#66 – Homme du sous-terre, Les (Underground Men, The)

(1988, Fr, 100 min) Dir Jack Vitesse. Cast Denis Lavant, Richard Bohringer, Dominique Pinon.

Night. As the people leave the metro and the lights go off, the Underground Men (led by Lavant) can emerge from the shadows. The premise might sound like the beginning of a horror film but Vitesse is a man enamoured by the cinéma du look of the time and the Underground Men are street punks more like Christopher Lambert in Subway (an obvious influence) than Hugh Armstrong in Death Line. The film follows this half-dozen strong crew operating in silence, raiding stores, stealing cars and generally wreaking havoc. Soon enough le flics (led by Bohringer) are giving chase and the film goes underground for a prolonged subterranean chase on motorbike, skateboard and foot that takes up the film’s final forty minutes through service tunnels, train lines, the sewers and the catacombs into skyscrapers and monuments but always back down again, coming off like a Mad Max 2 beneath the streets instead of in the desert. While it doesn’t all add up (Why are they stealing the cars? How have they not been noticed before?) and the characters personalities are non-existent, it’s slick and stylish enough to hook the viewer into leaving these questions for later.

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