Chrysalis Julien Leclercq

Chrysalis Julien Leclercq
Without the honour of a theatrical release this French action import gets its straight to video premiere, marketed with a desperate hook: "featuring the fight choreographer of The Bourne Identity." Set in Paris, 2025, Leclercq tells the noir-ish-ly plotted story of hard-edged cop David Hoffman (Albert Dupontel) hunting down the killer of his pregnant wife/partner. At the same time we're offered the narrative of a young girl, Manon, a car crash victim struggling to recover from her facial reconstruction. The stories link when Hoffman uncovers a technological conspiracy to erase and implant new memories under the guise of plastic surgery, like Manon's. It's all sci-fi fodder for the one-on-one confrontation built up between Hoffman and his badass nemesis Nicolev (played by that Bourne fight coordinator, Alain Figlarz). Chrysalis bears such a close resemblance to Steven Spielberg's marginally enjoyable Minority Report that it feels like one of those pathetic Bollywood knock-offs of Hollywood blockbusters. Leclercq employs the typical futuristic thriller visual palette: authority figures wearing monochromatic clothing, walking and talking like robots, desaturated colours of varying shades of grey and a sparse production design filled with straight lines and grid patterns. For an action film, it's surprisingly light on action, instead boring us to death with its snail's pace and overused brooding, rogue cop characterizations. The opening unfairly teases us with its best scene — a well-staged underground gunfight — and the other two action bits are identical fight sequences staggered with 30 minutes in between. The final fight attempts to recreate the same brutality of the Tangier fistfight from The Bourne Ultimatum. It's violent but overly directed, coming off as kind of ridiculous and out of place with rest of the film. The Luc Besson-branded French slickness distracts us from the paper-thin story, an obvious excuse for Leclercq to impress us with a nonsense uber-style. The only thing to savour from the DVD is the decent behind-the-scenes making-of doc showing Leclercq's youthful enthusiasm for filmmaking. (Christal)