Critic Reviews

72

Metascore

Based on 18 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
The films never lose sight of Mesrine the man, a fascinating character in that he's brutal yet extremely intelligent, has a skewed but discernible conscience, and, under the right circumstances, can be warm and generous.
90
Any film about a flashy criminal threatens to glamorize its protagonist, but both Mesrine episodes are careful to detail the many goofs made by the crook and his accomplices.
88
Chicago Sun-Times
In most movies, we know the police bullets will never find their target. With Mesrine, (1) sometimes they do, and (2) in real life, he survived an incredible 20 years with the police firing at him at least annually.
75
Deftly filmed and directed by Jean-François Richet.
75
Cassel, who won a Cesar (France's equivalent to the Oscar) for his performance, invests the character with a grounding of humanity and honor that imply there are certain lines even Mesrine would never cross.
75
Although Killer Instinct is the better of the two parts, Public Enemy No. 1 is a worthy continuation, providing closure to a tale that was interrupted just as things were getting really interesting.
75
The lack of dramatic tension that knowing the ending before you being creates isn't a huge drawback.
70
The Hollywood Reporter
Director Jean-Francois Richet shows a career in crime with pulse-pounding moments of pure cinema, then lets you decide what to make of this homicidal sociopath.
65
The main and most enjoyable difference between the second installment and the first is the greater opportunity the latter provides Cassel to sketch some dimension into the coded mythologizing of his character.
50
Wall Street Journal
The second film, in particular, grows tediously episodic, and the exploits become a blur. What never blurs is Mr. Cassel's presence. We're told that he bulked up for the part-though Mesrine was many things, lithe wasn't one of them-but it's his phenomenal zest for his checkered character that fills the screen.

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