Charly Mattei has turned a new leaf on his past as an outlaw. For the past three years he's been living a comfortable life and devoting himself to his wife and two kids. However, one winter morning, he's left for dead in the underground parking garage of Marseille's Old Port with 22 bullets in his body. Against all odds, he will not die. Written by
I have to admit that 22 Bullets is quite a bit more violent than I'm comfortable with; bursts, yes but this revenge thriller starring the venerable Jean Reno is fairly constant, unrelenting and rather ugly.
Yes, it's certificate 18 and is about mobsters, current and ex, slaughtering each other, so I shouldn't be surprised and of course, I could have turned it off. But, it's quite a good movie, quite a long one at a whisker under two hours and so I stuck it out. My three stars is not altered by feelings on this aspect.
Reno, as Charly Mattei is reliably grizzled and back in his native language, does not suffer the stumbling block he had with the English language that he did when he made films in the U.S. Here, he's natural and believable - not exactly likable but it's impossible not to side with him when he stalks his enemies. There's a pretty high body count, accompanied by some very realistic looking wounds, that really aren't very attractive to look at! The make-up department did well, here.
The music has a big part to play in creating the tone, often thunderous and pounding and along with often frenetic camera-work, the film's undeniably jolting and exciting, though those prone to suffering one may well get a migraine as bad as the one that one of the mobsters did.
There are a good number of reviews for this title that outline plot details. I'm going to leave that out - people don't need to read that over again.
All in all, it's a solid movie on a familiar theme, quite involved with some exciting action and stunts. Reno is very good, as all the actors are. If you like your thrillers full-blood and graphically violent, then this could well be an excellent rental or DVD purchase. Me - it's not my favourite and will leave it at that.
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