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 L'immortel [22 Bullets] 

What grade would you give this film?
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 L'immortel [22 Bullets] 
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Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2004 4:28 pm
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Post L'immortel [22 Bullets]
22 Bullets

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22 Bullets (French: L'immortel) is a French film directed by Richard Berry. It tells a romanticized version of the life story of Jacky Imbert.

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Wed Jan 19, 2011 7:37 pm
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You must have big rats
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Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2004 4:28 pm
Posts: 92093
Location: Bonn, Germany
Post Re: L'Immortel (22 Bullets)
B+


L'Immortel (or 22 Bullets as its English-language title is) marks Jean Reno's return to French action cinema. The return stands out even more as it is marked by the fact that Luc Besson produced the film. As most of you will remember Besson directed Reno in the genre classic that made him a legend - The Professional.

22 Bullets never reaches The Professional's grandness, but it certainly does try by giving Reno another nearly iconic role. Once again, Reno plays the ultimate anti-hero as the former Godfather of the mob in Marseille who decided to step down and live a quiet life with his wife and his little son. Yet, his former friend turns on him,m has a killer squad sent out after him who hit him with the aforementioned 22 bullets. Somehow the lucky bastard survives this (and no, it is not ridiculous as it is actually based on a true story in which a mob boss was actually shot with 22 bullets and survived with only his right arm being left paralyzed). Jean Reno's Charly Matteï suffers just the same fate. Interestingly enough, even after he finds out who was responsible he still doesn't want to go after him and decides to let it pass. It is not until one of his best friends is killed by the men of his former friend, Tony Zacchia (Kad Merad), that he can't ignore it anymore and starts his bloody trail of revenge.

Jean Reno is perfect for playing complex, morally ambiguous characters like his mob boss with strong principles. He kills people, but never targets the families. He is all for prostitution, but never deals with drugs. While Reno's acting is one of the film's strongest points, all the attempts to make him look like a good guy afterall are kind of tiring. Sure, he has principles (though there are so many of them that it is kind of unrealistic for a mob boss), but he has still killed many people before and the film doesn't really acknowledge his dark side enough. It is thanks to Reno's gravity and his charisma that the film makes you stop thinking about things like these.

The film's action is pretty low-key and thus realistic. Okay, it is difficult to explain why the mob isn't able to finish him off while he is still weak as they obviously know where he is. They leave him time to recover and go after them. I also wasn't a big fan of the totally unnecessary subplot of a female cop whose husband has been killed by the mob.

Those gripes aside, it is arousing revenge thriller with nice bloody action, a great leading star and a surprisingly effective villain. Kad Merad's Zacchia is wonderfully slimy and repugnant, while still showing some bits and pieces of humanity. Given that it is the first time ever he has played a bad guy (he's usually seen in comedic roles), that was very impressive.

So, whoever wants to see Jean Reno doing his Leon - The Professional thing again - go out and see this.

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Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:24 pm
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