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.
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.
MPAA rating: None.
Running time: 1 hours, 38 minutes. In English and Russian with English subtitles.