action film, directed by Mikhail Tumanishvili. In official U.S. Navy parlance, the term "одиночное плавание" corresponds to "independent steaming".


During the Cold War, a television news journalist aboard the American aircraft carrier U.S.S. Nimitz explains the scenario of current maneuvers of the U.S. Navy in the central Pacific Ocean. During a live broadcast from the bridge of the Nimitz, the correspondent points out a fleet of "Russian" (Soviet) warships on the horizon commanded by Vice Admiral Chernov.

At the same time, a man in civilian clothes, later identified as a CIA officer, meets U.S. Army Major Jack Hessalt, a Vietnam War veteran. The CIA officer appoints Hessalt as a commanding officer of a missile launch command post inside a secret U.S. military base in the central Pacific Ocean. Hessalt periodically suffers flashbacks to episodes from the Vietnam War.

While the American and Soviet ships track each other in the Pacific Ocean, a Soviet frigate 1,500 miles to the south prepares to return from a detached mission ("independent steaming" in U.S. Navy lexicon). Aboard the frigate is a detachment of Soviet marine infantry, commanded by Major Shatokhin.

After arriving at the U.S. military base, Hessalt receives a secret order to launch a missile with a conventional warhead at a passenger cruise ship. A group of CIA and military officers goes golfing together with American military industrialists and plans this operation as a part of conspiracy to frame the Soviet Navy with the sinking of a civilian liner. The aim of the operation is to derail an upcoming Soviet-American disarmament summit in order to assure continued profitability of U.S. defense contractors.

Hessalt understands that he and his crew will be assassinated immediately after the completion of the operation. Hessalt decides to take full control of the base, to arm a cruise missile equipped with a nuclear warhead, and to use it to attack the Soviet fleet so he and his supporters can escape from the island to disappear during the ensuing chaos.

The Soviet chief of naval staff orders Major Shatokhin to lead his detachment of Marines to the island to find and neutralize the missile launch site. The Soviet Marines face the difficult assignment of preventing an incident that could lead to World War III.


The Detached Mission was filmed and released shortly after the second Rambo installment was released, and according to many observers was the Soviet Union's response to that film.[1] According to the lead actor, Mikhail Nozhkin, this was the last anti-American Soviet propaganda movie filmed before the Soviet leadership ordered an end to anything that might irritate the U.S. Government. In a 2006 interview, Nozhkin said,

...they didn't let us film, Gorbachev was already in power, which means chaos had started. A movie on a military theme, and we couldn't get arms, they say, "Here's a Makarov pistol, that's it." They wouldn't give us anything in order to avoid offending the overseas "friends": we are all for peace and so on.[1]


  1. ^ a b Галина Седых (November 2006). "МИХАИЛ НОЖКИН: "ДА ВОСКРЕСНЕТ РОДИНА МОЯ!"". Газета "Прогноз развития". 

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