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Dobermann (1997)
Director: Jan Kounen

review by Tony Lee

French crime thriller, starring Vincent Cassel as the successful bank-robber of the title, Tchéky Karyo (who has made distinguished appearances in everything from Nikita to GoldenEye, and 1492 to Wing Commander), as a misogynistic cop - our antihero's nemesis, and Monica Bellucci (one of the vampire brides in Coppola's Dracula), who plays Dobermann's mute girlfriend. This is the sort of low budget thriller where the intensity of its OTT stylised action is leavened, and actually redeemed, by comic book style flourishes such as a handgun which fires missiles, and an unfortunate police motorcyclist with a primed grenade lodged inside his helmet.

It's no surprise, then, to hear that this film is actually based on some pulp novels (which I've not read) by one Jöel Houssin. There's a masked stickup spree, some stupid detectives who only get each other shot in their hurry to arrest Dob's wacky gang, a transvestite traitor, and an audaciously violent showdown at a fetish club that descends into nightmarish scenes of mutilation and death. The aberrant moral stance of the film's milieu is evidenced by a quite touching scene at the junkyard grave of a beloved pet, being in stark contrast to the callous beatings meted out to wives and gays (even a baby is threatened at one point) by cops and others, throughout. Fans of Robert Rodriguez' El Mariachi and its remake, Desperado, will lap this up (pun intended)!
Dobermann
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