Written by / 1/16/2017 / No comments / , , , ,

GENE HACKMAN RETURNS IN FRENCH CONNECTION II

Dogging the heels of Gene Hackman's Popeye Doyle
Something strange occurred while going back and re-editing a long-ago review of THE FRENCH CONNECTION II: A wrong button was pushed and the whole damn thing vanished...

Year of Release: 1975
Luckily, after hitting the back-arrow enough times, Popeye "Lazarus" Doyle was resurrected (with a complete makeover, including new photos): a simple review about an inferior sequel that's actually more fun to watch than the timeless Oscar Winning original because, in this particular case, there's a feeling of sheer unapologetic voyeurism as a thinned-down Gene Hackman, returning as New York's favorite tough cop Doyle, is eventually force-fed heroin inside a Euro-slum while squirming, vomiting and screaming about baseball legend Mickey Mantle!

FrenchSequelScore: ***1/2
Once again we begin in France, and this time remain there. Unlike his New York stomping grounds, Doyle can't get a decent whiskey buzz, finds it impossible to interrogate perps, and is without partner/anchor Roy Scheider, who, that same year, was busy hunting a Great White Shark for Steven Speilberg...

But the good news is that Scheider's replacement, French actor Bernard Fresson (resembling Vic Morrow just a bit), does a fine job, starting out as a angry, lecturing detective who has to babysit the infamous American until they begin to trust each other's rhythm... In that, there's more of a character arc than even Gene and Roy shared: them being buddies all along... At first, like the Dirty Harry sequels, he's frightened of Doyle's reputation: how other cops seem to die around him.

Changed Partner in Bernard Fresson
The involving cat-and-mouse chase between our ragged anti-hero Doyle and classy villain Charnier (Fernando Rey) is more of a mangy mutt verses lazy lion this time around. Perhaps because a less mysterious, English-speaking Charnier is too comfortable as he meets with American military agent Ed Lauter, while Popeye, during the first two acts, is stuck without a paddle: a stranger in a strange and very unpredictable land...

"Tell me... Did you ever pick your feet in.. Paris?"
Which does merit some excellent handheld camerawork (but never shaky in those days) that suits director John Frankenheimer's edgy style, keeping William Friedkin's documentary vibe intact... Only this time time it feels like a visitor game without much of a home team, and absolutely no advantage for the star player. Meanwhile, scenes where Hackman and Rey meet eye-to-eye, after so much dodging and ducking from their first battle, hints of James Bond verses a snickering and cerebral Bond Villain, taking us out of an otherwise streetwise realism — Rey is far more effective to read in his language than speaking in "ours." And yet, for the most part, the claustrophobic journey of FRENCH CONNECTION II is downright intriguing, darkly humorous, and at times, extremely bizarre. Perhaps it wasn't meant to be enjoyed, but rather, experienced. And for conventional audiences aka those who like a happy ending, the last frame will be much more satisfying than the original's ambiguous cliffhanger. Which has nothing to do with how the real life drug kingpin wound up.
Bernard Freeson lectures Hackman's Popeye Doyle on not wearing a gun... It's Europe!
Share This Post :
Tags : , , , ,

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

All Time Popular

Featured Post

BURT REYNOLDS IN 'BOOGIE NIGHTS' STARRING MARK WAHLBERG

Burt Reynolds & Mark Wahlberg from BOOGIE NIGHTS Year: 1997 Rating: ****1/2 Basically the GOODFELLAS of the 1970's porn industry, Pa...

WWW.CULTFILMFREAKS.COM

WWW.CULTFILMFREAKS.COM
Movie Reviews, Interviews, Articles and Pop Culture from White Heat to Blue City

RIP ACTOR KEN HUTCHISON

BURT REYNOLDS SEPTEMBER

TOTAL HITS

Popular Trending

FOUNDED BY JAMES M. TATE

FOUNDED BY JAMES M. TATE
RANDOM QUOTE: "There's shadows in life, baby." Burt Reynolds in Boogie Nights

FILM NOIR & NEO NOIR CINEMA

FAVORITES SHORTLIST

1)OTLEY 2)HELL IS A CITY 3)ROBBERY 4)CANYON PASSAGE 5)THE FEARMAKERS 6)VIOLENT SATURDAY 7)HOT CARS 8)JUNGLE STREET 9)ANATOMY OF A MURDER 10)THE CROWDED SKY 11))THE MAN FROM LARAMIE 12)SHARKS' TREASURE 13)SWEENEY TWO 14)RAIDERS FROM BENEATH THE SEA 15)HARDCORE 16)THE SYSTEM 17)WHITE HEAT 18)AL CAPONE 19)HELL DRIVERS 20)FALLEN ANGEL 21)NIGHT CREATURES 22)CURSE OF THE DEMON 23)ASH WEDNESDAY 24)KILLER FISH 25)AIR PATROL 26)DUEL IN THE JUNGLE 27)EASY LIVING 28)WILLIAM CONRAD'S BRAINSTORM 29)FRENZY 30)THE ROARING TWENTIES 1)DANA ANDREWS 2)JAMES CAGNEY 3)JACK NICHOLSON 4)MARLON BRANDO 5)STANLEY BAKER 1)VIRGINIA MAYO 2)SUE LYON 3)GENE TIERNEY 4)MERRY ANDERS 5)FAYE DUNAWAY DIRECTORS 1)JACQUES TOURNEUR 2)RICHARD FLEISCHER 3)STANLEY KUBRICK 4)ORSON WELLES 5)OTTO PREMINGER 6)JOHN LANDIS 7)JOHN GUILLERMAN 8)VAL GUEST 9)JOHN CARPENTER 10)MICHAEL WINNER

BRITISH NEW WAVE CINEMA

RARITIES AND EXPLOITATION

HAMMER HORROR & THRILLER

Popular This Month

CINEMA OF DANA ANDREWS

WESTERN GENRE REVIEWS

PEAKING INTO THE SIXTIES

KICKING IN THE EIGHTIES

TALES AND REFLECTIONS

REVVING THE SEVENTIES

FOR HORROR MOVIE REVIEWS


Reviews for the British series The Sweeney

Most Popular Last Year

RETURN TO THE HOMEPAGE