11 November 2010 | Coventry
I'm a huge fanatic of harsh, gritty and excessively violent cop thrillers from the 70's and early 80's. You know, those flicks with one macho copper solving cases through using hugely unorthodox methods (much against the will of his supervisors) and stumbling upon complex networks and internal corruption. The rudimentary plot is always secondary to the charisma of the lead character, the obligatory virulent car chases, the hardcore violence and the exciting soundtrack. The most famous films are American, like "Dirty Harry" starring Clint Eastwood and "The French Connection" starring Gene Hackman, but over in Europe there was quite a vast number of nasty cop thrillers as well. Most of them were made in Italy, obviously, but the French had Jean-Paul Belmondo! He depicts the ideal macho copper who – dressed in a leather jacket and jeans – singlehandedly pulverizes the Paris-Marseille drug cartel. I'm not at all familiar with Belmondo's work (or at least, not yet) but he boosts the exact right balance between arrogance and utter coolness. Belmondo plays the Parisian police commissioner Philippe Jordan, sent to Marseille to help the local police force with deconstructing the drug business led by Mr. Meccacci. Jordon's methods are effective but slightly nonconformist, like throwing 200kg heroine into the sea. Due to Meccacci's political influences, Jordon is transferred back to Paris, but as a desk clerk in a sleazy red light district. Still he doesn't give up his battle against Meccacci, especially not when his henchmen annihilate one of Jordan's personal friends. There are some impressive action sequences, like the helicopter vs. the speedboat sequence and the wild chase through Paris with an awesome and bulletproof Ford Mustang. The fact that J.P. Belmondo apparently did all of his stunt work himself makes it even more impressive, as some of that stuff looked quite dangerous. The great and heavily underrated Henry Silva portrays the relentless drug baron/super villain, but he's criminally underused and his voice is horribly dubbed. The score is nice but not exceptional and definitely not Ennio Morricone's best work. Overall I certainly cannot say I was displeased with my very first acquaintance with Jean-Paul Belmondo and I'm already curious to check out the other film of his I have lying around; "The Professional".