Lost Bullet (Balle Perdue) (2020)



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Lost Bullet, or Balle Perdue, is a wonderful French action crime drama focusing on a vice squad with some dirty cops. It stars Alban Lenoir, a French action star who had a role alongside Liam Neeson in Taken. He plays Lino, a criminal known for souping up cars. In the first scene, Lino plows through multiple cement walls of a jewelry store in a hot hatch with a large cow pusher on the front and a Lamborghini engine where the back seat should be. The first Fast and Furious movie spent time showing people working on cars, if that interested you then this is a movie for you. In Lost Bullet, the heist elements blend in well and everything is in a universe much more grounded in physics.

Lino is pulled out of jail, during the week, to work on speeding up the police’s pursuit vehicles so they can chase down drug runners, Go Fast in the local parlance. He does great work for the department and is very loyal to his boss, Charas. When his boss is killed and Lino finds himself the chief suspect, he must get the proof of his innocence in the form of a car. There are hand to hand combat scenes that are well choreographed. A few times it seems like Lino is fully restrained only for him to take stock of the situation and improvise a quick escape. There are also foot chases and car chases. Nothing is as over the top as recent Fast and Furious movies, but a few cars do go flying end over end.

There is a hint of a love story, but it felt more like professional respect and loyalty than outright love. The female characters are all strong powerful women in combat and within the police system. It made the entire movie feel a bit more rounded with less over the top machismo. This is not a dumb action flick for gear heads. If this movie were made in the US it would have been punched up but the restraint made this a much better film.

The plot moves quickly, and the movie feels very efficient, like most French films. There is a seriousness through the entire movie that adds to the French feel. I like the Fast and Furious franchise, but I appreciate it for what it is, action films moving into superhero territory. Lost Bullet remains wonderfully grounded while giving me car chases and heists. It is like Baby Driver, but as far as I know, the cast is all still viable actors. Alban Lenoir is the new face of French action and the director made a wonderful first feature. I hope these two get back together because I will certainly watch it.

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©2019 by Sean Whitehurst