Dir: Jan Kounen
Star: Tchéky Karyo, Vincent Cassel, Monica Bellucci, Antoine Basler
Cert / Year: 18 - R / 1997
Format: DVD R0

The film follows charismatic and notorious bank robber Yann Le Pantrec aka; Dobermann, (Vincent Cassel) his deaf girlfriend Nat (the gypsy), (Monica Bellucci) and his gang as they endeavour to pull off another of their daring multiple bank robberies. The Police having been unsuccessful in apprehending Dobermann and his gang in the act are determined to catch them once and for all. The police are keeping a watchful eye on Dobermann's gang which comprises "The Abbott", (Dominique Bettenfeld) "Mosquito" (Antoine Basler) and "Pitbull" (Chick Ortega) whilst they enjoy a little R & R before their next heist. Once Dobermann arrives however, Paris begins to experience a series of bank robberies forcing the police to put all of their available men onto them. Leaving the coast reasonably clear for Dobermann to do his thing. Unfortunately one of the cops, a decidedly nasty piece of work called Christini Tchéky Karyo likened by his peers to the "SS" has a bit of an obsession with Dobermann and seeing through Dobermann's distraction of "ghost jobs" he know's just how to get to big bad Dob.

Based upon the successful 80's "pulp fiction novels" of the same name by the film's writer Joël Houssin, Dobermann has a simple plot which is refreshingly simplistic as it is basically a "cops and robbers" movie. The film's primary character is a bit of an anti-hero really and quite an anarchist as he constantly pursues a bigger adventure as well as a more lucrative heist. Assisting Dobermann on his crusade is his psychotic deaf girlfriend Nat the gypsy alluringly played by Monica Bellucci. Mosquito the gum chewing sex maniac, amusingly played by Antoine Basler. The Abbott, definately not you average priest, shotgun totingly played by Dominique Bettenfeld . Finally there is the drugged up barrel of a man with a love of dogs who calls himself "Pitbull" who is furtively played by Chick Ortega. This strange ensemble of criminals manage to rob banks with a comedic savagery and ruthless intent that would not be out of place in an Evil Dead movie. Whilst incorporating such wanton mayhem, destruction, gun-play and drug use that you would swear blind that you were watching a Quentin Tarantino movie.

Director Jan Kounen has done an oustanding job on transferring this character to the screen and at times the movie plays like a pulp novel and some of the photography is very in your face. The general style and feel of the film lends the substance for comparison to Tarantino and it is over the top at times, in fact bordering on excessive truth be told. And yet the film is a compelling watch possibly because your too scared to turn away from it as it kicks your sub-concious firmly up the rear end. Primarily Dobermann is significantly detached from the real world and frequently seems quite surreal but thrusts a stark 3-D realism at you that is difficult to ignore. Good cinematography and special effects with plenty of explosions including a holy hand grenade and a mean looking custom Magnum .357. In addition to that you also get some excellent chase sequences and a little "slapstick" action, the film delivers just what you would expect and more all backed by a completely mad soundtrack which includes "The Prodigy".

Tchéky Karyo is unnervingly good as the rabid and deranged cop Christini single mindedly pursuing Dobermann and his gang with a furious obsession. At times during the movie it gets very hard to tell who is really the bad guy in the story as you watch Christini torture a 15 year old drug dealer, give a baby a hand grenade and pistol whip a young woman in front of her family. Not to mention emasculating an incontinent druggie by use of his pistol and clever marksmanship. Monica Bellucci ( Bram Stoker's Dracula) simply oozes sex appeal all through the film even during the incident with the hand held "Maverick" missle launcher and despite not saying anything, other than sign language she is a welcome distraction. The aggressive and sometimes bizarre interplay between the members of Dobermann's gang occasionally makes Mr. White and the boys in Reservoir Dogs look pretty tame by comparison.

Dobermann is packed with non stop action, devastating firepower and adrenaline pumping visuals all packed in by a stunning cast and some fantastic direction. Like with Battle Royale, if you are disturbed or offended by excessive violence then this is not the film for you. Although much of the violence is quite graphic and often excessive it doesn't give any half measures but it does assist beautifully with the flow of the film by not dwelling on violence as the motivation of the story. On the one hand this film is seriously messed up and is not one to watch while you are drunk because it will mess you up. But on the other hand it is a remarkable and quite outstanding piece of cinema which simply mind blowing. The hilarious CGI title sequence is a good indication of what you are about to see.


Mosquito:"It must be Christmas!"

The Abbot:"I can almost smell the pine!"

Rating: 4 out of 5

Picture 16:9 Sharp and Crisp image
Audio Dolby Surround Very good but only surround.
Features Theatrical Trailer
Photo Gallery
Cast Filmographies
Review of the movie
Verdict Pretty good transfer but burned on subtitles and the lack of a dubbing track coupled with a general lack of extras is a let down.

Rating: 1 out of 5

Reviewed by Logan Back Top Home