22 Bullets review

A bunch of clichés does not an enjoyable gangster movie make...

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Like all self-respecting gangsters, Marseilles-based Charly Matteï (Jean Reno) has only one weakness – his family.

You’ll gather this from the Werther’s Original-style opening to this Gallic thriller, in which an adorable blonde child stares lovingly into granny’s wrinkled eyes.

Alas, Matteï’s idyllic retirement is disrupted by a flurry of bullets that leave him for dead. Only he doesn’t die, he goes on a rampage instead.

Richard Berry directs with slick proficiency and Reno is good at grabbing moments of whimsy (“I had a dog once. He was an alcoholic”), but neither can sew together the patchwork of gangster-flick clichés posing as a script.

Without a compelling plot to hold our attention, this only amounts to an impressively bloody bullet-a-thon: 22 seems a very conservative estimate…