The first Largo Winch film was lauded as being a breath of fresh air amongst the typical Hollywood, all-out action movies. In this respect then, The Burma Conspiracy was a disappointment. The film demonstrates more clichés than the family portrait of a particular Man City footballer. We have the solemnly sexy, suited antagonist (Sharon Stone), the eastern European billionaire (Dmitri Nazarov), and the bumbling sidekick providing the comic relief (Nicolas Vaude), though in this instance, he looks like he’d be better suited living in The Shire. The plot itself is also very worn: After announcing his intention to sell his business to fund a charity, Largo Winch (Tomer Sisley) is accused of crimes against humanity. It sounds like more sabotage, backstabbing, and conspiracy than Bond, Hunt, and Bourne, combined.
The most distracting aspect of this film was the multitude of languages that were used throughout. There were enough quick changes between English, French, and Burmese to make an award show host jealous. And the incessant use of subtitles provided a multi-sensory experience that I’d really rather avoid.
The movie itself is chronologically baffling, jumping from ‘three years earlier’ to ‘three years later’ with nothing more than a fleeting subtitle to explain. More popular titles have dealt with this issue in much better ways: J. Edgar uses different camera filters to indicate the date, and in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, the presence of Gary Oldman’s glasses let us know what was going on. These useful tricks are apparently rather useful to stop the simple-minded (i.e. me) from getting confused.
On the plus side, the movie contains some refreshing direction from Jérôme Salle, and whilst the script may appear a little laboured in places, the action sequences serve as a saving grace. There are definitely some innovative camera shots during the fight scenes, and the car chase near the beginning is certainly spectacular. My highlight however has to be the most ridiculous skydiving scene since The A-Team. Credit where credit is due though: this scene was actually shot in free fall!
Whilst this film may be a enjoyable little watch on a Saturday night if there’s nothing on TV, when it comes to European comic book adaptations, leave it to Tintin.