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Added by johanlefourbe on 23 Aug 2016 03:08
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A Complete Review of Luc Besson's work

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Anna (2018)

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Cast : Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, John Goodman, Ethan Hawke, Clive Owen, Rutger Hauer, Rihanna

What was it about?
A dark force threatens Alpha, a vast metropolis and home to species from a thousand planets. Special operatives Valerian and Laureline must race to identify the marauding menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe.

My two cents:
Before watching this movie, I was hoping that it would be at least just as visually impressive as 'The Fifth Element' turned out to be 20 years ago. Well, eventually, I wasn't disappointed as this movie was easily the most amazing movie visually speaking that I have seen since 'Avatar'. Indeed, Luc Besson managed here to create a fascinating world with so many different species and, on top of that, there were 2 or 3 scenes in the movie that were just dazzling to behold. Eventually, it is one of the very few movies you should watch in 3D and obviously in the movie theater. Still, was it really a great movie after all? Not really, I'm afraid. Unfortunately, even though the concept was pretty generic (everyone is looking for some kind of MacGuffin), Besson still managed to end up with an incredibly messy story and most of the scenes followed each other very awkwardly. In fact, the beginning was promising and the first mission was really neat but as soon as they gathered the converter, the whole thing started to fall apart narratively. Anyway, in spite of its flaws, even though the story didn't really work, the whole thing was just visually mind-blowing.

My rating: 7/10

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People who added this item 356 Average listal rating (235 ratings) 5.1 IMDB Rating 6
Taken 3 (2014)
It was actually directed by Olivier Megaton. Luc Besson wrote and produced this movie.

To be honest, I wasn't expecting much from this movie. Anyway, Luc Besson was even lazier than usual here. Indeed, basically, the whole thing turned out to be a really weak and boring copy of 'The Fugitive'. Sure, they could have taken some worse inspiration but what made 'The Fugitive' so entertaining was the fact that the main character was just some average guy. Here, you had a heavily trained killing machine with a way to easy access to some high-tech gadgets so most of the fun was gone. To make things worse, Liam Neeson looked seriously bored and even rather out of shape. In fact, he clearly stated that I didn't really want to make another one and the main (and maybe only) reason he still got involved was the 20 millions dollars paycheck they gave him.
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People who added this item 1115 Average listal rating (726 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.4
Lucy (2014)


Cast : Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman

What was it about?
A woman, accidentally caught in a dark deal, turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic.

My two cents:
Eventually, I thought it was not bad at all. To be honest, it may have had to do with the fact that I was seriously disappointed by most of Luc Besson's recent directing efforts (especially ‘The Family’ and ‘Les aventures extraordinaires d'Adèle Blanc-Sec’). Still, I loved the concept of this girl using all her brain capacity, even if it had been done before in ‘Limitless’ for example, and I liked the fact that Besson tried to pull a ‘2001’ ending on the viewers. Scarlett Johansson was also pretty good in this and you wonder why, at this point, Marvel is still not planning a standalone ‘Black Widow’ film since it seems to be definitely a no-brainer. Still, even though it was a decent watch, there was enough stuff that did bother me. First of all, I thought it was really short, barely 80 mins, and, as a result, everything felt rushed and they could have easily expanded the whole thing to 2 hours to develop this interesting concept. The cryptic introduction which was interesting at first turned out to be rather really silly after all. Indeed, why spend so much time with this suitcase if you have such a short running time? Eventually, everything happening in this sequence barely made sense after all. Still, in spite of its flaws, I thought it was fairly entertaining.

My rating: 6/10

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People who added this item 240 Average listal rating (168 ratings) 5.5 IMDB Rating 6.2
It was actually directed by McG. Luc Besson wrote the screenplay.

This time, instead of working with his usual obscure French directors (Pierre Morel, Olivier Megaton, Gérard Krawczyk,...), Besson was working with McG, a rather famous (but not very talented) US director. Well, I always had a hard time to care about those action movies produced and written by Besson but this might be the worse one I have seen so far. Of course, it would be easy to blame McG but I think the biggest issue is that it was just really poorly written. I mean, there were a couple of good ideas but most of it was really derivative or just didn't work at all. First of all, like many other Besson productions, most of the action was taking place in Paris and, yet, barely no one was speaking French. Concerning the plot, it was just too similar to 'Taken' which was already rather overrated in my opinion.
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People who added this item 396 Average listal rating (259 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.3
The Family (2013)


Cast : Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dianna Agron, Tommy Lee Jones

What was it about?
The Manzoni family, a notorious mafia clan, is relocated to Normandy, France under the witness protection program, where fitting in soon becomes challenging as their old habits die hard.

My two cents:
The saddest thing about this flick is that if Luc Besson would have made a movie starring such legends like Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer 20 years ago, it would have been a huge event but, nowadays, both actors and even the French director don’t really try anymore and it is not really surprising that they delivered such a weak effort. At least, it was Besson’s very first comedy so that was neat to see him trying something new but the whole thing was barely entertaining. The main issue is that the premise was actually rather weak and, to make things worse, it was so poorly developed. At least, De Niro and Pfeiffer were not bad and they had some fun with the material but their children were just poorly written. At least, Diana Agron did look lovely but her character and her brother were usually rather boring and unconvincing.

My rating: 5/10

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People who added this item 813 Average listal rating (514 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 6.3
Taken 2 (2012)
It was actually directed by Olivier Megaton. Luc Besson wrote and produced this movie.

Even though, like everyone else, I did like ‘Taken’, I didn’t think it was really that great. Sure, it was an entertaining action flick but without the great Liam Neeson, I’m not sure I would have enjoyed it so much. Anyway, since this movie was a surprise success, of course, they had to come up with a sequel. Obviously, the whole thing was pretty predictable but I thought it was still fairly entertaining. Sure, some of the action scenes were rather idiotic. The most hilarious one was probably to see Maggie Smith throwing some hand-grenades in the middle of Istanbul without anyone really complaining. I mean, seriously!?! Or the fact that she failed twice her driving license exam but, suddenly, her dad asks her to drive and she becomes some kind of stunt driver. And the last one, how Liam Neeson managed to find back his wife just by wandering in the streets of Istanbul. And yet, in spite of all this preposterous stuff, once again, Liam Neeson was quite charismatic and I had some fun watching this.
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People who added this item 414 Average listal rating (281 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 6.1
Lockout (2012)
It was actually directed by James Mather and Stephen St. Leger. Luc Besson wrote the screenplay and produced this movie.

To be honest, it is only when the film started, during the credits, that I discovered that it was a Besson production. It wasn't exactly a positive sign. I mean, I do respect the fact that Luc Besson is probably the only one in France or even in Europe who is able to challenge the Americans on their own turf. Still, it doesn’t mean that the movies he writes and produces nowadays are actually really good and this flick was a fine example. Sure, I have a weak spot for SF features and the whole thing did look good. On top of that, Guy Pearce never disappoints and he had some decent one-liners throughout the whole thing. And yet, I really had a hard time to care about the damned thing. Indeed, the plot was just so generic, so pedestrian, I got bored pretty quickly. Furthermore, I thought that Maggie Grace, also to be seen in the 'Taken' trilogy from the Besson factory, was pretty weak.
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People who added this item 96 Average listal rating (48 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.1
The Lady (2011)


Cast : Michelle Yeoh, David Thewlis

What was it about?
The story of Aung San Suu Kyi as she becomes the core of Burma's democracy movement, and her relationship with her husband, writer Michael Aris.

My two cents:
I thought it was rather odd to see Besson who was very good at directing some very stylish thrillers making instead here a historical drama. The end-result was not really bad but such a historical figure like Aung San Suu Kyi deserved better. I mean, Michelle Yeoh shouldn’t be blamed, she delivered a very good performance, probably her best I have seen so far and David Thewlis was not bad as well but the directing was pretty weak. I mean, as usual with Besson, everything looked beautiful and the shots were perfectly made but he didn’t manage to make this story compelling. Indeed, the biggest mistake he made was to put such a big focus on her relationship with her husband. I’m sure he was a great guy who supported her until the end but can you imagine Richard Attenborough spending half of the running time of ‘Ghandi’ talking about Ghandi's wife? Eventually, even though it was a rather weak drama, it remains an important story and I think it is still worth a look.

My rating: 6/10

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People who added this item 537 Average listal rating (348 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.4
Colombiana (2011)
It was actually directed by Olivier Megaton. Luc Besson wrote the screenplay and produced this movie.

Since, it was a Besson production, I knew more or less what to expect and I didn’t get anything less. Indeed, it is basically a slick looking action flick with a solid performance by Zoe Saldana and some decent action scenes but not much more I’m afraid. While watching this, it reminded me of ‘Nikita’, by far the best movie directed by Luc Besson, but this movie never had the ambition to be that good. Apparently, this movie was actually supposed to be a sequel to ‘Léon’ following the character played by Natalie Portman but it didn’t work out and they changed the story with a new character with a South American background. Eventually, even though it did look good, there were just too many details and elements that didn’t work. For example, the way she is discovered by the FBI, the way she kills a guy with some sharks and then another guy with some dogs, the whole romantic relationship with Michael Vartan,… I mean, even when he was on the top of his game, Luc Besson didn’t deliver the best stories as a director but, as producer, the end-result is even more underwhelming. Still, all in all, it remains a decent action flick.
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Cast : Freddie Highmore, Mia Farrow, Selena Gomez, Jimmy Fallon, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop

What was it about?
With Maltazard now 7 feet tall and Arthur still 2 inches small, our hero must find a way to grow back to his normal size ans stop the Evil M once and for all, with the help of Selenia and Betameche.

My two cents:
At some point, Besson made a come-back with ‘Arthur et les Minimoys’ and I thought it was actually pretty neat. I mean, sure, the story was barely decent and seriously generic and pedestrian but, on the other hand, the animation was just really gorgeous. Honestly, I thought it was pretty neat to see a French guy like Luc Besson doing his own thing which resulted in a really amazing animated feature (at least, visually speaking). However, for some reasons, Besson thought that this concept was so great that he should make a whole trilogy but this idea was just seriously misguided. Indeed, as I mentioned before, it barely worked for just one movie so there was definitely not enough story for 3 movies... So, as a result, with this 3rd installment, it was still very nice looking , sure, but also seriously boring.

My rating: 6/10

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Cast : Louise Bourgoin, Mathieu Amalric, Gilles Lellouche, Jean-Paul Rouve

What was it about?
An adventure set in the early part of the 20th century and focused on a popular novelist and her dealings with would-be suitors, the cops, monsters, and other distractions.

My two cents:
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this flick but I certainly didn’t expect it to be so underwhelming. I mean, it was nice that Besson was trying something really different than his previous movies, I’ll give him that, but barely nothing did work with this feature. At first, it seemed to be some kind of female version of Indiana Jones which sounded actually rather promising but, as soon as the main character got back to Paris, it all became some kind of terrible mess involving a pterodactyl and some mummy who had to be resurrected. Concerning Louise Bourgoin, sure, she was very nice looking and she displayed some potential but her acting was sometimes decent but usually rather weak. Still, I don’t think she was the one really to blame here. Indeed, the tone was more annoying than really entertaining and the story, as mentioned before, was just a boring mess.

My rating: 5/10

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People who added this item 673 Average listal rating (450 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.5
It was actually directed by Pierre Morel. Luc Besson wrote this movie.

To my surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, at least the 1st hour. I mean, the plot was rather pedestrian and even though the action scenes were decent, it was nothing I hadn't see 100 times before, no, the one thing I really enjoyed was Charlie Wax. Indeed, I already thought that Travolta was bad-ass in his previous movie 'The Taking of Pelham 123' but here, he definitely took it to the next level. Seriously, the guy kicked some serious ass and he made me laugh many times. Unfortunately, during the last 30 minutes, the whole thing lost some steam and it was pretty obvious that the makers got lazy as the ending was just a succession of endless and boring action scenes and some sentimental crap. It is too bad because, before that, it was a really entertaining action flick with Travolta completely stealing the show with some awesome one-liners. Eventually, it was still a fun action flick, much better than I expected it to be.
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Cast : Freddie Highmore, Mia Farrow, Selena Gomez, Jimmy Fallon, Lou Reed, Fergie, Snoop Dogg, Will.i.am

What was it about?
Arthur answers a distress call from Princess Selenia, who is menaced by the nefarious Maltazard.

My two cents:
To be honest, even though Luc Besson is definitely a talented director, I also think he is terribly pretentious and not only he wrote some children books but he decided to adapt them as well. The end-result was ‘Arthur et les Minimoys’ and I have to admit that it really looked amazing and, at the time, it was probably one of the most gorgeous CGI animated features I had ever seen. However, the story, as usual with Besson, was terribly weak and pedestrian and prevented the whole thing from being really amazing. Eventually, since the story was so weak, I was really amazed that he would come up with some sequels. As a result, once again, this sequel looked quite gorgeous but the story was really not captivating.

My rating: 6/10

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People who added this item 832 Average listal rating (530 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 6.1
Transporter 3 (2008)
It was actually directed by Olivier Megaton. Luc Besson wrote and produced this movie.

In my opinion, it wasn't better or worse than the two previous installments, it was just about the same. Basically, you get some big and quite awesome action scenes, an average story and some very ridiculous dialogues. On the positive side, Jason Statham really kicked some ass and displayed once again he is easily the most dependable action star at work nowadays and Robert Knepper was a very cool and convincing bad guy. Eventually, I don't think it is really worth a look, unless you are a big fan of brainless action movies than you may end up enjoying it more than I did.
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People who added this item 2383 Average listal rating (1548 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.8
Taken (2008)
It was actually directed by Pierre Morel. Luc Besson wrote and produced this movie.

Since I kept hearing some really good things about this movie, I was quite eager to check it out. Eventually, I have to agree, it was a solid and entertaining action flick, no doubt about it, but I still think it was rather overrated. Basically, the masterstroke was obviously to have Liam Neeson playing the lead character. Indeed, before this movie was released, he was maybe an odd choice but it was in fact really smart to have someone with some actual acting chops to play such a typical bad-ass action character. Eventually, it worked so well that Liam Neeson would spend most of his time afterwards (even today) playing the same kind of character in some similar movies. Well, in my opinion, if you would remove Neeson, the whole thing would just be some other decent action flick but not much more than that. Still, I have to admit it, it is actually a pretty cool movie.
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People who added this item 227 Average listal rating (129 ratings) 5.3 IMDB Rating 5.6
Taxi 4 (2007)
It was actually directed by Gérard Krawczyk. Luc Besson wrote and produced this movie.

To be honest, after watching the first trilogy, I really had enough with this franchise and I had absolutely no plan to watch this final installment. However, Nick, my step-son has always been a huge fan of sequels, any kind of sequels, and he was quite eager to check this flick as well so we ended up watching it together. Seriously, why on Earth did I watch this crap?!? I mean, at least, in the previous installments, there was the lovely Marion Cotillard involved, even if she was terribly underused but, for the first time, she didn’t show up at all and the last appealing thing in this whole franchise was gone. Apparently, this movie was still quite successful at the box-office but, at least, it received some poor reviews. Anyway, after insulting the Germans, the Japanese and the Chinese, this time, they decided to insult the Belgians (how original...) and the end-result was once again just really pathetic.
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People who added this item 515 Average listal rating (282 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 6


Cast : Freddie Highmore, Mia Farrow, Madonna, Snoop Dogg, David Bowie, Jimmy Fallon, Emilio Estevez, Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, Jason Bateman,

What was it about?
Ten-year-old Arthur, in a bid to save his grandfather's house from being demolished, goes looking for some much-fabled hidden treasure in the land of the Minimoys, a tiny people living in harmony with nature.

My two cents:
Before watching this flick, I was rather skeptical. Just like Madonna, Luc Besson was so arrogant, he thought he could also write children books and adapt those in some very expensive animated features. Still, I must admit that the whole thing was not bad at all. Indeed, the CGI animation was just really gorgeous. It was honestly some of the best I have ever seen and I have seen a lot of animated features. It was really beautiful, really detailed, and managed to have its own style, really different from what comes from the USA or Japan. Unfortunately, the story was nothing really amazing and really pedestrian. Still, as a stand-alone, it was not bad but it's a pity Besson went for some sequels which were completely unnecessary.

My rating: 6/10

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People who added this item 526 Average listal rating (353 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 5.7
Bandidas (2006)
It was actually directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg. Luc Besson wrote and produced this movie.

I do believe that there was definitely a potential in the concept of a Western starring BFFs Penélope Cruze and Salma Hayek. However, the end-result was unfortunately terribly disappointing. Basically, it was completely not original, and full of things I have seen like 1000 times before. Personally, I have nothing against Penélope Cruze, her Spanish movies are usually pretty good, but I don´t think she has ever made one single good flick in English, especially in the US. Concerning Salma Hayek, I actually think that she is a rather interesting actress but together they couldn't do anything to make this movie more entertaining for me.
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People who added this item 337 Average listal rating (195 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.1
Angel-A (2005)


Cast : Jamel Debbouze, Rie Rasmussen

What was it about?
A beautiful woman helps an inept scam artist get his game together.

My two cents:
After 6 long years, Luc Besson was finally back in the directing chair so I was really eager to check the damned thing and I had some rather high expectations. Eventually, like all the other movies directed by Besson, it was quite gorgeous to look at with some really nice black-and-white cinematography but, once again as usual with Besson’s work, the story was terribly weak. Not only the plot was some rather underwhelming modern fairy tale but the characters were rather shallow and borderline unlikable. At least, both leads, Jamel Debbouze and Rie Rasmussen were really charismatic but they both deserved a better story than the one provided here. The fact that Rie Rasmussen had a really thick accent didn’t help either.

My rating: 6/10

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People who added this item 661 Average listal rating (411 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.5
Revolver (2005)
It was actually directed by Guy Ritchie. Luc Besson wrote and produced this movie.

Following the massive flop 'Swept away', Guy Ritchie made this really obscure flick which was barely noticed when it was released. Some people seem to actually think that it is one of the best movies ever made but, honestly, it is not really that good. Basically, Ritchie tried to make his usual gangster flick but this time with some philosophical ideas added to it, some kind of mix between ‘Snatch’ and ‘Inception’. Of course, Ritchie went way over his head here and the whole thing never really worked. But don’t misunderstand me, it is not a bad movie at all. Indeed, the kinetic directing was quite awesome with some very neat visual things and Jason Statham really impressed me. Not only he wasn’t bald this time but I really had the feeling that the guy was actually acting for once and, even more surprising, he was really convincing. Furthermore, I think that the story really had some potential and it could have been indeed a great picture but I guess they were too ambitious and the whole thing just spun out of control.
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People who added this item 1297 Average listal rating (846 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.3
Transporter 2 (2005)
It was actually directed by Louis Leterrier. Luc Besson wrote and produced this movie.

Even I thought that the first installment really had some potential with a nice concept, I thought it was rather disappointing. This time, with this sequel, I thought was not really better or worse than the first movie. Basically, it follows the same lines: cool action scenes + shallow plot. Obviously, it is not really my kind of thing but it remains watchable and it was fairly entertaining. Back then, I wasn’t really fed up with Jason Statham constantly playing over and over again the same character (the guy definitely needs to try something else by now) and he was definitely bad-ass in this flick. I thought that Kate Nauta was also a pretty neat villain but she didn’t do much after this movie which is too bad. Unsurprisingly, they would eventually come up with a 3rd installment and it was just as forgettable as the other movies in this franchise.
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People who added this item 882 Average listal rating (596 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7
Unleashed (2005)
It was actually directed by Louis Leterrier. Luc Besson wrote and produced this movie.

Eventually, even though I had some rather low expectations concerning this movie, I thought it was not bad at all. Indeed, I really liked the concept of this man-dog used to protect his master. The action scenes were really neat and Bob Hoskins was really hilarious and total badass. Jet Li was pretty good as well and, as always, really impressive during the fight scenes. It's too bad that Morgan Freeman was rather underused though. Unfortunately, as usual with Besson, the whole thing started with an interesting concept but it was not properly developed and the whole thing fell into some boring sentimentality after a while. Still, it remains a well made and entertaining action flick.
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People who added this item 48 Average listal rating (35 ratings) 3.3 IMDB Rating 5.3
It was actually directed by Louis-Pascal Couvelaire. Luc Besson wrote and produced this movie.

Even though I'm quite knowledgeable in French comic-books (I have read 100's of them when I was still living in France), I wasn't really familiar with 'Michel Vaillant'. I mean, obviously, I heard about it but I never thought it would be worth my time. Well, at least, I hope it is better than this adaptation. Indeed, by now, I have seen a lot of movies produced and written by Luc Besson, I'm not not a huge fan, that's for sure, but this movie is probably his weakest one so far (ok, the 'Taxi' franchise might be even worse...). At least, the driving scenes were not bad and it was really neat that it was taking place Le Mans, the city where I have spent all my teenage years, but the story and the characters involved were unfortunately seriously lame. Eventually, I was just bored to death by the whole thing.
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People who added this item 355 Average listal rating (235 ratings) 5.5 IMDB Rating 5.8
Taxi 3 (2003)
It was actually directed by Gérard Krawczyk. Luc Besson wrote and produced this movie.

Seriously, I thought this movie was just awful. How the hell did I actually ended up watching this flick?!? Indeed, I just despised the first installment and even though it was a massive success in France, I thought it was easily one of the most overrated movies ever produced so I should probably have avoided this sequel. Once again, they gave us another bad story, some bad acting and some really really average action scenes... At least, with this 3rd installment, they gave us a cameo by Sylvester Stallone but, for some reasons, he was dubbed in French so even this neat cameo was ruined.
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People who added this item 1899 Average listal rating (1246 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.8
It was actually directed by Louis Leterrier and Corey Yuen. Luc Besson wrote and produced this movie.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this flick but since I heard a lot of good things about it, I was quite eager to check it out. First of all, I really loved the introduction. The tone was perfect, Jason Statham was really bad-ass and it was an impressive and very well shot action scene. But then, unfortunately, it was the only scene that really impressed me... I mean, the rest of the movie was not bad and fairly entertaining but, honestly, I thought it was just some generic action stuff which I have already seen 1000 times before. Sure, it was well done but, in my opinion, it was not really exciting and, as a matter of fact, almost boring. It is quite a pity because the whole thing definitely had some potential but, as usual with Luc Besson, they didn’t care much about the story or the concept and just wanted to show some bad-ass action scenes.
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People who added this item 494 Average listal rating (322 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.6
Wasabi (2001)
It was actually directed by Gérard Krawczyk. Luc Besson wrote and produced this movie.

Once again, I didn’t expect much from this flick but, at least, I have to admit it, every single scene involving Michel Muller was pure gold and Jean Reno did deliver a decent performance. However, these Japanese chick was so just f*cking annoying.... As a matter of fact, I don’t think she was in fact the worst issue with this flick. Indeed, what really bothered me the most was that the whole thing was just full of terrible cliches about Japanese people. To make things worse, even though the action was taking place in Japan, everybody was apparently able to speak some perfect French there.
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People who added this item 505 Average listal rating (355 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.6
It was actually directed by Chris Nahon. Luc Besson wrote and produced this movie.

Even though it was watchable, with a strong Jet Li at the top of his game, the story was just way too generic to hold my attention and I really had a hard time to care about the damned thing. At least, this movie would be one of the very last opportunities to see the lovely Bridget Fonda who would soon go into early retirement following this flick. Anyway, I thought it was really average and I don’t think it is really worth a look, except maybe if you are a die-hard fan of the genre.
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People who added this item 441 Average listal rating (292 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 6.5
Taxi 2 (2000)
It was actually directed by Gérard Krawczyk. Luc Besson wrote and produced this movie.

The worst thing about this flick, in my opinion, was how Marion Cotillard, probably the best French actress of the last decade, was completely wasted here. Indeed, she was probably the only redeeming feature in this whole franchise and, here, she was basically stuck at home waiting the whole freaking day that the lead character would come back. I mean, seriously?!? That's the best thing they could come up with for her? Anyway, after all these years, I still cannot understand how these movies got so popular in France. It really blows my mind.
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Cast : Milla Jovovich, Vincent Cassel, Faye Dunaway, Dustin Hoffman, Toby Jones, Tchéky Karyo, John Malkovich

What was it about?
A young girl receives a vision that drives her to rid France of its oppressors.

My two cents:
It is rather funny to think that, back in those days, Milla Jovovich was not linked to all these dreadful Resident Evil flicks but she was then Luc Besson's muse, she was even married to the guy for a few years. I'm not sure if this movie was big abroad when it was released but, in France, it was pretty huge and it was a big box-office success if I recall it correctly. For Luc Besson, it would be a turning point in his career. Indeed, up to that point, he was one of the most successful French directors, at least definitely the most ambitious one but, after this flick, he would stop directing for a while and would focus instead on producing a massive number of disposable action flicks for the international market. Coming back to our main feature, it is pretty much a typical Besson feature. Indeed, it was very well made, visually quite appealing and there were some decent performances but the whole thing was way too shallow to become really remarkable.

My rating: 6/10

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Taxi (1998)
It was actually directed by Gérard Pirès. Luc Besson wrote and produced this movie.

I just hate this movie. I know, it might be surprising since it was/is so popular, especially in France but I just can't stand the damned thing. In fact, I remember very well when it came out in France. Indeed, it was a huge success and everybody went to see the damned thing back then. Well, everybody except me. For months, I had to hear all the comments about this movie ("This is great !" "You have to see it !",...) . About 6 months later, a friend of mine finally convinced me and I finally saw the damned thing. To be honest, I was completely stoned out of mind which didn't help but, anyway, I will never forget this, after 10 minutes, there was the first real dialogue and it sounded so bad , I thought it was fake and I thought someone was conspiring against me... Anyway, from this point, the whole thing never really recovered and it was really bad. In my opinion, the story was just lame, the acting was seriously weak, the whole thing looked terribly cheap and even the supposedly amazing action scenes didn't really impress me at all. Eventually, I have even watched it again many years later and, sure, I have to admit that there were a few decent jokes but the whole thing was still really worthless, even the action scenes...
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People who added this item 4874 Average listal rating (3389 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.7


Cast : Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, Gary Oldman, Chris Tucker, Luke Perry, Mathieu Kassovitz

What was it about?
In the colorful future, a cab driver unwittingly becomes the central figure in the search for a legendary cosmic weapon to keep Evil and Mr Zorg at bay.

My two cents:
I remember it very well, when this movie came out, there was a huge buzz about it, at least in France, my homeland. Indeed, at last, a French production was finally competing with the great American blockbusters and Luc Besson, probably the most ambitious French directors at the time, was finally coming up with a huge SF movie starring no less than Bruce Willis, one of the biggest movie stars, and the expectations were pretty high. Eventually, it was not really great (like most of Besson’s work) but it was still a very fun and entertaining science-fiction feature, no doubt about it. First of all, it really looked awesome. I re-watched it again 16 years after its release and it still holds up very well with some great costumes by Jean-Paul Gaultier, some great sets and designs and, to sum it up, Luc Besson created one of the most compelling futuristic worlds I have seen. Basically, the main issue, as usual with this director, was with the plot. Like I said before, it was quite fun but still terribly pedestrian. Furthermore, even though Bruce Willis was really good in this, giving his usual John McClane performance, I wasn’t really convinced by Milla Jovovich. I mean, she looked good, that’s for sure, but the whole autistic acting grew thin pretty quickly and, after a while, except for her great body, you wonder why Korben Dallas would actually fall for her. Still, in spite of its flaws, I really have a weak spot for this flick and it is definitely worth a look.

My rating: 7/10

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People who added this item 4357 Average listal rating (2897 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 8.6


Cast : Jean Reno, Natalie Portman, Gary Oldman, Danny Aiello

What was it about?
Mathilda, a 12-year-old girl, is reluctantly taken in by Léon, a professional assassin, after her family is murdered. Léon and Mathilda form an unusual relationship, as she becomes his protégée and learns the assassin's trade.

My two cents:
I can't believe that it was already 20 years ago that Luc Besson released his seminal classic. Indeed, I actually remember it very well when it was released in France. Back then, before it became an international cult classic, it was a huge success in France and virtually everyone went to see it and bragged about how awesome the whole thing was. Personally, I saw it maybe a year later after its release and I was expecting something really really impressive but, eventually, I was amazed about how underwhelming the whole thing was. I mean, obviously, it was actually not bad at all. Indeed, the directing was solid and Natalie Portman in her first part was pretty impressive but I still don’t think that it was really amazing. The point is that the story definitely had some potential but, not only it felt rather rotten (the director's cut had actually some pedophile love scenes between Jean Reno and Natalie Portman) but, above all, it felt terribly pretentious. Eventually, I thought it was watchable, I'll give you that, but I never understood why it is so popular.

My rating: 6/10

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People who added this item 929 Average listal rating (560 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.4


Cast : Anne Parillaud, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Tchéky Karyo, Jeanne Moreau, Jean Reno

What was it about?
Convicted felon Nikita, instead of going to jail, is given a new identity and trained, stylishly, as a top secret spy/assassin.

My two cents:
I have always been a huge fan of this movie. First of all, to be honest, I always had a hard time with Luc Besson's work as a director. I mean, visually speaking, he is actually a great director, probably one of the most talented French directors of the last 30 years and indeed his directing is always top notch but I always find his stories rather pretentious and even underwhelming. This movie is however the big exception. As usual, it looked really awesome but this time, the story was really entertaining and quite spellbinding to behold. We shouldn't forget Anne Parillaud who was great here and easily delivered the best performance you will ever see in a Besson production. Finally, the soundtrack by Eric Serra wat just really perfect and managed to immerse you even more in this fascinating world. Eventually, it is easily my favorite movie directed by Luc Besson and, in my opinion, it is miles better than the really overrated 'Léon'.

My rating: 8/10

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People who added this item 373 Average listal rating (217 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.6
The Big Blue (1988)


Cast : Jean-Marc Barr, Jean Reno, Rosanna Arquette

What was it about?
The rivalry between Enzo and Jacques, two childhood friends and now world-renowned free divers, becomes a beautiful and perilous journey into oneself and the unknown.

My two cents:
When this movie was released in France, it was actually poorly received by the critics but, eventually, it turned out to be a massive box-office success and it is now considered a French classic. Well, personally, I always had some mixed feelings about the damned thing. I mean, like all the movies directed by Luc Besson, it was quite ambitious, visually really impressive and the soundtrack provided by Eric Serra was quite mesmerizing as well. And yet, it did kind of rub me in the wrong way. Indeed, like most of the work coming from this director, the whole thing felt rather pretentious to me. I mean, after all these years, I still don’t know what to think of the freediving sport. On one hand, it seems to be one of the dullest sports ever conceived but, on the other hand, I have to admit that Besson still managed to deliver something sometimes quite mesmerizing. Eventually, I really need to re-watch this one at some point to really make up my mind about the damned thing.

My rating: 6/10

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People who added this item 214 Average listal rating (117 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.6
Subway (1985)


Cast : Christopher Lambert, Isabelle Adjani, Jean Reno, Richard Bohringer, Jean-Hugues Anglade

What was it about?
Fred is living in the Paris Metro system. He is blackmailing Helena, whose safe he has robbed. Fred has various 'friends' all living in this surreal setting.

My two cents:
I think Besson's movies are often terribly pretentious but, I have to admit it, he still managed to make a few amazing movies and this one is definitely one of them. Indeed, the guy always had a stylish directing style (definitely his strongest quality) but I always found his stories actually rather underwhelming. With this movie, even though it is one of his less known directing efforts, I thought it was actually quite mesmerizing. At the time, Isabelle Adjani was one of the greatest French actresses and even Christopher Lambert who would turned out to be a really underwhelming actor was actually really good here.

My rating: 8/10

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People who added this item 120 Average listal rating (53 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.9


Cast : Jean Reno

What was it about?
In the post-apocalyptic future, only a few humans are left. No one is able to speak; the film contains no dialogue, and characters communicate non-verbally. A determined loner befriends a reclusive older man and these two battle against vicious thugs for food, shelter and life itself.

My two cents:
I was quite eager to check this directing debut. Basically, it was a rather typical post-apocalyptic science-fiction feature like ‘Mad Max’ but it was visually pretty neat, in spite of a rather limited budget, and I especially enjoyed the fact that there was almost no dialogue at all during the whole thing. Besson would work also for the first time with Eric Serra on this movie and, as usual, Serra delivered a very atmospheric soundtrack. It would be also the first time that Besson would work with Jean Reno who would play some major roles in his next 4 movies. To conclude, even though it was nothing really groundbreaking, I thought it was still a decent watch.

My rating: 6/10

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Since I have finally managed to watch all the movies directed by Luc Besson, I thought I should make one of these lists for this director as well.

Enjoy!


Added to

36 votes
A Complete Review of various directors' work (47 lists)
list by johanlefourbe
Published 5 years, 4 months ago 7 comments



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