In the late 90s and early 00s, the new French Extremity and the craze for Tarantino inspired, Hong Kong riffing, bullet ballets, were very popular. Once we waved away the gunsmoke, we could see almost all of it was made of gallons of piss and stinky vinegar. DOBERMANN, release again to celebrate its 25 year, saw ‘Dobermann’ ( played by a crazed Vincent Cassel) living life, with guns, girls and a gang to his name. His girl (Monica Bellucci) is passionate as a lover, and equally violent. Hi gang, a bunch of sex perverts, sadists and pyschos, are also deeply loyal and gun crazed as him. So we get the taste that this will be a blood soaked affair certainly. The lead character and his associates are dependant on shoot first, then shoot later.

But DOBERMANN is really playing up to the crowd. It wants us to get our monies worth. Maybe actually, it wants us to get too much and want to pay more in. Dobermann himself is not on a plynth mind and has, as all good anti heroes have, a nemisis. His is a rather awful man, a jerk off cop called Christini (Tchéky Karyo excels in this role). He has one goal and thats to catch Dobermann at any cost. Bullets can fly, people can die but he wants that man. So when Dobermann pulls off a spectacularly violent heist, it becomes a test to see who and what will be spared. The obvious replication of Hong Kong shootouts, done with less vim but more faster cutting and punchy camera work, sing well. So does the run time, that never feels long or leggy. The interesting thing is, that having seen this on release and then in the mid 10s, I still feel it is a solid whole. 25 years have not dampened it, meerly made me and others wonder, why we never had a sequel or more interestingly, a prequel to chew on….


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