Even if you don’t speak French, the balls-out French cars-and-criminals thriller “Lost Bullet” will teach you the only three words you need to review it.
“Oh putain oui!” Or as we say in the States, “Aw HELL yeah!”
This gonzo Netflix Original by Guillaume Pierret (his “Matriche” was nothing like this) has visceral, heart-pounding car chases that compare — favorably — with the very best the “Fast and Furious” franchise has ever offered.
It has twists, turns and brawls. The set piece? The most stunning escape from a police station ever staged, endlessly inventive, breathless, two-fisted and action-packed.
Stuntman turned actor Alban Lenoir (“15 Minutes of War”), who helped cook up the story that became the script, stars as a French gearhead of a criminal bent. His character, Lino, gets one of most dazzling “introductions” on screen in recent memory.
We see him tuning-up and souping-up a car for a “job.” We see him and his hapless, in-debt-and-needs-cash pal Quentin (Rod Paradot) climb in it and register Quentin’s dismay at Lino’s choice of ride.
“A (Renault) Clio?” For those who don’t know, it’s like a Smart Car without the performance or sex appeal.
Needless to say, the smash-and-grab Lino has in mind doesn’t work out, and doesn’t work out in the most hilarious way.
That’s how Lino ends up in prison. That’s where Charas (Ramzy Bedia, gruff and terrific) grabs him for his anti-drug unit. The bad guys are running drugs in hot rods, which the French effeminately label “go fasts.” Charas needs a mechanic who can turn the cops’ Fords (mostly) into criminal-catching road racers.
“I need a magician,” he tells his boss. “Let me have him!”
But something happens, Lino is framed for it and he’s got almost no chance to get free and no time to clear his name.
Brilliant touches abound in this French (with English subtitles) film, titled “Balle Perdue” where the fondue flows.
Lino is tougher than we think, which is predictable. But he’s something of an engineering whiz — not just good with engines, but with applied-force/mass and resistance calculations. Dude can bust a move and bust a lock and turn a car into a battering ram that can punch WAY above its weight.
Stéfi Celma is the one cop who might (MIGHT) believe Lino’s story.
And you know that somebody’s 1990 Renault 21 turbo (pictured) will have a co-starring role.
Yeah, it’s a genre piece — street chases and fights along the docks and on a farm.
Yeah, the dialogue’s kept to a minimum, nothing much to write home about.
But is it breathless, blow-the-doors-off fun? “Oh putain oui!”
MPAA Rating: TV-MA, extreme violence, bloody
Cast: Alban Lenoir, Nicolas Duvauchelle, Ramzy Bedia, Stéfi Celma
Credits: Written and directed by Guillaume Pierret. A Netflix release.
Running time: 1:33