SCREENED AT SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST FILM FESTIVAL
the two standout elements of this film were the soundtrack and the stunts/choreography. the soundtrack features a bunch of work by some guy i’ve never heard of named da octopusss and it’s basically big beat type of electronica, only bigger. the choreography is reminiscent of tony jaa’s work on ong-bak: thai warrior and everything jackie chan has ever done. this is a better film than ong-bak because of the soundtrack, pacing and social commentary elements, but the choreography in ong bak was probably better. that said, the stunts here are pretty cool.
visually the film is better than the standard fair because of the gritty, saturated look which complements the themes/settings. speaking of which, the film is essentially just a french remake of escape from new york with the caveat that the protagonist is a good guy instead of an ex-con. the film is also reminiscent of danny the dog (unleashed in the U.S.) which makes sense since luc besson wrote this one as well.
in order to make some of its political points it does tend toward the preachy near the end, but that’s forgivable. it’s clear from films like this and cache, and from reading the news, that the french/muslim problem is getting worse these days. there really seems to be an upswell of french art (a hip-hop scene is growing there as well) that is addressing this fact. one other note is that the subtitles in the film weren’t too amazing – the translation could have been better. speaking of subtitles, there seems to be a trend of films that have the subtitles interact with the action on the screen. subtitles might appear or disappear based upon the movement of characters across the edges (think “man on fire”). it’s something to look out for.Watched in theater Watched on TV