The Machine: Release Date, Cast, And More About Bert Kreischer's Russian Mafia Train Robbery Movie

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Long before Ryan Reynolds stepped in as Deadpool, Detective Pikachu, or the co-owner of the Welsh football club Wrexham A.F.C., most people knew him as the star of "National Lampoon's Van Wilder." But did you know that the titular seventh-year senior was actually based on a real person? The charismatic character was based on a Florida State University student that was profiled by Rolling Stone in 1997. Dubbed "the top partyer at the Number One Party School in the country," that student's name was Bert Kreischer.

Now known for his stand-up comedy (which he performs without a shirt on), the St. Petersburg native has proven that his life gets much Wilder than anything that inspired Reynolds' breakout role. One of his most popular stories is about the summer he studied abroad in Russia, befriended the mafia, and somehow earned the nickname "The Machine." Currently sitting at 50,338,906 views on YouTube, it's clearly an enduring tale for generations of bros

But the 50-year-old comedian and podcaster is revisiting this story in 2023 and expanding on it for a feature film titled "The Machine." Ahead of its release later this year, here's all the information that you need to know about the upcoming movie.

The Machine release date and where to watch it

While the original bit can be seen above, Deadline tells us that Sony Pictures will release "The Machine" in theaters on May 26, 2023. As a special treat for his fans to kick off the Memorial Day weekend, Kreischer is set to perform an exclusive live show on May 25, 2023, at a currently undetermined Los Angeles theater that will be recorded and presented as a pre-show that will be simulcast in 1,000+ theaters across the United States for the first screenings of his mainstream theatrical debut. Tickets are currently not on sale for the LA event or the premium engagement nationwide that includes the pre-show, but the comedian will likely share that information on his social media or his website as soon as more information becomes available.

What's The Machine about?

Rather than simply adapting the beloved comedy bit for the big screen, the team behind "The Machine" have created more of a sequel to that story instead. Set 23 years after the study abroad experience he chronicled in his Showtime stand-up special, the movie follows Bert Kreischer as the Russian mafia finally catches up with him after all these years and seeks retribution for the crimes that he committed in their country as a rowdy, drunken college student. But when a murderous mobster kidnaps Bert, they also abduct his estranged father along with him. Now, this father and son must retrace the younger Kreischer's steps at the insistence of a sociopathic Russian crime family as they also try to reconcile after years of not being on the same page.

The cast and crew of The Machine

As mentioned, Bert Kreischer will star in "The Machine" as a fictionalized version of himself, while Jimmy Tatro of the ABC sitcom "Home Economics" and award-winning Netflix mockumentary "American Vandal" plays the younger Bert. Their father will be played by the legendary Mark Hamill, who appeared to be "marginally excited about this project" when his casting was announced on Twitter in April 2021. Croatian actor Iva Babić takes on the role of the mobster that kidnaps the Kreischers. And these principal players will be joined by Robert Maaser, Stephanie Kurtzuba, Jessica Gabor, Rita Bernard Shaw, Nikola Đuričko, Oleg Taktarov, Amelie Villers, and Mercedes de la Cruz.

Behind the scenes, this movie is helmed by "Key and Peele" and "Keanu" director Peter Atencio, which works out great as the film described as "The Hangover" meets "Midnight Run" seems to be exactly in his wheelhouse. The filmmaker is working from a script based on Kreischer's stand-up and penned by Scotty Landes, who is known for writing episodes of "Workaholics," "The Misery Index," and the Octavia Spencer thriller "Ma," and "Cougar Town" creator Kevin Biegel (who was also involved in the unreleased Marvel Television series "New Warriors," which would have starred fan-favorite hero Squirrel Girl).