Largo Winch is a Belgian comic book character, a globe traveling rogue who has many adventures. The latest film version played at ActionFest with subtitles, and a little native English. Winch is no competition for James Bond but you can see why the French enjoy him.
Largo (Tomer Sisley) returns to France from South America when his adopted father, Nerio (Miki Manojovic), is murdered. He has no interest in corporate affairs, but he is going to stop an evil takeover of his Winch International. Mrs. Ferguson (Kristin Scott Thomas) is the CEO who tries to reign in Largo’s wildcard ways.
The action is obviously smaller scale than a big American production, but it keeps its energy moving. Largo has a few cool moves, but you realize a foot chase is really just extended takes of guys running, and then Largo jumps on a bus. A rooftop fight has some dangling over the edge, but otherwise just fighting.
The only sequence with real momentum is a car chase that builds from smashing and bumping to losing the brakes and ultimately Largo having to pull his partner Kaplan (Gilbert Melki) from a near miss. The action is well done, except for the cliché shakycam.
Largo does things his own way, which means insisting on hotwiring a car even when Kaplan has the keys. The corporate plot gets a little slow and boring. Maybe the comic books have an equal balance, but it feels like they’re padding out the story because they can’t have all the bus jumps and car flips they really want.
One thing the French do better than Bond is the womanizing. They do not cut out Largo’s sex scene with Lea (Melanie Thierry). Lea must be the Largo Girl (Largirl?) and it is a full R-rated topless bodies grinding against each other in the moonlight scene. But, that’s not really significant to the entertainment value. I’m always amused by the teases in the Bond movies, but it’s one thing that makes Largo Winch distinctly European.
This movie is two and a half years old and I’ve only heard of it now, but they’re making another one. I wouldn’t race out to see Largo save Winch International again, but maybe success will make the films bigger. It’s also just a cool name. Largo Winch. That goes well on a marquee. Now they just have to back it up.