One of the movies I wanted to see at the 2011 installment of ActionFest was some French actioner called LARGO WINCH. The description seemed cool and I dug the sound of the movie's pedigree – it's based on a series of novels I'd never heard of that later inspired an ongoing run of wildly popular comic books. That was all I knew but its showtimes conflicted with other entries higher on my list and we never got around to seeing it.
Fast forward to April 2012 and my daughter and I are browsing the flicks at a Redbox outside our grocery store. She's got her heart set on seeing either some animated Barbie mermaid movie or the latest installment in the Alvin and the Chipmunks "franchise". I'm a good dad so I'm game for some playtime and CHIPWRECKED (luckily, the Barbie mermaid flick is checked out) but something else on the Redbox poster catches my eye.
Upon closer inspection it's THE HEIR APPARENT: LARGO WINCH, a lame expansion of the title that's probably less appealing to the masses than if they'd just left it called LARGO WINCH. The artwork on the poster sorta sucks and the only reason my eye is drawn to it is because of my familiarity with the name.
Largo (Tomer Sisley) is the secret, adoptive son of Nerio Winch (Miki Manojlovic), a powerful billionaire who is murdered in the film's early going. Financed and mentored by his father, Largo is pulled from his world as a thrill-seeking adventurer (whose exploits lead him into fights, beds and jail cells) and thrust into the role of running the powerful W Corporation, of which he now controls majority share. More interested with flushing out his father's killer than running shareholder meetings, the charismatic and resourceful Largo fights hostile takeover bids and even more hostile assassination attempts while relying on board members, security personnel, a butler, driver/bodyguard, secretary and others who may or may not be what they seem.
The flick effortlessly globe-hops and time jumps so that we may see how Largo, the infant adopted from the orphanage, grew into Largo, the smart, self-assured billionaire who is good with a knife, his fists and the ladies. Ostensibly an origin flick, THE HEIR APPARENT never bores, even with all its talk of financial intrigue, takeovers and double (triple?) crosses. You can tell there's more to the backstory, but director/co-screenwriter Jerome Salle wisely keeps things moving at a rapid pace (it clocks in at an easy-to-digest 108 minutes) and I never felt the flick dragging.
Sure, some of the plot twists will be familiar to, well, anybody who has seen a thriller or two over the last thirty years and I kept waiting for a really outrageous and standout action sequence to push it over the top (I keep hearing the French make all the best action pics these days). But as somebody who still loves the globe-trotting James Bond formula after all these years, THE HEIR APPARENT: LARGO WINCH is just the kind of semi-big action series I could get behind. I'm already looking forward to checking out the sequel, THE BURMA CONSPIRACY.
THE HEIR APPARENT: LARGO WINCH is available on DVD and InstantView from Amazon.
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