In some ways, the timing of my selection for reviewing the Mesrine duology for our streaming feature is a little poignant. I am writing this the day after the Dorner standoff at the cabin in San Bernardino County; and I cannot help but find and mark some striking similarities between the two cases. The two fugitives both have devotees that view their cases with empathy, and both met (allegedly) similar ends at the hands of an overeager group of law enforcement officials. Except in this case, there’s no crispy result for old Jacques Mesrine.
Jacques Mesrine is not a very nice man. He is aggressive, murderous, and determined, which, in turn, makes him one of the most interesting figures in history. One of the most infamous criminals in France, the biopic focusing on his escapades was so epic and badass that they had no choice but split them into two films – kind of like Kill Bill, and just as good (if not better). Gritty, suppurating, and uncompromising, coupled with a phenomenal performance from Vincent Cassel, Killer Instinct is a movie not to be ignored.
I’ve aspired to see these movies for some time now. From what I had previously read, many reviewers seem to make a terrible and erroneous comparison with Scarface. The truth is that Killer Instinct is far more callous and realistic than the Al Pacino snowfest that glorified those boring coke heads. If comparisons be made, the film has more in common with titles like Chopper, The Postcard Bandit, Prison Break, or Goodfellas – with a metric fuck ton of violence alongside the very strong cultural essence of France as well.