Second-tier man-on-the-run thriller from France is missing the action chops needed to cover the usual genre implausibilities. Logic & logistics; info & injuries; Eric Valette’s showy helming camouflages rather than convinces; you can’t buy into the story. Story & structure hew closely to the well-worn Andrew Davis/Harrison Ford template from THE FUGITIVE/’93, itself a gloss on Hitchcock’s NORTH BY NORTHWEST/’59.* Only here, the ‘innocent’ guy is guilty. Guilty, that is, of a bank robbery that has jail mates & old partners salivating over long hidden loot. It’s the serial killings he’s being chased for after his daring (if hard-to-swallow) escape that he’s not guilty of. There’s a small kick in seeing the babalicious Alice Taglioni in what amounts to the Tommy Lee Jones role of lead detective, but most of the film is so pumped up, it’s plum-tuckered out. French prison dramas have racheted things up, politically and cinematically, in pics like UN PROPHÉTE/’09. If you’re searching for empty calories, try La Pâtisserie.
WATCH THIS,NOT HAT: As mentioned, UN PROPHÉTE.
SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: *One bit of NORTH BY NORTHWEST untackled by THE FUGITIVE was the hanging-by-your-fingertips/Mount Rushmore ending. Fear not! Valette sticks it in here, with a forest ravine standing in for the American Presidents and Stéphane Debac in for Martin Landau.
ATTENTION MUST BE PAID: Director Andrew Davis did a more official Hitchcock remake on DIAL M FOR MURDER/’54, losing a third of its plot to make A PERFECT MURDER/’98. The real mystery is how a director capable of making a good pic with Steven Seagal (UNDER SIEGE/’92) could fall off the map for the last decade.