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Asterix at the Olympic Games


Stars: Clovis Cornillac, Gerard Depardieu, Alain Delon, Benoit Poelvoorde, Stephane Rousseau, Vanessa Hessler, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Elric Thomas, Nathan Jones, Dany Boon

Director: Frederic Forestier, Thomas Langmann

More antix from those often unbearable Gauls, most of whom certainly deserve to be divided into three parts. Although painfully unfunny much of the time, it is, as was its predecessor, Mission Cleopatra, spectacularly set, the centrepiece being a breathtaking Olympic Stadium, where the rousing climactic Games are held.

The plot, which somehow runs nearly two hours, has Gaul Lovesix (Rousseau) enamoured of Greek princess Irina (Hessler) - how did they meet? - while, in a second story thread, the Roman emperor's son Brutus (Poelvoorde) plans to bump off his father, Julius Caesar (Delon, just about keeping his dignity), who foils his offspring's plans by hiring 'tasters' to test all of Brutus' potentially lethal 'presents'.

Gallic heroes Asterix and Obelix (Cornillac, Depardieu) travel to Greece to help Lovesix win both the Games and Irina. Brutus, unfortunately, plans to cheat at everything, and grab Irina for himself.

Full of in-references - Delon boasts of surving assassination attempts by Rocco and His Brothers and The Sicilian Clan (two of the star's films) - most of which will fall flat to modern ears, and 'funny' scenes which go on too long, the romp does have a fun chariot race at the climax, with Michael Schumacher driving a gleaming red chariot, making a pit stop for a wheel change, and having Ferrari boss Jean Todt bellow 'Bring on the empty horses!' (another reference for film buffs).

Further sporting cameos by Zinedine Zidane, Amelie Mauresmo, Michael Jordan and more, however, serve only to drag the film out by an unnecessary 10 minutes at the end.

David Quinlan

France/Germany/Italy/Belgium 2008. UK Distributor: Pathe. Colour.
116 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: U.

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

Review date: 28 Jan 2008