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The Burma Conspiracy (2011)
Director: Jérôme Salle

review by Christopher Geary

"A man with no enemies is no man at all."

A sequel to Largo Winch: Deadly Revenge, this is derived from a Belgian comicbook, created by Philippe Franca and Jean Van Hamme. Titular hero Largo Winch (Tomer Sisley) decides to sign away all control of his $50 billion corporate fortune and start a humanitarian foundation but, on the day that he's chosen to quit as CEO, his yacht is boarded by UN agents, and an international prosecutor, formidable Diane Francken (Sharon Stone), accuses Largo of 'crimes against humanity' in connection with the atrocity of a massacre in a Burmese village...

The Burma Conspiracy (aka: Largo Winch II) is a mildly witty comicbook actioner/ conspiracy thriller which combines elements of James Bond and Bruce Wayne. Largo is chiefly an international adventurer. He's the kind of protagonist who, in his role as a philanthropist CEO, toys with a dagger while chairing board meetings with a bunch of suited executives. Largo much prefers flitting about between Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Geneva, and enjoys getting into dangerous situations - such as the explosive car chase that starts the movie, or a later fight aboard a private jet that's quickly followed by parachute/ sky-diving stunt, complete with a midair shootout.

There's some welcome comic relief with Largo's campy yet faithful retainer Gauthier, but this avoids the sci-fi elements that made the original movie so much good fun. As a globe-trotting Franco-Belgian-German co-production, The Burma Conspiracy is partly subtitled in English when the main characters speak in French, Thai, or Serbian. Plenty of location shoots and authentic seeming local colour add to liberal concerns about third world problems, but Largo's old-fashioned romantic heroism is something of a problem for an action movie with a rather uninteresting and wholly impenetrable plotline. The baddies are exposed, and there are happy ever afters for all the principals - but still our hero's journey from mega-wealthy playboy to modern-day Robin Hood seems trite and awfully formulaic.

The director, Jérôme Salle, previously made a romantic/ crime drama with French star Sophie Marceau, that was titled Anthony Zimmer, and it was this film which inspired Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's lively but farcical romantic mystery actioner The Tourist (2010). It's easy to spot thematic linkages between Salle's works. Although he's not made enough movies to earn auteur status, the slick European and multicultural appeal of his popular style stands in marked lightweight contrast to the darker complexities of some recent 'cinema of transgression' created by Oliver Assayas.

The Burma Conspiracy

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