If Michael Mann, Luc Besson and Quentin Tarantino all ate the same bad sushi together, the unfortunate end result might just resemble the pre-digested pap that is the French thriller "Paris Countdown."
Conceived under the impression that the existential woes of middle-aged men are inherently interesting, writer-director Edgar Marie's lugubrious crime saga focuses on two debt-ridden nightclub owners, bickering old friends Milan (Olivier Marchal) and Victor (Jacques Gamblin). Forced into a drug deal that goes south, and tortured by Mexican authorities, the pair rat out their unhinged partner who six years later comes looking for payback over one long night.
A tired mishmash of leadenly stylized nightclub scenes, momentum stoppages for dull conversation and ho-hum action, "Paris Countdown" is weirdly uninvolving for a movie steeped in gangsters, vengeance and the City of Light after the sun goes down. Marchal's open-collared, chain-smoking sense of Gallic cool starts off exasperating, only to become ludicrous with a psycho on his tail. Besides, Marie is all too besotted with lighting and framing every location as if it were a disco in a perfume ad — that includes a parking garage, living room and cobblestone street — to create any serious thrills out of his trite pulp.
MPAA rating: None.
Running time: 1 hour, 29 minutes.
Playing: AMC Atlantic