Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Retro Review: Les Fugitifs (1986)

Les Fugitifs (The Fugitives)
1986
Cast: Gerard Depardieu, Pierre Richard, Anais Bret, Maurice Barrier
Genre: Comedy

Plot: Coming out from jail, Lucas has decided to change his life and behave like a good citizen. But when he is taken hostage in a bank by a hair-brained robber, no cops can believe he is not part of the action 






'Watchable French Comedy That Needed More Physical Humour'

The third Francis Veber comedy collaboration starring the duo of Gerard Depardieu and Pierre Richard following on from Les Comperes (Com Dads, later remade as Fathers' Day in the U.S & released in 1997) and La Chevre (Knock On Wood), 1986's Les Fugitifs was later remade in America as Three Fugitives starring Martin Short and Nick Nolte, 3 years after the original movie came out. I wasn't particularly fond of Three Fugitives, due to the insufficient performances given by the leads. So in sitting down to watch Les Fugitifs, I didn't have high hopes for this one and expectations were kept to a low.

But thankfully, the original film wasn't too bad. 

Armed robber Lucas has just stepped out of jail, after serving time and he has decided he wants to go straight and to give up crime for good. But his limits and patience are severely tested when he finds himself embroiled in someone else's robbery. A cop assumes the two are working together and he tracks the pair of them down. There is also a third fugitive in the shape of a little girl, who is the daughter of the robber played by Pierre Richard and hasn't spoken a word since her mother died. 

Surprisingly, and to some extent, I found Les Fugitifs to be okay and whilst it wasn't the over-the-top, wacky French farce I'd come to expect, it was still watchable. The film is almost in the same vein as Les Compares in its tone and at times, it is witty, cutesy, courtesy of the little French girl and Depardieu's interactions with her, which were at times, very sweet. The screenplay by Veber is well-written, witty, whilst it could have been a bit more potent and it also needed more of that comedy, especially physical comedy. Pierre Richard is like the French equivalent of Gene Wilder: he has the similar shaggy perm and frame as Wilder. 

Les Fugitifs is interesting in some ways, but the main theme is about doing the right thing and trying to do good and that how one person's actions can affect and destroy other people's lives. Particularly those of a little girl. 





Final Verdict:

It wasn't as grand and amazing as I'd hoped it would be, but it does have some nice moments and it did make me smile at times. I just wished the story really pulled me into the film, that it had more comedy and it got me wanting to love it. 

But Les Fugitifs is not bad at all and the performances were good. And I'd take this over that remake, Three Fugitives



Overall:

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