Movie Review: 22 Bullets (2010)

“Spilt blood doesn’t dry”

2 Stars
22 Bullets (2010)

22 Bullets (2010)


Director: Richard Berry

Cast: Jean Reno, Kad Merad, Jean-Pierre Darroussin

Synopsis: After being left for dead with 22 bullets in his body, a retired gangster seeks revenge.


The French seem to be quite good at making these crime thrillers. Jean Reno, an actor familiar to English-speaking audiences thanks to his appearance in films like Leon and Godzilla, stars as a retired gangster (based on a true character, apparently) who is gunned down in a car park and left for dead by former accomplices.   His attackers’ reasons seem a little strange: they’re afraid he will disapprove of their decision to move into the drugs market.   After pumping 22 bullets into his body they leave him for dead, but he’s harder to kill than they expected (hence the original title: l’Imortelle) and recovers to start plotting his revenge.

Reno is one of the few actors – French or otherwise – who could pull off this kind of role convincingly.   He can play the tough guy well enough, but retains a humane side that sneaks through the armour every now and then.   His adversary, a former childhood friend, is more of a typical bad guy, but is given a few personality quirks to at least give him some character.   It’s interesting, though, how the eight assassins whom Reno tracks one-by-one are all given a more human side than the usual screen villain.   Many of them are performing acts of kindness when Reno catches up with them – laying flowers on their son’s grave; walking their senile mother, etc.

The plot asks the audience to suspend disbelief perhaps a little too often for its own good, and is perhaps a little more convoluted than it needs to be, but it moves at a cracking pace, and actor Richard Perry has a dynamic style of filming that wisely stops short of becoming too flashy.

(Reviewed 30th November 2011)





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