That Italian flick tries something already used and overused by the US film industry: a former Special Forces member suffering of post traumatic disorder and whose daughter was abducted. I expected something new from this European film, especially released on Netflix, I expected something daring, more brutal, gritty, why not nasty, disgusting, disturbing. But directing and acting are more than OK though.
As I have already told in my previous comment about this TV show, the main lead character looks really like Jim Caan in Michael Mann's THE THIEF, 1981, a professional robber who is a car dealer as a cover, and who has to struggle against the local mob, a professional robber who has a kind of foster child. Many elements in common with the genuine THE THIEF makes me think this series is a tribute to Michael Mann's feature. In another story, crime story, i would say that the subplot between the lead and his step daughter is useless, but here, on the contrary it brings something poignant and very useful for the characters description. Yes, this series is a masterpiece to me. And this scheme of a Black man taking care of his white stepdaughter as if she was his, is so unusual and moving, poignant and gripping.
This short film confirms what I have recently told to a friend of mine. True and authentic parents are for me more foster parents, who fought against the hell with inquests and tons of documents to fill up to adopt a lost child, than biological parents who may have "created" a child by "accident, without wishing him or her in the first place. It's very easy to "order" a child, a child who has not asked for anything, PRECISELY BECAUSE NOT BORN YET, a child who will certainly not miss this sh...world of disaster, unemployment, killings and diseases. But to adopt a child, you give the opportunity to an ALREADY born child to find love and a family. that's TRUE love for me, no matter the rest. That's my own opinion.
This mini TV show is obviously inspired by Michael Mann's THE THIEF, back in 1981, starring Jim Caan as a professional thief who has to struggle not only with his accomplices but also the mobster snooping around, whilst facing his personal, family problems. The main character could have been a white dude instead a Black one, his skin color has nothing to do in the matter of this show. This lead has something noble in his behavior, some kind of ethics, as a knight, obeying the rules of chivalry. Yes, definitely yes, I find something of Michael Mann's atmosphere here. Himself was inspired by the awesome French director Jean-Pierre Melville. An underrated TV show, unfortunately forgotten a decade later.
Among all the horror movies involving mad dogs: MAN'S BEST FRIEND, THE PACK, WHITE DOG, WHITE GOD, CUJO, BREED, this one is probably the worst, at least the weakest of them all. A kind of JAWS on four legs with a collar around the neck, and so poorly done. But fun to watch, if you have really nothing else to do. Only the ending can be saved.
Alistair Mc Lean was definitely the true and authentic DNA provider of the action action packed movies huge, gruesome wave that we saw in the nineties and till the late twenties, and which many folks told it was all DIE HARD rip offs. You also had Walter Wager - whose 58 MINUTES inspired DIE HARD 2 - and Colin Forbes, who gave us tremendous novels about terrorists and spies, action thrillers that riveted you to your sofa. Well all those stories were not always top but worth though. This one is not the worst, far from that. Worth and not the worst. And I would add that film takes advantage of the disaster movie 'fashion" of the seventies to mix it up with the scheme of terrorists and hostages. One last thing, no one seems to have noticed that Dick Harris gives here a performance very close to the one he pulled in another sea thriller, about another terrorist plot, the terrific JUGGERNAUT, where he faced David Hemmings.
I am myself a writer and have already been in the situation to meet my publisher at the restaurant. The problem was not paying the bill, I am not the stingy kind, actually there was no problem at all. But when I see this episode, so exquisite topic, I suffer for the poor writer speaking of his novel and always been interrupted in the middle of every half sentence by a more than annoying waiter. I would have asked him politely to go to the men's room checking if I was there....I hate being interrupted in the middle of something important. I don't know if the writers of this episode focused the climax on this matter; I guess not. But I first expected it was the case. The man and the woman arriving to the end of the lunch without succeeding to speak at last of the supposed purpose of the meeting: the novel. But the climax was elsewhere, though very close.
Please, lease, be indulgent with this cute little mystery horror French film, which brings nothing new but which is never boring and, surprisingly acted by more than convincing non professional actors. They play as they would do in actual life, believe me. I have seen real actors lousier than these ones. I love to watch such features from time to time. I have checked, the other movies from this director have never been released anywhere, even on streaming; such a shame. And, please, don't compare this with confirmed films, BE INDULGENT, and watch it as a scale this item deserves to be watched. I hope I will see more of those rare and underrated films. And such movies are all the time made in the countryside, where the producers do not need any authorization to shoot, and many extras are not necessarily needed, as it would be the case for shooting in cities. And for a horror film, countryside, remote areas, are nevertheless better than urban settings. Not only for french features.
It is so obvious that this film was made by a dude under the influence of Jean Rollin or even George A Romero. I remember LES RAISINS DE LA MORT, given by Rollin in the late seventies, a kind of pre zombie horror film set in the deep French mountain country side, where it was also question of contaminated liquid, wine in the Rollin's film. And i must admit that I find something of this here, same atmosphere and clumsy acting too, but that belongs to this precise atmosphere so French and fun to watch. The audience has to be indulgent with this kind of films, most of them being short length movies, made with tiny budgets and never released in movie theaters for most of them. This one makes no exception; thanks to Amazon to give this feature a "window" to be at last shown. Netflix does the same, fortunately. Except the ending, which is not dark enough for my bloody taste - after all it's a horror movie, a French one, supposed to be brutal and radical - except the ending, I was very pleased by this film, despite the awful acting. I hope I will see more of this kind in the future.
I mean THE GAMBLER from Lithuania and released in France in 2015; a movie about ambulance men betting in accidents and deceased people. Nasty topic, as NIGHT CALL on was too. If you know those two films, this very one I comment now will sound familiar to you, but treated in a total different manner, of course. This one is totally lousy, but fun; disgusting but enjoyable, expendable but interesting. I think it could have been made in a far better way for the same topic and story. It seems to hesitate between thriller, romance, horror...it looks like a kaleidoscope of several genres and directing methods which would have been put together. But when you know that Allan Smithee is an aka of several directors... Some kind of TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, anyone could have made the link, but Tobe - and not Tobor - the Great was more gifted in camera work and overall directing than those producers job. Good ending though.
When I learned that Tom Hardy was making a movie starring Al Capone's last days, I first thought it would be about his years in jail, at least. But no, it is about his very last years, in Miami, and that's a part that has never been filmed; except for a short sequence in Steve Carver's CAPONE, starring Ben Gazzara. I understand that many viewers were deceived by this one, but not me, because Tom Hardy gives a terrific performance. And that's definitely NOT a crime or gangster movie, as you usually deal with, speaking of such a history of crime figure, among the most notorious of all times. I would say it's a poignant film, about forfeiture.
I am sure this tale was highly inspired by Mario Monicelli's THE PIDGEON, about a bunch of lousy robbers who try to pull a job, far ahead of their true capacities. Useless to say that's a comedy, there were not o many in this series. Why not after all? and this kind of heist topic is mainly used in the 2010's, especially with elders, as in this episode.
The truth scene between Germans and Russians is alone a masterpiece, because authentic and of course never showed in JJ Annaud's crap, made in 2001, ENEMY AT THE GATES, a Hollywood garbage junk supposed to show the real face of war, but only a warmonger feature, not an anti war one. I HATE most of American movies about WW2, not every one, but at least 90 percent. This one deserves to be discovered again. It is available on you tube. A real masterpiece. Both sides provided real heroes. BOTH SIDES. And the thing I admire the most is that the Russian soldiers, the enemies of the lead German characters, are not shown as bad guys, as German soldiers are shown in Russian war features. See? THIS IS DEFINITELY NOT A F...PROPAGANDA CRAP. That's why I love it. Truly, definitely. Absolutely.
It is strange that no one seems to have noticed that this story is a kind of remake of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABT JANE, Bob Aldrich's masterpiece, starring Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. Same scheme and topic; especially with Emma's character actress whose voice and way of speaking is exactly the same as Bette Davis.
The perfect example of what B or even grade Z features, direct to DVD films, can bring from time to time, if you dare check fifty of them to finally find the rare gem. I love this film because you have plenty of characters, and not necessarily plenty of plots, where there is NO LEAD, NO GOOD characters to feel empathy to, and eventually no survivors at the end. Some kind of TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE syndrome. But of course at a very large, huge lesser scale. Yes, there were plenty of those movies in the prolific 90's but, I repeat, you have to dig deep inside the big amount of those most of the time garbage material. I don't care about the lousy directing or acting, the director seems to have focused his movies on unusual and unexpected schemes. I have some of his in my library. In this kind of stuff, I focus on stories that are not foreseeable. NOT FORESEEABLE. That's all.
I think this film missed the opportunity to belong to the heist movies making a tribute to Jules Dassin's masterpiece RIFIFI. Only because the heist sequence is not silent, and it could have been, because there were so many film like this in the sixties, so many. And the heist sequence is long enough to provide enough time for this. Unfortunately, because the jazzy score is excellent. But on the other hand, a music score, even without talks, is it totally a silent sequence? Hmmm. The score gives another atmosphere, different from the totally mute one. Not necessarily worse or better; no, just different. Besides this, nothing special to say about that movie, rather tepid and not so that interesting. The classic scheme of robbers pulling a job and then trying to get away with it. The acting and overall performances are pretty good too. Tragic ending.
There were many movies about jail breaks all over decades, especially in the black and white era, and pretty good ones. But this one is underrated though pulled by powerful acting and directing skills. Don't forget that Howard Koch already gave us SHIELD FOR MURDER, THE LAST MILE - another prison crime film, and among the best ever - and the last but not the least: BADGE 373, in 1973. So back to this one, I have watched it several times already and will never get tired of it. Yes, because you have no hero here. Ralph Meeker could have been, but a hero abducting a child and asking to ransom then? And what about the bunch of heavies whom he meets behind bars? Everyone is excellent in this gritty and brutal crime flick. It should have been best released, at least in France, where it is totally unknown. The ending is also so abrupt, an ending that you could have never expected. And of course, there is no love intrigue here, despite the presence of the only female character.
Maybe the most gloomy in the end, this episode, one more speaking of bullying, after the another one, aboard a train, which I commented last week. But the other one was less dark, but not worst either. I would have never guessed such an end, so depressing. But only thing can worries me, the same thing concerning the other episode, how after so many years, when the physiques are not the same at all, especially in this episode, how can those two men can recognize themselves? That should have make other viewers guess too.
But also a bit improbable, unfortunately. The friendship which raises between a man and a boy. A man who lost his job and his wife who left him, bringing the kid with her. A man whose cell phone is stolen by a bunch of petty gypsy punks, especially a ten years old boy. A man who will shortly catch this boy and will turn him as his friend. Who will believe this? Not me, for sure, but that's after all a smooth and moving little tale, far from clichés. It presents true life as it doesn't exist. In those gloomy days, some one may need this kind of topic. I never got bored.
The Hughes Bros, as Spike Lee; Ernie Dickerson or John Singleton, are the continuity of the seventies blaxploitation, but more powerful, tragic and especially social, than its kid sister from two decades earlier, more fun oriented and exploitation stuff involving Black community ; not always without clichés: drug dealers, pimps and so on. But this old era was mainly a kind of fashion experiment, mainly for fun, the social involvement was underneath, not on the front line. This little masterpiece will remain one of the best efforts from the Hughes, with DEAD PRESIDENTS. That doesn't mean that their movie about Jack the Ripper and released in 2002 is lousy, hell no, but they tried to get out their usual stuff and that was a good try. So, back to MENACE 2, it is under influence of Marty Scorcese too. Even a blind or dumb dude would agree. Acting, editing, directing, everything is over the top, awesome.
The best example of what a short feature can be when really effective and powerful. This excellent feature shows in a light hearted way the struggle of ordinary people to succeed in life. This is not a real drama but that also depends from which angle you consider it. From from a certain point of view, it is a tragedy. That also depends of which mood you are in. Good short and sharp study of human relations.
At least Roland Emmerich and his copycat Mike Bay have a scene in common
This scene is Pearl Harbor attack, which was the main point of the film from 2001. But over the years, I have always confounded Michael Bay and Roland Emmerich. If you compare their filmographies, I guess you'll be in the very same analysis as I am. This film is OK, a pretty good time waster, over fed with CGI of course; I don't know if any real planes were ever used. But that's our period that imposes this. More budget, maybe, but things can be shown which could not have been without the CGI. It is interesting that they showed the Japanese point of view, but you had to endure the romantic individual side, as in many American war movies.
Just forget John McLane and replace the Nakatomi Plaza by the Eiffel Tower and you'll have some kind of a John McTiernan's masterpiece, but of course at a lesser scale. It is rather light minded story from an Alistair Mc Lean's novel, also in the line of Walter Wager or Colin Forbes, masters of adventure, crime and spy thrillers from the sixties and seventies, involving masterminded plots of huge hostage plots, stories that took place during a decade of the international terrorism. A period when you fond many books, novels speaking of those topics; only few of them were brought to the big screen, unfortunately. In this one, the "criminals" are the main characters and the audience can't prevent to feel empathy for them, to wish them to get away with it, unlike DIE HARD for instance, where the hero, white knight was the true lead. Good feature indeed for such a second rate big budget film. maybe a greater director would have been useful though. Plus, Keir Dullea - Smith - in the mastermind evil leader looks like Bill Sadler in DIE HARD 2 - Colonel Stuart - one of the most terrific and horrible bad guy ever shown on screen. He has nearly the same face, same look, same eyes. Frightening cold iced eyes.
The only problem with that episode is the ending. Of course it is a bizarre and disturbing ending, some what exquisite, but it has nothing to do with the rest of the story, from its built-up, for instance the friendship that existed between the two former friends. The usual twist ending of this kind of anthology series episode is always related to the characters initial links, some kind of ironical...Here, nothing of this, just in a improbable continuity. not the "circle" loop that locks down. See what I mean ?