I Saw A film!

Another slick and stylish gangster movie, in which we are asked to side with Alain Delon because, well, he’s Alain Delon (which reminds me I need to revisit Le Samurai). The film opens with a ponderous funeral for Belmondo (the brother who dies at the end of the original) and of course Delon’s revenge is bloody inevitable, and will be the focus of the film.

This is a period piece so suits and cars and other ephemera are meant to invoke ’40s – ’50s violent film grandeur. Our protagonists immediately go after the brother’s killers on a train, shoot and toss them off. Then, of course, war is declared and the club (these guys always have a club house full of gorgeous women, shows, booze, lounge tables) targeted by the offending gang. Bombs go off, ladies are attacked, the rattatatata of spool fed tommy guns and whatnot are the soundtrack.

As far as typical action films go this is like watching a boxing match in which you recognize one of the boxers, the other you don’t, so the other is the bad-guy. You care, like in any wrestling match because you favor the character who is presented as the “face”. But the reality is no one is this film comes across as good. True gangster films, I suppose, provide no real positive role models for the kids. These sorts of stories excel because boys, I’ll assume, want to look like Delon and solve their problems through the simplicity of force.

The film includes the dropping of one of Delon’s accomplices into the sea with a cinderblock, but the devoted right-hand man manages to escape his bonds and resurface! Talk about a Houdini. I have my doubts about anyone ever getting away from those sorts of “cement overshoes” executions. But it makes for a dramatic movie sequence.

By the time the film rolls around to the ending sequence we’ve seen so many guns fired that we’re rather lost in the “war film” aspect of it. Guys dart in and around parked cars and shoot up the streets. Some of the executions are set pieces, in other words we watch a couple guys pretend to shoot the machine guns, the camera pans to where they are shooting and there’s a pile of bodies arranged not even twitching. It’s a bit like a Rauschenberg.

This is running free on Prime (USA) and a great example of the type of stylish European shoot-em up that transfixes movie audiences, but has possibly been lost in favor of pure gold superhero movies. I’m convinced that if it requires super heroes to do good, we’re a lost culture. Perhaps it’s time to delve back into the dark soul moralists and anti-heroes Europeans explored decades ago.

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