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10/10
The rare charisma of Jean-Paul Belmondo
Renaldo Matlin19 December 2003
This has to be, without a doubt, one of Jean-Paul Belmondo's finest hours on screen.

I can only guess that "Le Professionnel" is the kind of movie that helped inspire future action-directors like Luc Besson, the way it mixes raw violence with quirky charm and last but not least: some memorable, often cartoonish characters: Robert Hossein is creepy as hell as police captain Rosen, and Belmondo ignites the screen with charm and charisma, so much that the scene with the helicopter will just tear your heart out.

This French little gem has thrills, action and even a few laughs, it includes such showstoppers as a car-chase in front of the Eiffel Tower (!) and even a wild west style duel in broad daylight on the streets of Paris. To top it all of the soundtrack includes one of Ennio Morricone's most famous movie themes!

In short: highly recommended for fans of European action movies.
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10/10
Joss Beaumont : spying and clouts
wzzxo28 August 2005
This is one of the best french action movie made in the 80's. This has nothing to do with a today's block buster from Hollywood, but the famous cues from Michel Audiard and the "Chi Mai" music from Ennio Morricone participate in creating an atmosphere that will keep you under suspense till the deadly end. There are some scenes that appear to be very old now (the one with the computer is quite comic today) and some others that you will remember for the text. To conclude : a tremendous script, Audiard's cues, Morricones's music, some handmade fights and a spectacular cars'pursuit in the most famous streets of Paris. And you still doesn't want to see this film ?
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10/10
Wonderful movie. You never get tired of watching it.
tmanushi4 March 2006
For me this is the best work of Bel Mondo. The story its just perfect, Joss (main character) uses the orders that the service gave to him to kill president N'jala even after he became friend to to his government. They betrayed him and left him to die in prison. The character of commissaire Rosen it's a perfect one. I have seen this movie maybe 20 times and every time I find something new. The speech in the end between the minister and capitaine Valeras it's my preferite moment: Is this call under surveillance? Of course Mr. Minister. The duel between Rosen and Joss in the best picture of Paris I have ever seen is also great. But the truth is every moment and every word is perfect. You don't have to miss this movie.
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10/10
Unbelievabel
JKettch28 April 2001
There are not many movies which impressed me as much as this one. Everything is perfect, actors, story and as the best) the music of Ennio Morricone..... One of the movies you can see as much as you want...you will never be bored! Forget modern/new action movies made in Hollywood. See this one. Today no one makes movies like this any more... Just unbelievabel and great!
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great music score!
vladi-317 June 1999
This is a fabulous movie. Probably the best work of Jean-Paul Belmondo ever. The musical score by Ennio Morricone is nothing short of fantastic. Too bad, that it is not easy to get in America.

Very melodic, beautiful orchestra score.
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10/10
Ass-kicking and espionage...oh ya, and BELMONDO!
pipeoxide6 June 2003
This is what action movies should be like...without pretension, without being overly philosophical...it's the raw simplicity and humor in "Le Professionnel" that make it oh-so-magnifique! Yes, Morricone's score is unforgettable. The characters...the heroes, antagonists...everything is so yummy and cozy. Belmondo exudes such irresistable charm that at the end I just hoped he'd RUN to the helicopter...but alas, this isnt a Hollywood production. Go Joss, woo! A definite must-see...and the car-chase was good, even in today's CGI standards. Oh, and the French ensemble cast is wonderful!

Yum, yum, yum...
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10/10
A french secret agent(Joss) is assigned to kill an african country president but during his travelling mission political situation in France has changed and Joss is betrayed by his government and he become p
torrball16 July 2000
This is the best movie that Jean Paul Belmondo performance the movie came to this country in 1982 and you can see it how france handle political situation.. is the same way that countries in the first world treated third world countries during that time and if you remember during the 80's cold war was in the very best successful, beside this the acting is good and Ennio Morricone music "Chi Mai" combined with the dramatical scenes gives to you a spectacular moment that you never are going to forget this is the kind of movie for have in collection but unfortunately is not released in DVD region#1 or VHS but if you have an opportunity to rent it in your local video store ""DO IT""
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10/10
Nothing short of a masterpiece!
Angeneer22 July 1999
This is a movie I can't help seeing again and again. The classic scenes are so many I don't have enough space to write them. Best of all, the very last scene (Joss exiting the castle). The movie is brilliantly complimented by Ennio Morricone's Chi Mai, a song you must have in your CD drawer. Don't you miss it!
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9/10
Starts out mediocre and winds up as a great classic.
Xander7724 July 2004
The tale of an assassin left behind, and his quest to get revenge has been done in many movies. For about 50 minutes, this version isn't in any way exceptional, and has nothing special going for it - in fact, at times, it is rather silly.

Then we get to a high noon duel in the streets of Paris - and you have to pause, and ask yourself - did I accidentally change channels and ran into a Sergeo Leone film? Because this scene is definitely good enough for "Once Upon a Time in the West"... accompanied as it is with Ennio Morricones score.

From this moment the film becomes faster, more intense and more interesting, until it culminates in the absolutely classic scene of Belmondo walking away towards the helicopter, with "Chi Mai" (bet you heard the tune before, and had no idea where it's from) accompanying him...
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10/10
Great film!
old_apprentise7 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Over the past few years I have been watching Hollywood action films because there was nothing much else to see. Now I am 16 years old and saw this incredible film 2 months ago. I must say that this film is much better than the silly Hollywood "action movies". Compared to the french films from the 80-s they look stupid and funny. I have seen 10-12 French films, but this one is maybe the best of them. It is an action film, but it is not the action that impressed me. The whole story is perfect. The film has no "Happy End" unlike the Hollywood blockbusters. When the credits began to come out, I said "And he died? Like that?!" My mother said "This is French Cinema". The sad ending makes the film much stronger and it is difficult to forget what it was all about. The Music composed by Ennio Morricone is one of a kind. Chi Mai is always in my play list, I hear it every day. The whole film is just incredible. It's too bad, that couple Friends of mine don't agree, that this movie is better than the Hollywood ones. They haven't yet seen a french film to talk like that. HIGHLY RECOMMENTED
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6/10
Thrilling Jean-Paul Belmondo film , full of frantic action , intrigue , twists and turns
ma-cortes23 September 2012
This spy movie packs thrills , emotion , exciting action scenes , good performances , spectacular car chases, and a moving finale . Belmondo steals the show , as he runs , bound and leaps ; he jumps over buildings , cars and executes his own stunts . It concerns a French secret agent named Joss Baumont (Jean Paul Belmondo) is sent to one of the African countries to murder president Njala . However, at the last moment the political climate turns and his superiors decide to sell him to the new African regime ; as the French secret service deals with the African authorities , Joss is double-crossed and condemned to a long-term imprisonment , two years of hard labor . After a daring getaway he goes back to his country and deliberately communicates his previous bosses of his presence promising them to kill Njala (Pierre Saintoins) who has just arrived in France with the official visit . And so begins the manhunt , including Le Ministre (Jean Desailly) , Chief of Police, and Military Adviser . Belmondo being relentlessly chased by his former superiors and a tough agent (Robert Hossein) , while he attempts to see his wife (Elisabeth Margoli) and lover (Cyrielle Clair) .

This is an intriguing film that contains noisy action , suspense , thrills , car chases and may other things . Belmondo sports an inimitable smile while shots and kills ; as usual he combines action with comic episodes . The highlights result to be a dueling filmed in Western-showdown style between Belmondo and Robert Hossein , furthermore a suspenseful ending . Enjoyable acting by main star names , Jean Paul Belmondo and Robert Hossein . Belmondo steals the spectacle , as usual at the time , he runs , bound and leaps ; Belmondo makes as his own stunts as well as Jackie Chan , he jumps over buildings, climbs walls , drives rapidly automobiles , including those of the car chase on The Trocadero Plaza . Belmondo asked his father Paul Belmondo to help with the authorizations needed to perform the famous car chase scene . Jean-Paul always performed all the stunts himself but ceased to do so after the accident during the filming of ¨Hold Up¨(1985) . Strong and agreeable secondary cast such as Jean Desailly , Cyrielle Clair and Elisabeth Margoni , among others . Interesting and thrilling screenplay by the prestigious Michael and Jacques Audiard based on a novel by Patrick Alexander . Colorful cinematography by Henri Decae , considered to be one of the best French cameramen , shot on location in Camargue, Bouches-du-Rhône, France (Africa scenes) and Château De Ferrières, Ferrières, Seine-et-Marne, France . Wonderful musical score by the classic Ennio Morricone , including emotive leitmotif . Released years before this film, Ennio Morricone's musical theme "Chi Mai" was never intended to be used for cinema. After hearing it on the radio however, Jean-Paul Belmondo was so impressed that he suggested it should be put into the soundtrack of his film. Ultimately, the record of this musical score was not only more successful than its initial release but came to be one of Morricone's bestselling work .

The picture was successful at box office , ranking 4th highest grossing movie of its year in Franc e. Broke the 300,000 admissions mark in Paris ; a record at the time . The motion picture was well directed by Georges Lautner . He was an expert on comedy and action genre , and realized various vehicles for famous and tough French actors ,such as Alain Delon (Twisted detective , Les Seins De Glace), Michael Constantin (These was once a cop , Man in the trunk , Take it easy is a waltz) and of course, Jean Paul Belmondo (Cop or hood , Le Guignolo , Joyeuses Paques , Le Professional) . Rating : 6 , acceptable film for Jean Paul Belmondo fans and action aficionados .
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9/10
True Classic
ilyaeck-988-41628524 August 2012
What should have been just another spy/revenge B-movie ends up being one of the most memorable French films in my book. Sure, similar modern thrillers from Hollywood (e.g., Bourne franchise) may be more sophisticated plots, more intense chase scenes, camera angles, elaborated combat but ... who cares? A few months later, I can barely remember what those movies were about, let alone specific scenes. And yet, I just cannot get enough of Belmondo as The Professional. This movie hits me emotionally again and again, no matter how many times I watch it. It's charming, often funny, and ultimately, profoundly sad. If you've never heard of Belmondo, who by the way, is one of French cinema's national treasures, this is a great one to start with. A true classic!
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9/10
Audiard's exquisite irreverence, Belmondo's flamboyant charisma and Morricone's divine score ...
ElMaruecan8217 December 2011
A hit-man, a helicopter, an unforgettable climactic sequence, a, thriller, a music … It's sad that 90% of movie fans now remember "The Professional" as a great action/thriller film made by a French director named … Luc Besson, and featuring the acting debut of Natalie Portman, and Jean Reno as a professional hit-man protecting her from the claws of a demented cop played by Gary Oldman.

I guess EVERYONE in America associates THIS title with THIS film, while in France, and probably in Europe, when people think of "The Professional", there's a beautiful melody instantly resonating in their mind, a penetrating score that conveys the fatality hanging over the shoulders of one of the greatest antiheroes of French Cinema: Joss Beaumont, played by Jean-Paul Belmondo in his career's most defining role, and the notes I'm thinking of while writing these lines are certainly some of the greatest that ever enriched Cinema's musical memories, a sound made by the great Ennio Morricone. If you haven't seen the film and if you're unfamiliar with the music, I allow you to suspend the reading of this review, because it's so pointless compared to the beauty of "The Professional"'s score. And I implore you to go listen to it, before getting back to this useless assemblage of words.

What is "The Professional", or who is he? I don't know if this really matters if you don't plan to watch the film. It's so simplistic in its premise that it can be compared to anything made before or after, like "The Day of the Jackal" or even the 1994's "Professional" after all: you have your traditional cat-and-mouse chase between a killer with a sense of honor, and the cops and politicians whose ambiguous motives make you inevitably root for their target. Manipulation? No, the film is simply above these considerations, when you watch it; you understand that it doesn't have no purpose else than to captivate you until a rewarding confrontation. It still has an average 80's B-movie feel, some campy acting, some visual and sound effects that need to be reconsidered, the blood looks like red paint, in fact, the form is as simplistic as the content.

And the treatment toward women is exquisitely misogynistic in the purest tradition of James Bond films where even in the most honorable woman, there's something slutty waiting for the magnetic Belmondo, to exude itself, all the opportunities to expose some nude breasts or curvy legs are good, but for some reason, it suits the spirit of a film that doesn't embarrass itself with political correctness: these were other days where movies obeyed to some formulas that didn't depend on the public's reaction. Indeed, the script written by Michel Audiard, one of the most popular French writers, is a challenge for moral sensitivity, since nobody's spared : Africans, politicians, women, cops, there's a cloud of badness contaminating the air and spilling over all the characters, and in this environment where each works for his or her interest, all we can do is to root for the man who follows his instinct, his sense of duty, his honor.

Joss Beaumont is the man who was paid to kill the President of a fictional African country, and was literally sold by his government. After two years, he's back to France, and determined to finish his job, even if the President became a friend of France. People are so banally corrupted that the very notion of hero and villain becomes pointless. There's a great line coming from the African head of state who tells Joss that 'it took France two revolutions and five republics to become a very debatable form of democracy, and he's supposed to do that in years?' During the disenchanted 70's when France was stricken by an economical crisis, the infamous "Giscard presidency", and when the public was disillusioned with the power of law, an icon had to incarnate this moral ambiguity between what is legal and is legitimate. Since his debuts with Melville, Belmondo was born to play likable outlaws and needless to say that "The Professional" was tailor-made for him.

The movie has reached such an iconic status in France that it might catch off-guard some younger or foreign audience, because at first sight, there's something almost deliberately poor in the way it's handled until the cat-and-mouse aspect gradually turns more into a sort of chess game where Beaumont is so well-trained that he becomes a real mastermind, using the greatest tricks he learned, he even refers to chess by using the 'playing the whites' strategy: the attack. And naturally, there's always this feeling of everyone trying to anticipate the moves of the other, to which person he'll get, and what he'll do next. Beaumont's goal is clear: assassinating the President, and for cops: stopping Beaumont, by any means and for that job: there's the unflappable face of Robert Hossein, as Rosen, the man who made it personal: so calm, so scary that he's the perfect antagonist to the flamboyant and charismatic Beaumont.

To conclude, whatever could be perceived as flaws is so archetypal of a certain breed of French cinema that it takes a sort of gourmet pleasure to appreciate it, especially today when, for the sake of realism, the macho man has turned into a sexual beast and when characters are all bland and particularly unlikable. Interestingly, one of the new generations actors who was inspired by Belmondo is Jean Dujardin and you can see how he inherited his mannerisms, this mix of charisma and flamboyance. There are some times where nothing can beat old-school cinema, because it was so damn serious but never took itself seriously.

And the last five minutes are so breathtaking, that whatever flaws you may have pointed out, it totally redeems the film, especially thanks to the iconic score of Ennio Morricone. Simply put, "The Professional" is one of the best French films!
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7/10
The Good, The Bad, and the Silly
zillion2922 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This movie irked me for the first 45 minutes or so. The plot it seriously flimsy, the hero is a middle aged droopy guy who looks more like a florist than an asskicker, and it reeks of 80s eurocheese. What's more, Beaumont (aside from being a droopy nebbish in a Member's Only pleather jacket) is a cad who's stringing along his wife and one of his hot coworkers. But then someone flips a switch and the movie gets much more interesting. This movie must have seriously inspired Luc Besson and the newer crop of French filmmakers - especially the showdown with Rosen and the fact that Valera has a Goldorak robot and Leiji Matsumoto manga on the walls of his flat. This had to be the inspiration for Jean Reno's character in Wasabi. I still don't buy Belmondo as someone chicks would want to have sex with, but his haymaker punches and karate kicks were quite amusing. Who else would put a searing-hot just-fired Magnum .44 in their trousers after blowing someone away?
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9/10
Profoundly Emotional
constantine1983-124 November 2005
I found the movie profoundly emotional. The side story with the wife and the lover gets an insight into Jean Paul Belmondo's character's personality. It is a bit far fetched that his character would go to such lengths to accomplish what he accomplished in the end, however, you spend so much time in prison for standing by your country and see how you will react. I think that the suspension of disbelief in this movie is not too hard. The ending is also excellent. When the movie ends you realize how much you felt for the main character. The soundtrack is also excellent and it adds to the overall emotionality of the movie.
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7/10
Morricone is the hero of this picture .....
PimpinAinttEasy24 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
One of the rare instances when the music composer is the hero. This is Morricone's film. his famous tune "Chi Mai" is played in many scenes and it lifts many ordinary ones to another level.

On the surface, the film is like a tongue in cheek revenge drama. Belmondo plays a French Rambo who is sent to an African nation to assassinate its leader. But he is hung out to dry by the French intelligence services and is jailed following a public trial. After a dramatic escape from an African slave camp, Belmondo returns to France to take revenge on the people who betrayed him.

But if you look closely, the film is an odd mix of many genres. It is not just an action film. Sure, there is a spaghetti western style shoot out, a pulsating car chase and some seriously violent action. The women are all objects of sex who want to sleep with Belmondo or get coffee for the superiors. But it is also a satire about the incompetence of French intelligence agencies and how the leaders of first world countries and third world countries are in bed with each other. At one point, a French intelligence agent remarks irritably about a countryside mansion (where an African leader and his prostitute are residing) - "Why are we deploying such a large police force to protect this whorehouse?"

The gritty and violent beginning in Africa, is at odds with Belmondo's adventures in France. It is not a bad film. I'm sure there is a context which I don't really get because I'm no expert on French politics and foreign policy.

Belmondo is awesome. He must have been pretty old when he made this, but he was really pumped up. The women are all nice eye candy. There is even a lesbian torturer who tries to move in on Belmondo's wife only to get a karate chop on her neck.

But like I said at the beginning, the real hero of this film is good old Ennio.
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10/10
le croissant, c'est pour mon ami...
basje91 July 2002
Some good old violence, car chasing and the no nonsense guy Josselin Beaumont make this easily to understand movie a typical french product which remind you of the days that they made "good movies". I like the acting of Belmondo, his leather jacket and the sound when he smashes or kicks someone in the face. The plot is worth nothing, but who cares when you're only watching it for the environment and the nonchalance behaviour of Joss.
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8/10
Too bad they don't make them anymore
GLanoue10 February 2011
A tailor-made vehicle for Belmondo, out-Burting Burt Reynolds in this action flick with non-stop action. The whole thing is laughable thirty years later because we are used to Bourne Identities coming out of our fannies, but this is how they made films before CGI and mega budgets: a charming star, an excellent ensemble cast, well-motivated action, and a relatively tight script. Okay, it's cheesy by modern standards, but one must remember French politics re. Africa (remember Bokassa? The French do) and mercenaries. It makes more sense to the French, and certainly didn't export well. But you can nonetheless see why Belmondo could get away with a certain wink at the camera Burt smarminess, because he always played it with a touch of comedy, and he was way more charming than Burt ever was. ALthough you can read this film as played for laughs, at the time it's plot was believable, and the cold-hearted treatment of citizens by government forces is certainly more than believable to Europeans. Watch it and enjoy. How many low budget action films stand up 30 years later? This one does, and the subtitling is pretty good.
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9/10
Really good thriller.
Sash503431 January 2011
The plot is pretty typical by now. A spy is betrayed by his country and now seeks revenge. We've all seen this stuff before. However, the way this movie is executed is fantastic. This has pretty much everything a spy flick needs. It's got a great lead actor, hot French women, political intrigue, and a car chase scene. It also has a great soundtrack by Ennio Morricone. Fans of Belmondo should be pleased. I've never seen his other movies but he's definitely an entertaining actor. Oddly enough, he does physical comedy really well. Action movie fans should also be pleased. Watching Belmondo beat people up never gets old. I wouldn't be surprised if The Bourne Identity took some ideas from this movie.
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5/10
OK Action Movie
Pro Jury22 July 2000
A French action movie with a little bit of everything an action movie should have. It certainly holds the interest of the viewer and the musical score is exceptional.

Unfortunately, the plot is a bit far fetched -- not the concept of the French government being as blood-thirsty and unethical as the US government, but instead it is far fetched on a more personal level.

It is painfully obvious that real life people would not go through such extended tedious motions to accomplish simple objectives. The overall tone seemed to dry to sustain unlikely spy-man antics.

Not being French, I did not really see how the wife + girlfriend element added to the story.

Like THE KILLER, the biggest downer is in the last few seconds of the movie.
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7/10
THE PROFESSIONAL (Georges Lautner, 1981) ***
Bunuel19769 February 2008
Despite being one of Jean-Paul Belmondo's most popular latter-day vehicles, I have to admit outright that I wasn't really expecting this one (which has been a number of times on late-night Italian TV) to be quite the riveting actioner it turned out to be! The star was pushing fifty by this time, with his famous looks already starting to fade (actually, I'd never watched a film of his following the actor's 1960s and 1970s heyday up till now!) – but, to get an inkling of what THE PROFESSIONAL is like, think of a Charles Bronson vehicle from this same era (with the protagonist proving virtually unstoppable and outwitting his pursuers at every turn)…only this is a relatively more polished product, with an eye less on exploitation than political maneuvering.

The star is a secret agent sent on a mission to assassinate an African tyrant: eventually, the political climate changes and his superiors decide to sell him to the new African regime; escaping after two years of hard labor, he goes back to his homeland – just in time for a state visit from his previous target – letting his agency in on the fact that he intends to accomplish his initial mission regardless! And so starts the manhunt – with Minister, Chief of Police, Military Adviser (who happens to be Belmondo's ex-tutor), and ruthless Special Squad official all involved. Several women also end up as pawns in the dangerous chess game – including Belmondo's wife, his mistress (a code-breaker at the agency), and even the African President's choice hooker!

As I said, the film is action-packed (including a car chase supervised by Remy Julienne and a surprising Western-style showdown between Belmondo and Robert Hossein, the sadistic leader of the Special Squad) yet thoughtful, with numerous ingenious plot twists and a delicious finale (with the various officials, not wanting to lose face after Belmondo's target has been 'terminated', arguing over how they should best tackle the matter – which is then, somewhat inevitably, followed by a downbeat 'curtain'). Driving the film along is an overpoweringly melancholic main theme which, incidentally, is one of master composer Ennio Morricone's most popular works; curiously enough, the theatrical trailer for THE PROFESSIONAL features music from another Morricone-scored movie, INVESTIGATION OF A CITIZEN ABOVE SUSPICION (1970)!

Anyhow, a rich vein of tongue-in-cheek humor helps, too (though this is never allowed to take the upper hand): the best line is when Belmondo abducts a member of the Special Squad (with whom he has various run-ins throughout the film) in order to infiltrate the African leader's heavily-guarded quarters, a country-side château, and he tells him "Act stupid as usual" so as not to draw attention to themselves; interestingly, co-screenwriter Michel Audiard disliked the finished film and, subsequently, disowned it! Unfortunately, the version I watched (via a French Box Set comprising three of the star's 1980s thrillers) was dubbed in English – as the original language, while available, carried no subtitles! I now look forward to these other two films, though I can't really anticipate whether they'll be of comparable quality...
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7/10
Morricone is the real hero .....
PimpinAinttEasy28 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
One of the rare instances when the music composer is the hero. This is Morricone's film. His famous tune "chi mai" is played throughout in many scenes and it lifts many ordinary parts to another level.

On the surface, the film is like a tongue in cheek revenge drama. BELMONDO plays a French Rambo who is sent to an African nation to assassinate its leader. But he is hung out to dry by the french intelligence services and is jailed following a public trial. After a dramatic escape from an African slave camp, BELMONDO returns to France to take revenge on the people who betrayed him.

If you look closely, the film is an odd mix of many genres. It is not just an action film. sure, there is a spaghetti western style shoot out, a pulsating car chase and some seriously violent action. The women are all objects of sex who want to sleep with BELMONDO or get coffee for the superiors. But it is also a satire about the ridiculousness and incompetence of French intelligence agencies and how the leaders of first world countries and third world countries are in bed with each other. At one point, a French intelligence agent remarks irritably about a countryside mansion (where an African leader and his prostitute are residing) - "why are we deploying such a large police force to protect this whorehouse?"

The gritty and violent beginning in Africa, seemed at odds with the BELMONDO's adventures in France.

It is not a bad film. I'm sure there is a context which i don't really get because i'm no expert on French politics and foreign policy.

BELMONDO is awesome. He must have been pretty old when he made this, but he was really pumped up. The women are all nice eye candy. There is even a lesbian torturer who tries to move in on BELMONDO's wife only to get a karate chop on her neck.

But like i said at the beginning, the real hero is Morricone.
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9/10
The perfect action movie!
Coventry14 September 2016
I usually don't reveal my final judgment of the movie straight away in the review's subject line, but in the case of "Le Professionnel" I just felt like I had to tell it like it is… This is, simply put and without exaggerating, the perfect popcorn-entertainment action/thriller, and it catapulted itself straight towards a high position in my list of personal favorite movies of all times! "Le Professionnel" has a terrific screenplay with wonderfully deranged characters and plentiful of ultimately exciting action sequences. It also features the best J-P Belmondo performance of his career, by far, and stellar support from the entire cast surrounding him. And then of course there's the truly phenomenal musical score of Ennio Morricone… The astounding theme song "Chi Mai" perhaps wasn't originally composed for this particular film (it appeared first in the obscure art-film "Maddalena" in 1971) but it's forever unified with "Le Professionnel", and thanks to its immense commercial success the song also became one of the biggest hits in Morricone's inexhaustible repertoire!

The basic plot of "Le Professionnel" is simple but very effective and compelling. Josselin "Joss" Beaumont is a highly trained French special agent who gets send to an unspecific African country on a secret mission to assassinate the corrupt self-elected President N'Jala. By the time his plane lands, however, the president has suddenly become a friend of the French nation and Beaumont's unscrupulous government sacrifices him. Beaumont is imprisoned under inhuman circumstances, but after two long years he makes a daring escape and returns to France around the same time President N'Jala makes an official state visit. Once home, he joyously informs his former superiors that he will fulfill his assignment and thus, knowing Beaumont's skills and imaginative operating methods, the secret service mobilizes their toughest agents to protect the president and to hunt down Beaumont. "Le Professionnel" is chock- full of imaginative sequences that are simultaneously action-packed, comical and intensely built up towards! For example, in order to reach apartment of his wife that is heavily guarded by several policemen, Beaumont creates a diversion by hooking up with a group of homeless men and run amok in front of the apartment. Another example is how he always toys around with the media and stages cat- and-mouse games with the best agents on the force. The ultimate highlight is of course the virulent car chase through the narrow Parisian streets and even underneath the Eifel Tower! This scene becomes even more perplexing when you realize that Belmondo always performs his own stunts. The film also has the most diverse and eccentric supportive characters walking around. How about the vicious & cruel lesbian agent who nearly violates Joss' wife whilst interrogating her? Or the wicked inspector Farges who obsessively tracks down Joss because he repeatedly humiliated him. The most fascinating character, next to Joss Beaumont of course, is undoubtedly the Commissioner Rosen, as depicted here by the severely underrated Robert Hossein. Rosen is a merciless, stoic and persistent copper. He's the complete opposite of Beaumont, which makes their confrontations uncomfortable and suspenseful for the viewer to look at. Especially their final confrontation is sheer genius and qualifies as the absolute best western scene in a non- western movie! A must-see…
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8/10
Shouldn't really work today, but oddly it does
jacob-noergaard26 August 2016
Look at this movie with young and fresh eyes, and it shouldn't work.

Look at it with older eyes (I'm 42) and it shouldn't work either. I mean, so much has happened in over 25 years! But somehow magic is involved, and the movie works. There is something to be said about french cinema from the 60s/70s/80s. Timeless classics were made.

I might view this with rosy eyes since it's from my youth. But I actually saw it in my youth and didn't think much about it. Having re-viewed it a few times in my older years, I start to notice the details of the story, the beauty of the acting and the actors of the era. But while the story as such is fine, what really ties the movie together is the sound track. Ennio Morricone did something extraordinary here. The notedly beautiful "Chi May" (italian for "whatever") may not be from 1981 (it was done years before), but here it really finds its home. Rarely does music from a sound track of a relatively unknown movie induce such feelings almost 25 years later.

And with that said, I can only say this: If you enjoy real, old school cinema, this should really be on your "movie bucket list".
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7/10
Belmondo 007 quasi comedy
peru1-595-63010622 February 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Filmed in 1981 when Belmondo was 48 this is a quirky movie that was meant to be comedy/serious using the star drawing power of Belmondo.

The ending was a surprise as through out the movie you know Belmondo is going to prevail. But some how the ending is a gimmick that works and you rethink the serious basis of this story.

I have little doubt the French secret service orchestrated lots of power brokering in Africa--whether they went as far as assassinations--??-possibly.

Other than that fact this movie is totally unbelievable but you don't mind it as you witness Belmondo waltz around impossible roadblocks and apparently tie up the entire French security system in knots. Yes, it is pretty silly.

This movie leaves you with an odd mix of emotions. Yes, it is idiotic nonsense but still..... There is also a time warp element, a lot of the references to Africa would be PC taboo today.

Over all it deserves about a 6.5 but it is so different I gave it a 7.

I hope I offend no one but Belmondo sure must have led a dissipated life style to look like he does. Why do the French make sex symbols out of less than handsome actors?..Depardieu--Yves Montand etc...bizarre.

RECOMMEND
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