This version, unlike the Hollywood version, was actually filmed in Ukraine, much of it in Zaporizhia, the homeland of the Zaporizhian Cossacks, of which the title character belongs. It was exciting to see these characters and events depicted in the genuine lands of the Cossacks...it really added a bit of extra historical paint to a wonderful picture. TARAS BULBA was wonderful. It was a brutal war film; the battle scenes were exceptionally violent, and where torture was shown, it was as violent and cruel as I've ever seen in a film. That was refreshing(if one can say that about torture, hehehe). This version followed the second, rewritten version of the novel(a forced re-write by the Russian government of the time), so the fate of Taras Bulba himself is quite gruesome, if wonderfully noble. It doesn't shy away from it as the Hollywood version did.
The rest of the casting was very good, if a tad bland in some cases; fortunately, as can be seen below, great attention was made in choosing the Cossacks. These are men who look like hardened veterans of many battles, and they give the impression of having witnessed the worst that humankind has to offer. I was greatly impressed by all of them. The fight scenes were amazingly wild, and the rough life of the Cossack was given very little of the romantic, "happy peasant" vibe that the Yul Brynner version had so much of.
This TARAS BULBA is well worth looking for; if you like your action hardcore, be prepared for a feast!