Published Nov 01, 2003Crime Spree is part crime thriller, part quirky character-driven ensemble piece, part farce and all bad. Even with a merde-load of famous French guys, Harvey Keitel and Abe Vigoda, it's still bad.
The premise of this Canada/France co-production should be warning enough. A gang of Parisian criminals ends up stranded in Chicago where they attempt to avoid annihilation at the hands of A: the Mob, B: a corrupt FBI agent, C: a Latino street gang, or C (2): a black street gang. So this film has an identity crisis, a convoluted plot and a full deck of knaves and jokers all in the hands of rookie director Brad Mirman, who, in keeping with the go big or go home ethos, also wrote the screenplay. That the result is merely a medium budget trifle and not a complete catastrophe indicates that Mirman may eventually direct a good film. Or he can always go back to writing Christopher Lambert vehicles.
The implausibility of Crime Spree is best illuminated by its character development. Gang leader Daniel (Gérard Depardieu) is introduced as a bungler who has never had a successful heist. So it comes as a bit of a surprise when he manages to outwit any number of evildoers like he just took some Kayser Soze pills. Marcel (Johnny Hallyday) is a lethal hit man who later proves to be incapable of performing that most basic of crime movie manoeuvres the checking of the briefcase full of money to see if it is, in fact, full of money. "Zo I deed a meestake," protests Hallyday. Oh, I love those bumbling cold-blooded assassins.
Add to the mix some all too obvious influences (here a Ritchie, there a Tarantino), a general lack of subtlety and that special lameness of a failed Canadian production and you've got Crime Spree. At least Harvey Keitel keeps his clothes on. (Alliance Atlantis)