Friday, June 13, 2014

Streaming non-tip: Edgar Marie's super-violent PARIS COUNTDOWN proves mostly glossy drivvel

Well, it looks good, anyway. And it stars one of our favorite Frenchmen, Jacques Gamblin, plus an OK-but-less-known-in-America costar, Olivier Marchal. Otherwise, PARIS COUNTDOWN (known as Le jour attendra in its home country) is pretty much your standard revenge/ chase thriller, but just a bit glossier/bloodier than others in this genre. And not nearly as exciting. Compare it to French genre treats like Point Blank and Sleepness Night (both streamable via Netflix) for a quick course in thriller filmmaking.

The movie's writer/ director, Edgar Marie, shown at right, begins in America, of all places -- somewhere outside Las Vegas in a parched piece of desert (below) where our fellows are about to do a drug deal, a deal, by the way, that one of the two (M. Gamblin's character, Victor, below, left) was not at all in favor of attempting. His long-time friend and partner, Milan (M. Marchal, below, right), however, was all for it, and so here they are, way beyond their depth and about to get the shit kicked out of them.

We pick up things some time later, after these "friends" have not communicated over several years. Suddenly, their nemesis (played by Carlo Brandt, below) -- a fellow who was in that desert with them and went to prison for his trouble -- is about to be released and, wouldn't you know it, hell bent on revenge.

Nice, if somewhat standard set-up. For awhile, Gamblin's smooth charm and alluringly oddball sex appeal, together with Marchal's energy and drive, carry things along. We have chases and shoot-outs and betrayals and twists. And lots more blood.

But around the midway point, things begin to grow stale, coincidence piles up, logic flies out the fenêtre, and the been-there-done-that button rings rather incessantly. Worst of all, it too often seems that the bad guys have never learned how to aim their guns. (We don't expect every bullet to hit its mark, but come on now....)

Other than the genre tropes on display, the underlying theme here is heavy-duty male friendship. So, yes, we get that macho bonding, along with all the love and sacrifice (and sentimentality) that this entails. There may be times when you'll want to shout out, "Come on, you guys: suck each other's dick and get it over with!" But no -- they can't, they mustn't. And, as usual in these genre ventures, the women are either expendable or barely seen.

If you're up for it, Paris Countdown can be streamed now via Netflix and maybe elsewhere. 

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