I have a little crush on Daniel Auteuil so when I found this 1984 French film L’Arbalète (aka Asphalt Warriors / The Syringe) directed by Sergio Gobbi (Un beau monstre) I was intrigued.
Auteuil plays a police inspector, Vincent, who has a chequered past as “a delinquent in Marseille”. He is caught up in a gang war in the streets of Paris when his superior Falco (he’s sadistic and you know that because he always wears one black leather glove for no apparent reason) sets him up as an undercover agent to infiltrate a gang of Vietnamese guys and their rival gang of Arabs, who have the most amazingly bad fight scenes out in the suburbs.
This film is so bad it’s good. Even if you only watch it to see Daniel Auteuil wielding a flick knife and a gun and referring to himself as “Zorro” you won’t be disappointed.
But the point of this review is to see the ill-advised 1984 street cop look adopted by Auteuil. Don’t get me wrong, I fancy the guy but he seems to have been channeling Alfie Moon when he went into wardrobe. Here’s the evidence:
Daniel Auteuil contemplates his collection of hideous cowboy boots
But back to the story, Der Kommissar, sorry, I mean the Chief Inspector – I was mixing him up with the other Falco, obviously – is a strictly no tolerance kind of guy and he wants rid of all the drug dealers, druggies, prostitutes and criminals. So at the same time as Vincent is infiltrating the gangs and reporting back, Falco is carrying out his own investigations using force and also endangering Vincent’s life by setting all the gangs against each other.
Vincent is friendly with Marise (Marisa Berenson) – a drug addicted prostitute and girlfriend of the one of the Vietnamese gang members – whose nickname is L’Arbalète; Falco has it in for her as well so you know she has to get caught up in all of this somehow and die before the end of the film. That’s what I thought anyway and I was not wrong – the story is so predictable.
Falco enlists the leader of the rather Germanic gang Les Justiciers (The Avengers) to mix it all up between the Vietnamese and the Arabs. Their leader looks a bit like the musician Paul Simpson of The Teardrop Explodes / The Wild Swans / Care / Skyray etc. Just thought I’d share that for no apparent reason.
And he’s very good at stirring it all up as the film ends with a bit of a chaotic bloodbath and some more crap fighting. It’s brilliant.
Yes, this is a half-arsed attempt at a review because really there is not a lot to say about the film and if truth be told I just wanted to upload some screengrabs of Daniel Auteuil dressed like Alfie Moon. You’ll just have to see the film yourself to find out more, but in the meantime here are some more images from my favourite bits.
Vincent offers one of the Justiciers a light for his cigarette:
And my favourite scene of all is Vincent in the gay bar, crushing a guy’s nuts for trying it on with him and then getting into a rubbish fight with a gang of gay guys outside afterwards:
It’s goodbye from Daniel Auteuil – and it’s goodbye from me!