Sunday, 5 September 2010


The French Elvis (1960s)
1963 was the first of my three visits to Saint Tropez in the South of France during the 1960’s. It was there that I first heard of the rock singer Johnny Hallyday. To describe him, as a big star in France at that time is a real understatement, his picture was every where, his records playing on radio and on every jukebox in every café and bar. He was known as the French Elvis and did not retire from performing live until 2007. Since the 1980’s Hallyday has appeared in around a dozen movies, the best known in this country is probably L’Homme du Train (2002) in which he starred along side Jean Rochefort as the mysterious stranger Milan. A great film, very well acted by the two leads and well worth a look if you have never seen it.

Francis Costello
Cult Hong Kong movie director Johnnie To has now cast the great singing star in his latest action packed gangster thriller Vengeance (2009). Hallyday plays Francis Costello a chef and former hit man who travel's from Paris to Macau to avenge the contract killing of his daughters husband and her two children, his daughter Irene played by Sylvie Testud (Lourdes 2009) lays badly wounded in a hospital bed. Costello enlists the help of three professional gunmen to assist him on his violent quest.

This French and Hong Kong co-production is Johnnie To’s first English speaking movie. Filmed on location in Macau and Hong Kong it has the look of comic-book noir coupled with To’s normal western style modern HK gangster film. One of the best action directors working today and if your not familiar with his work may I suggest you sample some. My recommendation would be Mad Detective (2007) Exiled (2006) both of which I have rambled about previously.

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