Ace of Aces
- 1h 40m
In 1936, a French boxer on his way to the Berlin Olympic Games befriends a local Jewish boy and decides to save him from the Nazis.In 1936, a French boxer on his way to the Berlin Olympic Games befriends a local Jewish boy and decides to save him from the Nazis.In 1936, a French boxer on his way to the Berlin Olympic Games befriends a local Jewish boy and decides to save him from the Nazis.
The story in the film takes place in 1936, in Germany, during the Olympics, an event that in that year was used by the Nazis as an opportunity for propaganda. The hero embodied by Belmondo named Jo Cavalier is the coach of the French boxing team, but also a former air force pilot during World War I. In the air battles he had befriended the German pilot Gunther von Beckmann (Frank Hoffmann) who had in the meanwhile become a general in the army , but also an opponent of Hitler. On the train carrying the French delegation to Berlin, he meets a Jewish boy, whose family is threatened by the Nazis' policies of racial discrimination. Cavalier, together with a beautiful journalist (Marie-France Pisier) and his German friend will intervene to save the boy and his family taking them over the border to the Austria still unoccupied by fascists. Of course, not all goes as planned. The truth is that more than half of the film develops a fairly conventional story and the comedy part is not great either. The idea of the lead hero protecting the orphaned child victim of the Nazis has been explored in many films from Chaplin's 'The Great Dictator' to Benigni's 'La vitta e bella'. The final part of the film, however, holds surprises and contains the comic sequences that seemed to me the best, those that approach the satirical sarcasm of Oury's best films. The Fuhrer himself and ... his sister (a double role played by Günter Meisner) will make an appearance, which for 1982 was a novelty, at least in the comic register, anticipating Taika Waititi, plus a little revisionist history a la Tarantino. This last part saves the film in my opinion and rewards the patience of those who get to it.
Belmondo's charm dominates the film. The actor was at the peak of his popularity and in a remarkable physical shape allowing him to perform many of the stunts by himself. The role of the eternal teenager with a big heart, enlisting for good causes against all adversity fits him perfectly. The team around him does its job professionally, but the script is a bit stereotypical, with a few successful jokes (especially about the Nazis) scattered from place to place. With 'L'as des as' Gérard Oury targeted a great entertainment film to repeat his successes from previous decades. The success was mixed right from the moment the film was released and the passage of time did not improve the place of this film in its filmography.
- Dec 25, 2020