The French Connection
The French Connection (1971) is a gritty New York crime movie which centers on some city narc cops in pursuit of the a big bust. They don’t want to take down the local small time street dealers or the middlemen, they want the supplier. The “frog” as they refer to him, is a Frenchman who is in town to unload half a million dollars in heroin. They are hot on his trail and lots of action happens as a result.
William Friedkin, who would go on to direct the Exorcist the following year, was behind the camera for this one. The abrupt ending to the movie perfectly set up the sequel which would come out four years later. I give this movie 88/100 potatoes and certify it as a fresh French Fries.
The French Connection 2 (1975)
Boy oh boy, where to start? What a let down. This movie takes place in France and sees our top detective Popeye (played by Gene Hackman again) teaming up with French authorities to take down the heroin king who escaped in the first movie.
The French police are none too excited to have to take Popeye around with them as they bust heroin dealers in their town. Apparently, they even assist the heroin dealer they are tracking to help kidnap Popeye and teach him a lesson. The movie insinuates this but never fully explores it.
The bad guys kidnap our main character and keep him around for three weeks injecting heroin into his arms. They get him addicted to smack and then drop him off right near the cops as they are running down some leads. Then comes this agonizing period where Popeye is locked in a dungeon cell as he goes through withdrawal. It was agonizing for Popeye as well as anyone watching the movie. I know this scene was intended to showcase Gene Hackman’s acting range but it was aggravating, annoying and seemed to last forever.
Popeye then goes on a revenge spree, burning down an apartment complex in the process. But don’t worry, he doesn’t get into any trouble for burning down and entire city block.
Later, there is a half-assed shootout at a drydock which has Popeye save his French partner’s life, bonding them forever. Who cares?
This one was directed by John Frankenheimer who went on to direct some real bombs in his life including Reindeer Games and the Island of Dr. Moreau (1996). He did direct Ronin, which was actually really good. Anyway, this movie was painful to watch and I give it 28/100 potatoes and certify it as Potato au Rotten.