In a lot of ways, French Connection II -- that's right, no "the" -- makes sense. The abrupt ending of the original French Connection had French bad guy Alain Charnier(Fernando Rey) escaping the cops despite dozens surrounding him in a New York warehouse, never to be found. Not a very satisfying ending to have our hero come up emptyhanded -- and not just that, we're merely told about it via title card right before the credits roll!
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Continue reading: X: The Man With X-Ray Eyes (1963) Review
Sounds far more interesting than it really is, and as the lead villain, Gene Hackman gets far too little screen time. Prime Cut is Lee Marvin's story, the mob enforcer sent from Chicago to collect half a million dollars in debts from Hackman's "Mary Ann," and decides to rescue poor Poppy (Sissy Spacek in her first speaking role) from Mary Ann's clutches.
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It's difficult to say whether or not Waking the Dead is his best film, since it's one of those movies which seeps into you as you view it, then stays with you in the days that follow. It's certainly his most challenging in terms of tone, structure, and theme, deliberately convoluted and fragmented, moving back and forth between two different, contrasting eras (the idealistic '70s and the aggressively opportunistic '80s) and the evolution of its deeply troubled central character, Fielding Pierce (Billy Crudup).
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