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French Connection 2
BLU-RAY disk
03.16.2009 By: Sturdy
French Connection 2 order
Director:
John Frankenheimer

Actors:
Gene Hackman
Fernando Rey
Bernard Fresson

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Detective Doyle is sent to France as bait to snare the elusive Charnier. But he thinks heís over there to capture him and that leads him vulnerable to being captured. When he is, Charnier turns him into a drug addict. Once he finally recovers, Doyleís determination was higher than ever to get his man.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Even after all these years, I still find it odd that they made this film. First, making a sequel to a classic film is rarely a good idea, especially if you donít have the idea beforehand. Second, the original was based off a true story. Since that story is over, why make up a purely fictional sequel? I guess some things in Hollywood never change.

But if you can get past why they made the film long enough to watch it, you can start to question why they made it like they did. I would have liked to have Scheider back for this go around. He was a good counter to Hackmanís Doyle and provided some balance to the first film. In this one, itís all Hackman, all the time. This is his showcase to be an actor and explore his range. Hackman is a fantastic actor, one of the best of our generation, but I felt like I was watching him in acting class at times. He goes through the gauntlet of acting roles including being tough, drunk, drugged, depressed, sick, angry and just about everything else you can think of.

He did them all like a pro, but as we were watching him do this, the story suffered greatly. Rather than an intricate investigation into finding Charnier, we get an all-too-easy sequence of events that lead to his eventual downfall, which, by the way, I actually liked. Unfortunately, it was too little, too late.

Iím not one of those guys that thinks a bad sequel diminishes the original by any means. But this seemed like a movie more intent on getting Doyle back in action and bringing in some box-office dough than it was on telling a story. It had a great performance from Hackman, but the whole thing felt too forced and just never quite hit the mark.
THE EXTRAS
Commentary with John Frankenheimer: Frankenheimer gives a really good scene-specific commentary for the film and by the time this is over, youíll feel like you were involved with making the movie. I enjoyed listening to Frankenheimer and thought that this was a great listen.

Commentary with Gene Hackman and Robert Rosen: Rosen actually does most of the talking and they werenít in the same room, which hurt the commentary a little bit. There were some long pauses of silence, but for the most part, it was pretty good. Like the commentary Hackman did with the first one, heís being interviewed rather than watching the film and making comments.

A Conversation with Gene Hackman (7:06): This is really a continuation of the commentary, but hey, itís Hackman so itís cool. In typical Hackman fashion, he doesnít hold back and gives you plenty of good tidbits about everything he remembered. He talks a lot of Frankenheimer and tells a few stories about working with him.

In Focus (25:13): This is a retrospective look at the work of Frankenheimer and how great he was. It has some cool archived interviews from Frankenheimer which impress with how intelligent he was and how well he knew his films. It was also interesting to hear how close he was to the Kennedyís. Itís a good featurette for a great director that a lot of people arenít too familiar with.

There are some Previews and a Still Gallery
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
I waited 12 years to see this sequel after I watched the original. I say that to point out that I would have been fine had I never watched it. If you canít get enough Doyle and want to see how everything ends, then go ahead and give it a rental. Otherwise, Iíd stick with the original.
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