March 24, 2011

STREAM ON: Badass Frenchman? Check out "Mesrine Killer Instinct"

The words badass and French don't usually go together, but Jacques Mesrine is the exception. A real life career criminal, he is portrayed expertly by Vincent Cassel in last year's shotgun blast of a film "Mesrine: Killer Instinct." The first of a two part series, the film is available on Netflix streaming now and if you like hyper cool, violent, criminal movies, this is your jam right heyah. Simply put it's the film that "Public Enemies" should have been.

American audiences might know Cassel as the dance instructor from "Black Swan." Feel my touch...respond to it! Yeah that dude. But "that dude" is a terrible way to describe Cassel, who proves here that he is an accomplished actor of the highest caliber. In one scene he is a soldier faced with an impossible situation, in another he's romancing chicas in Spain, and then he's a cold hearted killer in the next. Cassel brings so much authenticity to the role your feelings toward the character are constantly changing from rooting for him to despising him.

Directed by Jean Francois Richet, the film looks and feels as explosive as it's story. Colors pop off the screen and the camera work is fluid and energetic. Richet directed the remake of "Assault of Precinct 13," and while that film wasn't incredible, it cannot be denied that he has a strong grip on action filmmaking. A prison breakout scene in the later half of the film is particularly thrilling and serves as a model for how to physically stage an action scene.

I mean you know your boy TPG loves his action movies, but the film boasts some serious French actors doing work. As I said, Cassel is l'argent, aka money in French, but other French actors here including Gerard Depardieu and "Hereafter" star Cecile De France contribute with powerful performances.

The film is on Netflix streaming instant and the sequel "Public Enemy No.1" is available on Tuesday. If you like foreign films, particularly ones with lots of action and hyper cool gangsters, this is one badass, pardon me, French badass you should check out.

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