By Dirk Sonniksen | November 8, 2013
Director: Edgar Marie
Writer: Edgar Marie (screenplay)
Starring: Jacques Gamblin, Olivier Marchal, Carlo Brandt, Reda Kateb
If there is one lesson to take away from Paris Countdown, it is that conducting illegal dealings in broad daylight in what must be one of the most desolate areas of Mexico—is a bad idea. But that is precisely what Victor (Jacques Gamblin) and Milan (Olivier Marchal) decide to do, and to make matters worse, they are forced into business with Serki (Carlo Brandt), a criminal known for his brutality. The deal appears golden until Mexican police descend upon the three and Victor and Milan are whisked away to be beaten and tortured into giving up information on the dreaded Serki…which they do. Unfortunately, ratting out Serki comes with a price, and Victor and Milan part ways on bad terms, no longer friends and their future uncertain.
Fast forward six years with Victor and Milan back in Paris. All the previous woe seems behind Victor and Milan until they learn that Serki has been released from prison. Serki, being the psychopath he is, does not forgive or forget, and Victor and Milan soon realize that a ruckus is about to ensue. And it does. Victor and Milan must now abandon the past six years of bliss to run like hell from Serki and all the other guys that Serki has sent out into the streets of Paris to kill the two.
Paris Countdown is your basic bad guys versus slightly less bad guys movie. It contains many elements that one would expect from a film that will likely find its final resting place in the crime/action genre listing. That said, there is little action in Paris Countdown. What we have essentially are two guys that are your lesser criminals who screw up and are then sort of being chased around Paris by other criminals. The action has a weird kind of sedentary vibe that lacks the knuckle-biting audiences love so much.
You will find a fair amount of dialogue between Victor and Milan in Paris Countdown, some of it pertinent, some of it nothing more than filler. Paris Countdown could have been an interesting study of the bond between Victor and Milan, but the exchanges between the two lacks emotion, making it difficult to believe these guys ever shared an enduring friendship. Although Victor and Milan do touch on their past, it never really goes anywhere, which leaves much to be desired in the character development department.
Jacques Gamblin and Olivier Marchal do admirable work as their respective characters in Paris Countdown. The problem lies not with their performances, but instead a failed connection between two men that are supposedly quite close. True, the two are at odds with one another at times, but even their anger feels awkward. Carlos Brandt plays Serki, and while Brandt certainly looks the part and is a competent actor, his performance is off-balance, almost as if he’s thinking about what he should do next.
Director Edgar Marie had a solid initial vision for Paris Countdown and he assembled a cast of good actors, but what ultimately bogs down Paris Countdown is a script that seems fragmented and lacks character development. In addition, the pacing is a bit slow for this kind a crime drama. If it’s a character study, fine, but please delve more into those characters—if not I’d rather have a crime drama that speeds along at breakneck pace with plenty of car chases, breaking glass, and people falling off tall buildings.
Rating: 4.5 of 10