The blandness of the characters ultimately put the brakes on the thrilling car chases and slam bang action sequences in this somewhat juicy film.
2 out of 4 stars
There was a time when a film would bring refreshing twists to tried genres. A standout among the money seekers which enthralled with its gripping characters and somewhat originality. They became successes. Then the factories would make more of such products. Thus franchise was born. Gone are those days. Now franchises are planned right from the start. And while thinking about how much money the next installments might make, the makers forget the first film itself.
One such film is Lost Bullet. It has everything. Slam bang action sequences, car chases, cops, gangsters, and what not. Yet you are not completely invested in any of it. Mainly because you know you have been there before. Die Hard (strictly the first) became a cult because John McClane was one of us. He was a flesh and bone human being with a family like ours. The more real the character, the more real his blood. Modern action films seem to forget this.
So we have Lino, who is great at assembling cars (what else!). He has a good soul. One of the things about films like this one is that there is a compulsion to make the macho protagonist a man with a good heart. The world around them is very bad, so playing with their moralities will be too risky. Consequently, they appear bland. Lino, through a series of events that maintain his innocence, becomes charged with a crime he didn’t commit. Now he must prove his innocence while fighting against corrupt police officers whose main aim of life might be to kill Lino off. Early wrong man theme films received a lot of love because people could identify with the protagonists. Manny Balestrero (Hitchcock’s The Wrong Man) was an ordinary family guy. Replace this with assembly cars and a talent for punching, you don’t feel the flesh
But Lost Bullet has its edges. It is amazingly fast paced, the actors do not look like they are right out of the gym, and the action sequences are kick-ass. You also admire that the makers have tried to impress with a few twists and the actions are not decorative. But at the end of it all, it is a factory product. The kind that tries to add up the elements that people might like, but does not have anything new to tell. It does not help that the film comes at a time when its market has already been saturated. Much bigger franchises have taken much of the space. This film does not have the originality or the budget to push them all back.
An irony is that Nicolas Duvauchelle plays the corrupt official Areski. Duvauchelle is known for his work in Braquo, a French series about cops and gangsters which though filled with action, gave the kick with its characters of grey moralities. This film does not even feel like French.
Credits (from IMDB):
Guillaume Pierret… (scenario)
Guillaume Pierret… (adaptation) &
Alban Lenoir … (adaptation) &
Kamel Guemra … (adaptation)
Morgan S. Dalibert