The French have had a pretty strong action movie industry. It isn’t just Luc Besson. They invented Parkour (Besson did produce the District 13 movies). They have Sleepless Night, The Crimson Rivers, Brotherhood of the Wolf, and many more. Add Lost Bullet to the country’s export, and writer/director Guillaume Pierret is one to watch after this impressive debut.
‘Lost Bullet’ translates into any language
Lost Bullet is a classic story of an innocent man trying to clear his name from all the corrupt authority figures. That kind of plot is universal, and Netflix also gives you the choice to watch it in original French with subtitles, dubbed into English or other languages.
Lino (Alban Lenoir) drives straight through a jewelry store, four walls and all, but his car died so he got caught. Charas (Ramzy Bedia) needed a mechanic for his squad so he got Lino out under his care. When Lino goes with Charas on a bust that goes bad, Lino has to run. Without Charas, Lino’s just an escaped con so even the noncorrupt police don’t trust him.
This leads to some fun scenes where Lino tries to do the right thing, but everything about his situation looks incriminating. Even pedestrians are just going to protect themselves and not take a chance on Lino. Most importantly, this leads to exciting action when Lino has to get himself out of messes.
The action in ‘Lost Bullet’
Since Lino is a driver, Lost Bullet features a lot of car chases. Pierret captures the speed of the vehicles along with the lush colors of the French landscape in clear, smooth cinematography. The chases may be less elaborate than the Fast and the Furious movies. This is still a French budget but it looks like all the vehicular action is real, as are the epic crashes.
It’s not all vehicular action either. When Lino has to break out of a police station, he fights four on one. He has a little bit of MMA style in his moves. Another fight later in the movie is one on one, but uses the same graceful, brutal style.
They definitely saved the best action for last. The climax is Mad Max in the South of France. The camera stays on the car, and you can see Lino through the windshield. Pierret could surely direct a Fast and the Furious movie but it will be just as fun to see what his own encore will be.
Heroes and villains
Lenoir makes a good action hero. He’s silent and brooding. He did commit a crime in the beginning, but no one got hurt, just some property. He took the job with Charas but he didn’t ask for any of this. He reconnects with his sidekick Quentin (Rod Paradot) who only gets Lino into more trouble. Julia (Stefi Celma) is a badass mechanic and driver in her own right. She rightfully doesn’t know if she can trust Lino because she’s not privy to all of his circumstances.
The villains are a tad more generic. The villain is a dirty cop, and he’s in cahoots with another generic crimelord. That’s okay though. These movies work because that kind of powerful corruption is always a threat. The thrill is in how Lino gives them a taste of their own medicine, and man oh man, he sure does.