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

New Movies

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

It's been 15 years since Vin Diesel walked away from his XXX role, killing off...

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Advertisement
Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

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.