Review: Lucy (2014)

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The best film Luc Besson has delivered in years, Lucy is a full-throttle action-thriller that’s every bit as bonkers as it is furiously entertaining. Accidentally embroiled in the deadly underworld of Taiwan, an American student (Johansson) turns the tables on her captures when the drug she’s transporting leaks, infusing her brain with a serum that enables her to unlock its full potential.  Continue reading “Review: Lucy (2014)”

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Review: Brick Mansions (2014)

Brick Mansions

The latest in a long line of trashy action thrillers spearheaded by French producer extraordinaire Luc Besson, Camille Delamarre’s Brick Mansions – an American remake of 2004 parkour-driven French adrenaline-pumper District B13 – is just about as mindless as they come. The late Paul Walker, who tragically died last November, stars as protagonist Damien Collier, an undercover cop who accepts an assignment to infiltrate an infamous and high-risk housing complex deep within a fictional Detroit.  Continue reading “Review: Brick Mansions (2014)”

Review: The Family (2013)

The Family

The Family hails from Nikita and Léon writer, director and producer extraordinaire Luc Besson. But, while it’s decently made and contains an assortment of stout performances from a host of competent actors, it never reaches the heights it so ambitiously aims for, and will undoubtedly leave a sense of utter – and entirely valid – amazement as to how it’s possible for so much to go so drastically wrong when so many talented individuals are involved lingering in the air long after the end credits roll. Continue reading “Review: The Family (2013)”

Review: Colombiana (2011)

Centring on a young girl, Cataleya (Zoe Saldana), Colombiana is the latest in Luc Besson’s trademark line of action-thrillers. Unfortunately, that trademark now seems to mean chock full of commonplace tropes, overcooked narrative devices and poorly constituted characters. Here, Cataleya witnesses the brutal death of her parents, catalysing her transformation into a deadly assassin, hellbent on revenge.

Generic and unequivocal, Besson and his fellow screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen have constructed an uneven, overwrought screenplay, plucking ideas from other films in the genre and piecing them haphazardly together in Continue reading “Review: Colombiana (2011)”

Review: The Extraordinary Adventures Of Adèle Blanc-Sec (2010)

The Extraordinary Adventures Of Adèle Blanc-Sec marks the return of fanciful writer/director Luc Besson, and is the big screen adaptation of Jacques Tardi’s acclaimed series of comics.

The film centers on Adèle Blanc-Sec (Louise Bourgoin): a young, go-getting journalist who embarks on an adventure to Egypt, and ups up face to face with all sorts of mummies. Meanwhile, in Paris, panic ensues.

Besson’s film is busy and energetic. The action is adventurous, the plot absorbing, the characters vibrant and the humour dark and caustic.

To some, the plot may seem a little implausible and out-of-control, but it’s hard to condemn the film too much when Besson is being so imaginative and impressively daring with the material.

Adèle, unquestionably the most intriguing character, is played with a breezy, almost klutzy charm by Louise Bourgoin. Although a marvellously feisty, cocksure and brilliantly cutting heroine, Bourgoin brings an impressive level of self-assuredness to Adèle that commendably keeps the character – and film – grounded, appealing, and focused on the task at hand.

The supporting cast are equally terrific, including a blustering, lazy cop (Gilles Lellouche); a trigger-happy hunter (Jean-Paul Rouve); and a charming young scientist (Nicolas Giraud). Each approach their frolicsome roles with both assertiveness and playfulness.

Besson rightfully plays the whole thing for laughs, which makes up for the overindulgent supernatural elements and chaotic sub-plots. Rather than attempting to impress with mountains of CGI, he keeps the action and adventure scenes grounded, with a naturalistic and wholly believable feel. That said, when CGI effects are used, they imbue the film with a touch of class and a stylish air.

The Extraordinary Adventures Of Adèle Blanc-Sec is a joyfully intrepid, if slightly overloaded, fantasy adventure, boasting a director at his most imaginative, and a wondrously energetic lead performance.