Gerard Depardieu flops as an action hero in ‘Viktor’
Wow, “Viktor” is stunningly bad.
Unfortunately, it’s not so bad that you can laugh your way through it. It’s just plain awful and absolutely no fun to watch.
Why? Well, let’s start with the idea of using Gérard Depardieu as an action hero. In his younger days, Depardieu had a burly charm, but the dude is 65 now and has to weigh 300 pounds. He looks ludicrous in action sequences. How ludicrous? He’s not even involved in the film’s climactic rescue scene ... what would they have him doing?
And it’s not like this is some great thespian practicing his craft — in one scene he seems to be looking to the side and reading (badly) off cue cards.
Then there’s Depardieu’s love interest, Elizabeth Hurley, who’s 17 years younger and still looks like Elizabeth Hurley. Yeah, that’s believable.
There are plenty of other problems beyond the leads, though. The story takes place in Russia, and writer-director Phillipe Martinez seems to be channeling the Moscow Tourist Bureau through most of the film, taking long shots of pristine architecture, lingering on green hills in Chechnya, drinking in lavish nightclubs.
Martinez opens and closes the film with traditional Russian dance performances and even brings in a Russian torch singer for a clumsy interlude. Beyond that, Martinez is working with mostly Russian actors speaking English with sense-defying accents and a leaden approach to line readings.
Depardieu plays Viktor, an art thief who’s just gotten out of a French jail. He’s returned to Moscow to avenge the recent killing of his son, a junkie crook who hardly seems worth avenging. To help him, he hooks up with an old gangster friend, Souliman (Eli Danker) who is now a ballet director (only in Russia would a ballet director be a tough guy).
Also lending a hand is Viktor’s former protege and lover, Alexandra (Hurley), who owns one of the aforementioned lavish nightclubs. She helps him track down the powerful jewel broker who had his son killed. Along the way, Viktor gets to torture a few bad guys, gets involved in a D-grade car chase and meets his son’s ex-girlfriend who’s pregnant with his grandchild. None of this is even slightly interesting or believable.
About the best thing that can be said about this film is that it ends and you get to stop watching it.
Running time: 97 minutes
“Viktor” (Not rated) Gerard Depardieu makes for a ludicrous action hero in this terrible film about an art thief out to avenge the murder of his son in Moscow. Truly awful. (97 minutes) GRADE: D-