Director: Guillaume Pierret
Writers: Guillaume Pierret, Alban Lenoir, Kamel Guemra
Starring: Alban Lenoir, Nicolas Duvauchelle, Ramzy Bedia
Genre: Action / Thriller
Convict Lino (Lenoir) is recruited by the police to use his abilities as a mechanic to make their cars stronger and faster. However, when Lino is framed for the murder of the squad leader by the dirty cops within the squad, he once again finds himself on the run in a race against time to prove his innocence.
Usually I turn to world cinema to escape the typical generic genre clichés and tropes that can be found in most mainstream films, but though it may not be as huge as Hollywood, every country has its own film industry to a certain extent and so, by definition it is likely each industry will have its ‘mainstream’. Lost Bullet may well be very much a French film, but it definitely has all of the usual generic clichés, tropes and plot points that would be associated with an action film, whether that be a mainstream one or indeed a b-movie.
Of course I frequently try to make the arguments that generic, clichéd stories are not necessarily a problem, as they can be a very effective foundation for a really good film if that film does something interesting or unique with that story or its characters. While Lost Bullet certainly does not do anything particularly interesting or unique with its story, it does do enough to be a thoroughly enjoyable and watchable action thriller.
The titular ‘lost bullet’ is what will potentially prove the protagonist’s innocence, and the main plot is his quest to find it as he faces up against various drug dealers and corrupt cops, with very few people who he can trust or turn to. Yes it does all sound like extremely familiar, b-movie nonsence, and as the story plods along it certainly does not contain any particular surprises or shocks, but there is a likeable protagonist worth routing for, and some decent action sequences and car chases to keep things perfectly entertaining – and an added bonus is also that it is all told at a suitably nippy pace within the film’s appropriately short running time of 92 minutes.
When watching Lost Bullet, it does seem abundantly clear that director Guillaume Pierret never even contemplates trying to re-invent the wheel or indeed make too much effort with the plot or its characters. For example, what apparently makes the protagonist special is his apparent genius-like and unique ability to tune normal cars so that they have superior strength (in the opening sequence he tunes a Renault Clio so it is able to drive through several concrete walls). However, this is never truly utilized in the film – I am no mechanic, but he just appears to reinforce the front of cars with very strong materials. Likewise, there are plenty of contrivances and plot holes if one chooses to analyse the film on a moderately deep level.
It seems that Pierret just wants to have some fun with the film, and so in-turn makes sure that the audience also just has some switch-your-brain-off fun. Admittedly, from this point of view Pierret is successful, as though Lost Bullet will not live long in the memory and is nowhere near the standard of the likes of District 13, it is certainly a film that is a very fun viewing experience and requires very little effort to watch – yes, it is available dubbed in English for those that are particularly lazy!
However, for its complete lack of substance, Lost Bullet does contain plenty of style, so it is a slightly cut above the extreme abundance of similar films that are out there. It obviously lacks the budget to give us some humongous and epic action sequences, but there are some decent car chases that involve Lino’s apparent unique ability to tune cars, while there are some enjoyable and genuinely physical action sequences – a sequence in which Lino tries to escape a police station while singlehandedly fighting various police officers as he goes from room to room is a particular highlight. As Lino, Alban Lenoir does also look the part, and though he (like every other character) has no real character development, thanks to Lenoir’s performance in which he does admittedly look the part, he is worth routing for.
Lost Bullet certainly never provides any genuine shocks or surprises, and will also not linger long in the memory, but it has enough thrills and spills to be an immensely enjoyable and easy to watch action thriller.
A generic plot littered with clichés means that Lost Bullet is as shallow as a small puddle and is equally as memorable, but thanks to some very well-put together action sequences and being told at a breakneck pace, it is a thoroughly enjoyable (French) action romp.
At time of writing Lost Bullet is available to stream on Netflix