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'Viktor' a hackneyed avenging-dad action flick

'Viktor' a hackneyed avenging-dad action flick
Gerard Depardieu, left, and Elizabeth Hurley in "Viktor." (Inception Media Group)

The faux-noir potboiler "Viktor" is such a hackneyed jumble it could put an end to avenging-dads thrillers as we know them. That is, if anyone were to take it seriously.

But really, how can you? Watching the film's corpulent, 65-year-old star, Gérard Depardieu, play a brash killing machine who beds the likes of the gorgeous Elizabeth Hurley is truly like entering some cinematic Bizarro world. Think Charles Durning as Dirty Harry.

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Filmed entirely in Russia (where Depardieu gained citizenship last year), the movie involves Viktor Lambert (Depardieu), a French-born art thief and ex-con who returns to Moscow to requite the 3-month-old murder of his son, Jeremy.

With the help of his choreographer best friend and surprise tough guy Souliman (Eli Danker), club owner and ex-flame Alexandra (Hurley) and Jeremy's pregnant girlfriend (Polina Kuzminskaya), Viktor swiftly zeros in on the diamond-smuggling bad guys and, like he owns the whole darn country, starts kicking butt and taking names. Meanwhile, a police inspector (Evgeniya Akhremenko) randomly tracks Viktor's audacious moves.

If director Philippe Martinez's choppy screenplay wasn't confusing enough, some of the cast members' Russian-accented English — not to mention Depardieu's heavy French inflection — often make the overheated dialogue nearly incomprehensible. Though, to be fair, Ian McKellen probably couldn't sell such hoot-worthy lines as "You've got 48 hours. Deliver me his head!"

A fiery car chase, a couple of shootouts and an eyes-averting torture scene fill this competently shot movie's action quota. But a tone-switching epilogue proves hokey — and a little spooky.

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"Viktor."

MPAA rating: None.

Running time: 1 hours, 38 minutes. In English and Russian with English subtitles.

Playing: At MGN Five Star Cinema, Glendale. Also on VOD.

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