Saturday, February 11, 2012

Heir Apparent: Largo Winch (D)

Generally, there's minor sadistic pleasure when granted the rare opportunity to write a well deserved scathing review to a near abysmal film. Like blissful revenge, there's darkly edged pleasure in the brutal critique, as if to get back that those who created the intelligence insulting fiascopiece which so wasted your time. Does this feeling of necessary retribution make me a sicking, snobby grouch of a critic? Perhaps, but this low regarding opinion doesn't damper my maniacal enjoyment when writing these rare reviews. I try to be as optimistic as possible when writing, but when there's nothing to be optimistic about, I devolve into a gleeful pessimist. By looking at the title of this review, you may form the implication in your mind that I'm writing this very review with my usual subtly poisonous attitude when regarding films with a "D" rating. However, you would be most wrong. Heir Apparent: Largo Winch is simply too generic and clich├ęd to creatively insult.

A multi-lingual French "action" flick originally filmed in 2008, it's hard to pin down reasoning as to why Music Box (the company responsible for the belated overseas release) chose to release this horribly delayed film at all. Starring a comically uncharismatic Tomer Sisley as the titular Largo Winch, the plot is a simultaneously convoluted and borderline horrendously idiotic mess; in which characters double-cross each other faster than they're introduced into the story. In simplicity, the plot involves Largo inheriting a large sum of money from his billionaire adoptive father, and everyone who isn't Largo wanting this fortune, no matter the cost. I like to imagine a director along the lines of Guy Richie or Luc Besson taking this basic setup, and transforming the idea into a chaotic action film similar to Snatch or even Smokin' Aces, but instead we have Jerome Salle; Golden Globe nominated screenplay writer of The Tourist. Though I am not in the position to slander his previous employment in the widely disliked 2010 Depp-Jolie debacle, as I haven't yet seen the film, his direction in Largo Winch is nothing short of nonexistent. Simply put, Salle cannot edit.

The editing of this film constantly shifts between dull, long takes of beautiful scenery, and hyper kinetic closeups during fight sequences; thus ensuring disappointment to any filmgoer seeking action. Other than a mildly exciting prison break sequence, there's not a single memorable moment to this film, and you can view a far greater prison break in Brad Bird's Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol which is still in theaters. Also disappointing is the vast amount of time between these generic messy fights; Salle uses vast sums of runtime to pursue unnecessary flashbacks, and add more story to an already horribly convoluted plot. Do we honestly care who's trying to kill Largo? Perhaps a little, but the point isn't to confuse an audience, it's to enthrall them. Instead of being enthralled, the only emotion apparent to me by the end of this film was boredom, and a mild relief that credits were rolling.

Grade: D

Note: Apparently the sequel is being released next week in France by bizarre coincidence, so I guess this film was an international hit. Hopefully it'll be another four years before Music Box releases this new film as well. Also, sorry for the pun in the final sentence, but can we all agree it was necessary?

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