Director: Edgar Marie
MPAA Rating: NR
Film Pulse Score: 5/10
While Edgar Marie’s Paris Countdown may ooze with the same style as Traffic, Only God Forgives, or Sleepless Night, it shares none of the artistic flair or compelling narrative housed within those films. It may be pretty, but in the end it feels all too derivative and brings little to the table.
The film stars Jacques Gamblin and Olivier Marchal as Victor and Milan, two aging gentlemen on the run from a psychopathic killer they helped put away six years prior. The two estranged besties must work together to survive the night as the body count begins to rise.
Set to a kinetic techno soundtrack, Paris Countdown begins with an over-saturated Soderbergh-esque intro in Mexico, but quickly moves into the vibrant Paris underground. We see a world of color, with every scene being completely blown out with bright purples, pinks, and blues. The slow dolly shots across and through these colorful nighttime locales look great, however there’s an off-putting low-budget feel that makes everything look much less pretty than something like Only God Forgives. There are a few very well executed action set pieces however, with the most notable taking place in the tight hallway of a brothel. This slow motion shootout was great, but it didn’t make up for the underwhelming story.
Everything about the plot of Paris Countdown felt only partially realized. The characters have relationships with people we never get to know but are supposed to feel for, the protagonists themselves are little more than cardboard cutouts, and the villain isn’t evil enough for us to care. There are several twists throughout the runtime as well, with what is supposed to be a major reveal near the climax, however there’s nothing of consequence that happens as a result, and if you blink you would probably miss it.
The big problem is that nothing in the film aside from the visuals and soundtrack are the slightest bit interesting. Many characters are introduced, but since there’s no time spent developing them, there’s a constant feeling of being disconnected from what’s happening on screen, as colorful as it may be.
Although everything about Paris Countdown has been done before and to greater effect, it’s still a mildly entertaining action flick that, despite feeling formulaic, features some eye-catching visuals accompanied by a great soundtrack. For some, this will be enough to give it a pass, however others will find the characters and storyline to be far too generic to make it worth recommending.