Jean Reno

The Adventurers (2017)

theadventurers Hong-kong-icon

Andy Lau attempts at the biggest heist of his life in this loose adaptation of a John Woo classic from actor/musician turned director Stephen Fung.

Five years ago, master thief Zhang Dan attempted to steal one third of a prominent necklace known as Gaia. However, he found himself set up and put in prison. Having now been released, Zhang intends to find out who set him up while attempting to get the remaining pieces of Gaia so he can retire. Joining forces with his protege Chen Po and new team member Red Ye, Zhang finds himself trailed by French police officer Pierre, who was the very officer who put Zhang in jail five years ago.

When Zhang and his team successfully infiltrate a popular actress’ event and steals her necklace, which was up for auction for a charity, Zhang has one piece left to get. To accomplish this, Zhang must use Red as a pawn to infiltrate rich man Charlie Luo to get that final piece of Gaia. Meanwhile, Pierre finds himself an ally in Amber Li, an expert in curation who was once Zhang’s fiancee. While Pierre and Amber are hot on Zhang’s trail, complications will soon arise, threatening to end this final heist for the master thief.

You have got to hand it to Stephen Fung. The actor and musician turned director has churned out quite a filmography when it comes to his directing. From his directorial debut in 2004’s Enter the Phoenix to 2012’s kung fu-steampunk hybrid Tai Chi Zero and Tai Chi Hero, Fung’s brand of action has gained quite a following. His latest film, a loose adaptation of the John Woo classic Once a Thief, is a fun and wild action ride that keeps you wanting to root for our central character, master thief Zhang Dan.

And who better to play this thief than the Heavenly King Andy Lau? Lau is wonderful as the central character who thrives in doing his job but still feels conflicted. Having been released from prison in the film’s opening, Zhang feels he must get the job done as well as find out who was responsible for putting him in prison in the first place. The legendary Jean Reno serves as the “cat” to Lau’s “mouse” in the game as his Pierre is convinced that Zhang is not finished with business yet. However, despite his misgivings, there seems to be a line of respect between the two that goes back to the very day Zhang is arrested, resulting in that prison time.

Yo Yang serves up comic relief as Zhang’s protege Po, who when doing his scenes with Shu Qi (who married director Fung during the making of the film), attempts at wooing her with well, the expected results of rejection. Zhang Jingchu is perhaps the most conflicted character in Amber, the ex-fiancee of Zhang who wants to help Pierre perhaps for revenge, but yet still has a bit of a flame for her ex-lover. Eric Tsang makes the most of his role as Kong, Zhang’s mentor and handler, while Sha Yi gets the most of his role as Charlie, the owner of one of the Gaia pieces, with whom Shu Qi must use some flirtation with in order for the team to nab it.

The action sequences are quite fun. While they don’t really comprise of fistacuffs, they are still fun nonetheless. There are vehicle chase scenes that are up to par with the likes of The Transporter and Ronin amongst others. Shane Hurlbut’s cinematography is quite impressive when it comes to both action and the amazing aerial shots of the cities the film was set in, as Fung decided to use drone technology to capture these amazing views of the cities.

In conclusion, The Adventurers is a pretty fun heist flick. It is clear why Stephen Fung has truly made his mark on directing action films. Some great performances by Andy Lau and Jean Reno, blended some some stunning cinematography of the cities and some nice twists and turns in the film make this worth checking out.


Infinitus Motion Pictures present a Mannix Filming Co. Ltd. Production in association with Media Asia Films. Director: Stephen Fung. Producers: Stephen Fung, Andy Lau, Jiang Ping, Chen Jiande, Tomas Krejci, and Radomir Docekai. Writers: Stephen Fung, Lo Yiu-Fai, Steve Ha, Cheung Chi-Kwong, and Wong Hiu-Chong. Cinematography: Shane Hurlbut. Editing: Angie Lam and Joel Cox.

Cast: Andy Lau, Jean Reno, Shu Qi, Zhang Jingchu, Yo Yang, Eric Tsang, Sha Yi, You Tian-Yi, Karel Dobry.


REVIEW: Le Chef (2012)

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2012, Gaumont/TF1 Films Production/A Contracorriente Films/uFilm/Backup Films/Canal+/Ciné+/Umedia

Daniel Cohen
Sidonie Dumas
Daniel Cohen
Olivier Dazat
Robert Fraisse
Géraldine Rétif

Jean Reno (Alexandre Lagarde)
Michaël Youn (Jacky Bonnot)
Raphaëlle Agogué (Béatrice)
Julien Boisselier (Stanislas Matter)
Salomé Stévenin (Amandine Lagarde)
Serge Larivière (Titi)
Issa Doumbia (Moussa)
Bun-Hay Mean (Chang)
Pierre Vernier (Paul Matter)
Santiago Segura (Juan)

A tale revolving around fine French dining vs. molecular dining brings out some funny performances by Jean Reno and Michaël Youn.

Jacky Bonnot is an aspiring chef who is constantly finding himself in one deadend job after another, resulting in his constantly getting fired. Of course, this causes problems with his girlfriend Béatrice, who is pregnant with the couple’s first child. When Jacky accepts a six-month contract as a painter for a nursing home, he sees the kitchen staff watching a show starring renowned chef Alexandre Lagarde. Jacky has long idolized Alexandre and has even based his own style of cooking based on him. What Jacky will soon learn that his idol has problems of his own.

Alexandre is in danger of losing his restaurant Cargo Lagarde to a rival chef who is more into the modern style of molecular dining. When Jacky accepts Alexandre’s offer to be an assistant, things don’t go as planned until the veteran realizes that his passion for cooking is slowly diminishing partly due to his lack of a relationship with his daughter Amandine. Meanwhile, when Béatrice learns about Jacky’s new job, she is upset that he lied and leaves him. As the two chefs find the determination and combine both fine dining with the new molecular style, they soon learn that there is one thing that can keep their dreams alive.

Many have seen Jean Reno more as a tough guy character who’s perhaps well known for action and drama films. The two Pink Panther films, where he played the partner of Steve Martin’s Inspector Clouseau, showed a softer and comedic side to Reno. Then again, I haven’t seen many of his French films, so it’s not exactly fair to compare with his films in the U.S. However, this French comedy shows Reno’s softer side to true form in his role of a master chef who must deal with two things: his lack of love for his daughter and the change in cuisine from traditional to molecular gastronomy. He is truly a man of tradition and will not conform to the new style, thus making it outdated in the eyes of his unscrupulous landlord, played with such cockiness by Julien Boisselier. Ironically, the landlord’s father, played by Pierre Vernier, sides with the traditions Lagarde makes.

Reno’s partner in crime is terrifically played by Michaël Youn. Many Jackie Chan fans will recognize Youn as the Paris art gallery owner in the 2004 adaptation of Around the World in 80 Days. Youn plays an aspiring chef who like Reno, believes in using more traditional methods yet amps it up in terms of flavors. However, he too has problems in terms of holding a job, living his dream of being a true chef, and trying to make his pregnant girlfriend happy.

However, the bond between both Lagarde and Jacky is truly quite interesting and expected. They start out bickering over their differences in flavor until Lagarde sees something in Jacky. In addition, it is clear that while molecular gastronomy is the new style of French haute cuisine, they come up with a brilliant idea to merge both the tradition and the modern. This leads to some funny sequences involving how to adapt gastronomy that starts with Jacky bringing in a Spanish-French “expert” in the field and yes the quotes are there for a reason. Then, it gets funnier when both go to their rival’s restaurant disguised as a Japanese couple. However, overall there is a lesson that goes with the story and it is clear that it may seem predictable but at the same times, still has some small twists that work well.

Le Chef is truly a fun French film about love and cuisine. Jean Reno and Michaël Youn truly mesh well together and even provide some laughs both together and separately when necessary. Bon appetit!