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Jacques Deray,who recently died, made several commendable works ,even
if he never made a masterpiece:"la piscine" "un papillon sur l'épaule"
or in his latter days "un crime".
But "le solitaire" has nothing going for it:here Deray is Belmondo's drudge,trying to direct a star who overplays and who single-handedly gets rid of the villains and even the treacherous cops.They added a child's character (Belmondo's godson whom he takes in after his father's death )to sweeten the violence ;the brat is subject to some gaffes concerning Godfather's love affairs.This is supposed to provide the poor screenplay with a comic relief.
The film wasn't even a commercial success in France which had begun to have enough of these cops and robbers flicks
It's hard to think of a more utterly pedestrian French flic flick than
Le Solitaire aka The Loner, a 1987 effort that sees Belmondo going
through the motions as a cop who postpones his retirement when his
partner is murdered to bring the killer to justice. Plot was never a
strong point in Belmondo's cop movies but it's a serviceable enough
excuse for some gratuitous stunt work, car chases and shootouts, yet
none of them ever materialise in a film that seems to be made up
entirely of lifeless retreads of all the filler scenes between set
pieces its star must have realised he's now just too old for (a shame
he didn't realise the same about his wardrobe). He takes out his gun a
couple of times and punches a few crims who are smart enough not to hit
him back for no good reason, but the overall feeling is of people
simply churning out film until they've got enough in the can to call it
a movie. There's no character, atmosphere or sense of place, merely an
undeveloped damp squib of a subplot that has his dead buddy's young son
staying with him and ruining his love life by telling his various
girlfriends about each other that serves no purpose and just feels like
more padding in a film where nothing much happens in not very
interesting ways for a presumably contractually obligated 100 or so
Worse, it's a star vehicle that doesn't know what to do with its star. The lengthy opening take of Belmondo cruising in his police car certainly doesn't do him any favors as he goes through his repertoire of expressions - tough, bemused, wary, watchful, ageing cool - only to end up unfortunately looking like a gurning chimp with a cigar clenched in its teeth because the director (Jacques Deray) didn't say cut in time. But apart from pulling the odd face, Belmondo really doesn't have much to do here despite being the star of the show. There's no heavy lifting required in the acting department, no daring stunts and he doesn't even get a car chase - the only driving he gets to do is a playful bit of swerving from side to side in the end title sequence. Even in the film's one half-hearted 'big' shootout he's reduced to being a spectator until he finally gets a couple of minutes of dodging bullets in the last reel. It hardly seems worth his time turning up, or the audience's for that matter.
It's not atrociously made, just unimaginative and dull, like a bland episode of a too-long running TV show the cast and crew know has finally been cancelled, the kind of film that inevitably happens when you keep on going to the well long after it's dried up.
This film is really bad even for 80s Belmondo standards. Story? None. Belmondo is looking for his friends' killer and chases cars, beats up and kills people in the process. At one stage or other the director seemed to have noticed that this wouldn't fill 90 minutes and added the character of a child. So all in all it seems like a tough and nasty version of a 60s Eddie Constantine film. It is interesting though that if you watch the film closely you'll notice that props and cast also feature in some other 80s Belmondo movies. The overall impression is that nothing really seems to fit story wise as well. The whole film seems to be made up of odds and ends. In Germany the film was called The Professional 2- a bit pointless given the fact that the original professional actually dies in the first part.
this is one of the very best of belmondo! see, how the "old bebel" is hunting for the killer of his cop-partner. one of my favourites... i am looking for all belmondo movies. since early 50s he was getting more marvelous and a "strong hero". belmondo is the greatest actor in europe!
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