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22 Bullets


Stars: Jean Reno, Kad Merad, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Marina Fois, Luc Palun, Richard Berry, Joey Starr, Dominique Thomas, Martial Bezot, Daniel Lundh, Josephine Berry, Max Baissette De Malglaive

Director: Richard Berry

Reno’s towering .45 Magnum performance as a retired Marseilles gangster who, left for dead, survives the eponymous 22 bullets pumped into him by hoods who then kidnap his young son, gives a solid dramatic punch to a bloody – and bloody exciting – thriller that frequently makes The Godfather seem anaemic by comparison.

The title is misleading – by the time Reno, who had been in retirement with his wife and family for three years, suffers the assassination attempt by his former crime-lord partner, thousand of rounds have been expended.

While 22 Bullets may not do much for tourism in Marseilles since it is “inspired by real-life events in the world of the Marseilles Mafia” it certainly does for filmgoers what it says on the can. Director and co-screenwriter Berry (who also turns up effectively enough in front of the camera) fires with all barrels to provide vigorous and vivid visceral thrills and action, attractively complemented by good location work and Thomas Hardmeir’s atmospheric cinematography.

Alan Frank

France 2010. UK Distributor: Anchor Bay. Duboicolor.
115 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 14 Sep 2010