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Ambush (1999)

Rukajärven tie (original title)
Set during the World War 2. In the summer of 1941 the Finnish army crosses the border of Russia. A platoon led by Lt. Eero Perkola goes through the wilderness around the Lieksa lake to ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lotta Kaarina Vainikainen
Kari Heiskanen ...
Lance Corporal Jussi Lukkari
Taisto Reimaluoto ...
Corporal Unto Saarinen
Corporal Tauno Snicker
Private Simo Karppinen
Pekka Heikkinen ...
Corporal Evert Rönkkö
Pekka Huotari ...
Tero Jartti ...
Private Moilanen
Private Hämäläinen
Arttu Kapulainen ...
Private Ville Snicker
Matti Laitinen ...
Private Knihti
Petri Manninen ...
Private Ahti Heikkinen
Kristo Salminen ...
Private Kukkonen
Kari-Pekka Toivonen ...
Private Leinonen


Set during the World War 2. In the summer of 1941 the Finnish army crosses the border of Russia. A platoon led by Lt. Eero Perkola goes through the wilderness around the Lieksa lake to search for Russian defensive positions. The platoon kills some Russian civilians and rests in a newly conquered village. There Lt. Perkola meets his fiancée Kaarina, who is serving in the Women's Auxilary Corps (Lotta). Then the platoon continues with the mission, but a message about Kaarina's possible death reaches Lt. Perkola. The message causes Perkola to become distracted during the mission. Written by Anonymous

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War | Drama





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Release Date:

22 January 1999 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Ambush  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


FIM 12,614,904 (estimated)
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The movie is loosely based on a book by Antti Tuuri, a true war story. The script was altered a lot from the original book, though, removing it slightly further from true events. See more »


Featured in Matka suomalaiseen elokuvaan: Muistoja sodasta (2006) See more »


Written by Gioachino Rossini
Performed by Enrico Caruso
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User Reviews

Gripping small-unit war movie
29 June 2003 | by See all my reviews

"Rukajärven Tie" is set in the opening stages of the "Continuation War." In 1941, the Finns sought to take advantage of the German invasion of the Soviet Union to seize back--with interest--the territory the Soviets had captured from Finland in the Winter War of 1939-40. The main protagonist is Eero Perkola, a subaltern commanding a platoon of Finnish bicycle infantry which is participating in the invasion. Once in Russia, Perkola is surprised to run into his fiancée, Kaarina, whom he thought to be safe in Helsinki, but who has joined the women's auxiliaries. Perkola requests his battalion commander to transfer the auxiliaries away from the front. The battalion commander agrees, but asks Perkola to take on a special mission in return; Perkola's platoon is to reconnoitre forward of a gap in the Finnish lines to ensure the Soviets are not preparing to counter-attack in that sector.

This puts "Rukajärven Tie" into the "Lost Patrol" (as in the 1934 John ford film) category of war movies: a small unit making its way through hostile territory, harassed by groups of hostile fighters. Of course, this film is about Finns. It helps to have some knowledge of the historical situation to comprehend this film, but it's not vital. The soldiers do not see the war as some "crusade against godless communism," they're looking for payback, and while ideological differences within the unit are touched upon, the Russians (note: the Russians, not the Soviets) are clearly the common enemy, and the bitterness (in varying degrees) of the Finnish soldiers is clearly evident. War movies of this kind depend on suspense rather than spectacle, and this film has suspense in spades.

The soundtrack contributes to the highly evocative atmosphere in the movie, from the excellent musical score to the buzzing of mosquitoes whenever the action takes place near any body of water. Otherwise, this film is an anorak wargamer's delight, featuring weapons very rarely seen in war movies (such as an SVT-40 Tokarev rifle in the hands of a Russian sergeant, and several Lahti-Saloranta M26 light machineguns), bicycle-mounted infantry (ubiquitous in many early 20th-century armies, but rarely seen in movies), and displaying the highly informal nature of the Finnish armed forces (the only salute in the film is a mark of respect, not of regulations). Incongruously, the platoon behaves amateurishly on occasion, e.g. bunching up while exposed to possible enemy machinegun fire, etc. but this is a minor distraction.

This film has almost everything most people could ask for; sex, violence and though the plot is a little thin in places, there's lots of character development to make up for it. I loved it.

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