Dobermann (1997)

Sunday, March 30, 2008
Dobermann is the story of Yann le Pentrec (aka Dobermann) and his eclectic gang of criminals. The city's entire police force has been trying to capture him but have had no luck. When he pulls off a cleverly planned and highly elaborate city-wide bank heist and the police are made to look like incompetent fools, they bring in the one man who just might be able to catch him, Inspector Cristini. Sadistic, cruel, and with little respect for the law he represents, Cristini will stop at nothing to capture the elusive Dobermann and bring his crime spree to an end. When the gang is lured into a trap at a night club by one of their own, all hell breaks loose and both sides will be lucky to survive.

I'm not too sure what to say about this French film...in fact I'm not sure whether or not I enjoyed it. There were times where I couldn't pry myself away from the screen to go potty and at some points in the film, I was ready to turn it off. The cast is superb with Vincent Cassel as Dobermann, real life wife Monica Bellucci as his deaf gypsy girlfriend who has a penchant for making things go "boom!", and Tcheky Karyo (*...le sigh...*) as the equally lawless Cristini. The supporting cast are hilarious, especially the other members of the gang: a priest with a habit, the open-mouthed gum-chewing Mosquito, the big burly Pitbull with a soft spot for cuddly puppies, and who can forget the transvestite hooker with a not quite heart of gold. In fact, the movie seems to focus more on the gang and their antics than on that of Dobermann so it seems wrong to call them "suppporting" characters. From the moment Cristini makes his first appearence on screen, he steals the show. You can chalk that up to Karyo (*...le double sigh...*) who seems to take great pleasure in playing some truly odd characters. Hmmm, Tcheky. He's yummy. Ooops, I digress.

Dobermann is filled with action, explosions, babies flying through the air, and plenty of violence - you just have to look at what happens to Cristini to understand what I mean. I wanted to throw up... Awesome. However, the story itself was lacking. Quite a bit in fact. Some people would say that this happens when you're talking about "foreign" films being translated into English. Sure. That's happened before and it's part of the problem here for sure but not the big problem. I will say that the translation of my version was terrible and incorrect quite often as well as missing complete bits of dialogue but I was able to pick up most of the missed items with my bit of French. Nope it was the story. It was missing ... something. Quite a few somethings in fact.

On the positive side, I mentioned the action, the violence, and of course the great cast. Bellucci and Cassel play perfectly off each other as always, and the attraction between them even back then is obvious (seriously, who wouldn't be attracted to either of them?!). Dobermann is directed by Jan Kouen; the only other one of his films I've seen was Blueberry (known as Renegade in North America) and I turned it off after the first five minutes. After consideration, Dobermann is a disappointing film which could have been really good. Unless you're a big fan of Bellucci (who looks uber hot in this), Cassel (I am), or Karyo (need I say it? ... le sigh ...), or action films in general, I'd give it a pass.

Having said that, if you've decided to take my advice and will skip it, here's just one thing you'll be missing. Who knows? For some of you, that might be reason enough to start scouring the foreign section of your local video store...

3 comments:

* (asterisk) said...

You know what: I loved Dobermann, and I've been thinking recently about buying it. There were so many great camerawork tricks, and the colours were great, and it was funny and gruesome... Ah, well.

Karen said...

I have to admit that I woke up this morning thinking about the movie. It WAS funny and gruesome and I'm rethinking how I feel about it. I did enjoy it overall but I still think there were some major holes. But seriously...how can a movie with Cassel, Bellucci AND Karyo be bad??? And I loved just how over the top Cristini was...I yelled out loud when he threw the baby to his partner. Oh my!

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

I'll look out for this one. I'm a sucker for Ms. Belluci.

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