French Connection II

"Good"

French Connection II Review


Popeye Doyle is back -- seriously, what else could 20th Century Fox choose to do after the box-office bonanza of The French Connection and an Oscar win? -- and he's still on the case.

In a lot of ways, French Connection II -- that's right, no "the" -- makes sense. The abrupt ending of the original French Connection had French bad guy Alain Charnier(Fernando Rey) escaping the cops despite dozens surrounding him in a New York warehouse, never to be found. Not a very satisfying ending to have our hero come up emptyhanded -- and not just that, we're merely told about it via title card right before the credits roll!

FC2 picks up right where things left off, with Doyle (Gene Hackman) hellbent on revenge. With Charnier still at large, Popeye zips across the pond, to Marseilles, where he brings his rough-and-tumble brand of policework to an unsuspecting and sleepy French populace, seemingly more interested in April Fool's Day shenanigans than stopping the heroin trafficking that's going on right under their noses.

As with the original film, Doyle spends a lot of time making small talk with locals, wandering the streets, and getting drunk as he searches for Charnier. The only difference is that this time he doesn't have any jurisdiction at all, though the local cops seem to tolerate him no matter what -- even when his antics get an undercover policeman killed on the street. That's likely why things turn sour for Doyle who, in the film's major set piece, ends up kidnapped by Charnier and injected with heroin daily until he becomes a blubbering junkie. The goal is really to get Doyle to spill his guts about what he knows regarding the operation, but it eventually becomes clear he doesn't know anything at all, so Charnier overdoses him and dumps his comatose body on the steps of Police HQ. The set piece continues as the police docs keep him alive, then put him through cold turkey detox in the comfort of a stone-walled jail cell.

Decades before Trainspotting, French Connection II is worth watching for these two lengthy sequences alone. They might however be the only reasons to see the film at all. As plots go, there's not much intrigue to be found on the shores of Marseilles, and when FC2 does try to up the ante, it's almost comical in its attempt: Blood invariably looks like red paint, and, in what otherwise ought to be a fun scene, when Doyle finds the hotel where he was held captive, he burns it down with a gallon of gasoline which never seems to run out. For a film that stakes its reputation on gritty realism, these are amateur goof-ups that are nearly unforgiveable.

Hackman is of course wholly watchable here, but with the exception of Rey, who gets far too little screen time, the remaining supporting cast are largely forgettable. One exception: Hackman attempting to get drunk in a French bar, and having a hell of a time finding a glass of whiskey. Eventually he and the snooty bartender find the common language of booze and close the joint, stumbling out into the night. Too bad these little moments are few and far between: FC2 may wrap up the story the original began, but it just doesn't have the same magic.

The Blu-ray release (the film is out of print on DVD) includes an interview with Hackman, two commentary tracks, and an isolated score track.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 119 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 21st May 1975

Box Office Worldwide: $12.5M

Distributed by: Fox

Production compaines: 20th Century Fox

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 76%
Fresh: 16 Rotten: 5

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: Robert L. Rosen

Starring: as Doyle, as Alain Charnier, as Barthélémy, Philippe Léotard as Jacques, as General Brian

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.