Saturday, May 25, 2019

Subtitles Van-Dammit

On the Do Some Damage podcast I tell Steve Weddle to go read some subtitled French movies and it doesn't go over very well. Maybe that's just my perception, but listen to the groan in Steve's tone when I say it - subtitled movies, Steve. Not even the name Jean-Claude Van Damme makes my fair-haired pal come around.

Which... I kinda get. I was not a big JCVD fan (nor Arnold, Stallone or Seagal who were the top names in action movies) when I was a teenager. In decades since I've come to appreciate their bodies of work, but Van Damme is the one whose current output most engages me. Ever since Mabrouk El Mechri's meta-dramady JCVD arrived just over a decade back and John Hyams re-aligned the Universal Soldier franchise and... shit, Jean-Claude himself was giving something new in his performances - he wears his age and damage the way he used to wear his youth and perfection and I dig it.

Anyhow, I'm recommending you track down 2018's The Bouncer (aka Lukas) in which he plays the titular character, a guy too old to have a daughter that young and probably too old to be doing the work he's doing (night club bouncer). But he doesn't have much of a choice and the edge he gets from that fact makes him an attractive asset for the criminal who owns the latest club he's found employment at. The action in this one ain't slick, it's bruising. Nobody does the splits and our hero is anything but indestructible. Good shit.

Not surprising that it's strong because it's from writer/director Julien Leclercq whose (Netflix original) film The Crew was one of my favorites of last year. A no-frills heist thriller that you should the fuck check out before you cancel Netflix in protest of its rising cost. It's great.

The third is another Netflix original called Burn Out (writer/director: Yann Gozlan) about a motorcycle racer about to turn pro who puts his skills to use as a drug-runner in order to pay off a friend's mortal debt. The riding footage is sharp and feels dangerous without feeling too heightened - it feels tethered to a familiar reality and the climactic trip through a riot is schweet.

Other recent French language films I dug, but didn't talk about:

The World is Yours

Racer & the Jailbird

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