Tuesday’s Overlooked A/V: 22 Bullets

In the crime zone lately (I have so much to catch up on!) although last night we watched Resident Evil: Afterlife which might as well be called Resident Evil: We Don’t Even Bother with Narrative, as they just string along a bunch of things that happen and shoot a lot of zombies and edit poorly and leave huge gaps of logic for you to fill in on your own time.


L’Immortel, released to English speaking audiences as 22 Bullets has a few gaps of logic and/or huge plot holes and dubious scenes of varying believability, but it also has Jean Reno. And as the target audience of ResEvil doubtless thinks about Milla Jovovich in tight-fitting trousers, that can be enough to keep one interested for the length of a fast-paced film.

The plot, as capsulised by Wikipedia: “For three years [retired gangster Charlie Mattei] has led a peaceful life and devoted himself to his wife and two children. His past catches up with him when he is ambushed in a parking lot and left for dead with 22 bullets in his body. Against all odds, he survives to take revenge on his killers.”

Based on the book L’Immortel by Franz-Olivier Giesbert, the film retells incidents from the life story of real gangster Jacky Imbert, whose ‘nickname “Jacky Le Mat” means “Jacky the madman” in Provençal.[1] He is also known as “Pacha” and “Matou”.’ I can only guess that either the novel or Imbert himself came up with those fanciful scenes of high speed chases on a motorcycle, as it’s a difficult thing to do with one arm paralysed. It’s a good bit of mayhem and double crossing, as you know will happen once you have three young men in a flashback swear to be friends even into death.

It’s kind of nice to see the casual diversity of the French crime world; whereas the American or British crime films tend to represent different ethnic groups as traditional opponents, there’s an interesting mix of cultures without any grandstanding or exoticism.

It’s kept from being a Movie With 1 Woman by the (for this film) nuanced portrayal of the dogged investigating officer, Marie Goldman (Marina Foïs) who battles her own despair and thirst for revenge for her husband’s death against the practicalities of working for a corrupt boss and penetrating an intricate criminal network.

Worth a look; see Todd’s blog for the round up of over looked films.

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  1. Todd Mason says:

    It’s MJ out of those trousers that helped make the franchise…each of the RE films up through the third was less bad than the previous, and Ali Larter in tight trousers is an additional draw here, but that just gives you a sense, if you haven’t explored yet, just how weak the previous RE films were. I’ve certainly caught them, after the first (Alice is a Michelle Rodriguez fan), only on cable in slow or tired days.

    I’ll look for 22 BULLETS…

    1. katelaity says:

      I think I might have seen the second one. Or maybe the first. Or both — it’s hard to tell. Main story line was that the creator of the zombie virus’ daughter needed to be rescued. Woo-ish about of bullets flying.

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