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A French crime flick in the mould of the typical '80s Euro-thriller, that is a film which is light on plot and heavy on action. Unfortunately the actual action set-pieces in this film are sparse and usually poorly-done; director Sergio Gobbi has to be the least talented director I know of named "Sergio" and seems unable to invest excitement in any of the shoot-outs or drug busts that the film involves.
Things start off pretty well with scenes of random crimes and shootings which recall VIOLENT NAPLES, with cars being set on fire and gang warfare erupting. Unfortunately things deteriorate with the introduction of about four street gangs (who quickly become muddled) who lack menace and prance around in dated '80s attire in a big rip-off of THE WARRIORS. There's a blaxploitation angle to the film which details the activities of a black gang, including a drugs pusher, and some very silly dialogue to go along with it.
Sadly the film is dated as a whole and very cheesy. Although violent, it can't be taken seriously and so comes across as light entertainment instead of the powerful chastisement on modern-day street society that Gobbi was probably hoping for. Being French, it's badly dubbed which doesn't help add to the realism, although technically its proficient with great colours and some nicely-lit scenes. The piano music that pops up is also above average for the genre.
The film ends on a rather pessimistic and downbeat note that is played stylishly and there are some moments to enjoy, especially cop Vincent's encounter with a homosexual street gang which is hilarious in a politically incorrect way! Things look promising with the introduction of another gang of Neo-Nazis, led by the ultra-slimy Didier Sauvegrain, but sadly the only nasty thing they do is burn a prostitute with cigarettes off-screen and act like simpering idiots otherwise. The characters are flat and underdeveloped, aside from Marcel Bozzuffi's memorably hard-headed Inspector Falco, and Daniel Auteuil feels a bit wooden in the lead. Fans of European cinema should look elsewhere for their thrills as ASPHALT WARRIORS lacks both excitement and action, or much of a plot to speak of.
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