For some reason, Paris Countdown begins unexpectedly in a desert near Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Two guys, Victor and Milan, driving a Ford Ranger turn off the dusty road and soon park the car. They are in the middle of nowhere which in this case is the wide open spaces.
No one will be able to sneak up on them. We will learn later that because they were in serious debt – they owned a bar/disco on the Seine River in Paris – and the place wasn’t doing that well – one of them, Milan, agreed to get them in the middle of a drug deal as a way to get them out from under their debt.
They are to deliver money to a cartel chieftain called Serki. Serki arrives in his car, and shortly thereafter so do the Mexican narcs. Victor and Milan are beaten up, and tortured until they give up Serki. As they leave the police, Victor tells Milan that he never ever wants to see him again.
Flash forward ahead and it is six years later. Serki has been released from prison and he’s out to get Butch and Sundance, sorry, make that Victor and Milan. Victor had been approached and had been told that his family would be spared if he ratted out Milan’s location. Only he could not rat out his lifelong friend since they were boys – with the last six years notwithstanding.
Victor wants to inform the cops or run, or both. Milan’s wife gets him a one-way ticket to Bangkok. Victor even drives Milan to the airport but he won’t leave. For Milan, it is fight or die. He sees no other way out. So once again, Victor is dragged into something that he hadn’t planned on.
There’s your set up. All of this occurs over the course of one long night. We see plenty of neon Paris, hear the pulsing, pounding sounds of the Euro electronic disco sounds.
Our guys get bloodied, bruised, beaten, shot, and when none of that works – they’re in a car that is rammed repeatedly.
The film is long on action, including a slo-mo shoot out a la John Woo, a car chase through the Paris streets a la Ronin, and there’s even an escape by boat. The images are strong on blues and reds so the film looks great. Victor played by Jacques Gamblin and Milan by Olivier Marchal, are suitably unkempt to give them that rugged look. There are a few women but they don’t have much of an impact.
Directed and written by Edgar Marie in his feature film debut, the film clocks in at a rapid 93 minutes, which in today’s age, is rather short. But there’s a price to pay – aside from Victor and Milan, all the other characters are simply one-dimensional and cardboard thin. And Victor and Milan don’t have a lot of depth to them either.
Victor runs a successful restaurant, and Milan – well, he’s been smoking, drinking, and whoring for the last six years. In a ‘funny’ scene, they are chased down the empty Paris side streets in the middle of the night . Blocks later, Milan says between his out of breath gasps, I have to give up smoking, only to light up a new cigarette immediately. So despite the fact that Victor and Milan have not seen each other in six years plus, we are asked to believe that they will re-bond in one night. Apparently, ‘remember when’ had more meaning for them than one would expect. In The Sopranos, Tony Soprano once said, Remember when is the lowest form of conversation. Apparently, Edgar Marie didn’t agree, or maybe he didn’t get the memo.
Milan still gets them into trouble and Victor still bears the brunt of the bruising and worse. This is not a new story. As I said, you can think of Butch and Sundance only with out the brilliance of William Goldman‘s script. Marie’s script has its moments, but there are far too few of them to make this film rise above it’s B level. Marie has made a fine-looking film – you know style over substance.
I’d say see it if you like buddy films with plenty of action. But don’t expected it to have any more substance than those thin crepes you can buy in the Paris Montmartre neighborhood. This filmi crepe will entertain you briefly, but you won’t need to see it again. This is a thin story that has a nice look to it but it is really a One and Done kind of film that has borrowed from too many other films to be called creative. By the way – Le Jour Attendra means : The day will wait.
Two point seven five is my rating. Check out the trailer. The trailer is dubbed in English. I watched the French language, English subtitled version on Netflix. There is a DVD available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or eBay.