Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch (2008) - ActionFest Buffet 2.0: Plate #4

On the Menu:

Ingredients: Tomer Sisley, Kristin Scott Thomas, Miki Manojlovic, Mélanie Thierry, Gilbert Melki, Karel Roden, Steven Waddington, Benedict Wong, Anne Cosigny and Nicolas Vaude. Directed by Jérôme Salle. Run time: 108 minutes. Rated: Unrated.

At First Bite: I had an empty time slot after SUPER and chose LARGO WINCH because I thought I would catch Takeshi Kitano's OUTRAGE the next day (I ended up going to a panel instead). The program mentioned it was "based upon a series of famous graphic novels," which piqued my interest a little more.

Nerio is the head of a major corporation, but he gets snuffed out mysteriously. So, the control of the company falls to Largo. Well, Largo has been distancing himself from his father's business for years. He's basically been traveling the world. His father's right-hand man tracks him down and brings him before the company's board. Since no one has ever seen him before, they're all very skeptical.

He doesn't want his father's business, but, as he sets out to prove his lineage, he discovers there might be something more to his father's death than just murder.

Tough to Swallow: A news program misspells Ann Ferguson's name as Fergusson.

There are some beard length continuity issues with Largo.

The ActionFest program misspelled Nerio (Largo's father) as Niero. Twice.

Something to Chew On: Largo Winch is a Belgian comic book series by Philippe Francq and Jean Van Hamme, published by Dupuis. It was originally written as a series of novels by Van Hamme, but the series wasn't very successful.

The settings of New York and Turkey from the comic series were changed to Hong Kong and Brazil, respectively.

The rights to the comic were bought in the late 1980s by Serge Silberman, who wanted to create a franchise to compete with the James Bond films. Silberman didn't get to see his dream realized; he died in 2003.

For the film, Sisley learned Serbian and performed some of his own stunts.

The action scenes set in Hong Kong were shot guerrilla style.

Aftertaste: Going in, I really had no expectations for this movie other than it would probably be a lot like a James Bond movie. And, it was.

Corporate espionage and murder mystery mixed with decent action. I enjoyed the chases through the streets and the rooftop fighting, especially. Sisler's Largo is definitely a hybrid of James Bond and Jason Bourne; a mix of charisma, intelligence and athleticism. There are loads of flashbacks, which might confuse at times, but definitely help flesh out the story.

This showing at ActionFest was the film's North American premiere. The next film in the series, THE BURMA CONSPIRACY, was released in Belgium and France two months prior to the festival (February 16, 2011). Maybe it will make it to ActionFest 2012. I'll go see it.


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