Pat's Sanitarium
Pat's Sanitarium
A retreat for the well-being of my mind from the insanity of the life that is mine.
Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Review: Arsene Lupin 


Al's been kind(?) enough to let me take a break from review writing (an activity that i truly wish more people would help me out with *not so subtle clearing of throat*) and has composed a review for Arsene Lupin - one of the films at the French Film Festival that we watched on Monday night.

So without much further ado, lets get right to it:

I would like to preface this by saying this is taking away from my Warcraft time so consider yourselves lucky. This review contains massive spoilers, but since you'll probably never watch this movie anyway, fuck it.

So anyway, last night I went with Pat and Joa to watch a movie at Mid Valley, interpreting the story of Arsene Lupin, the famous French thief. It's set in the late late 19th century and opens with a montage of jewels and some kind of 70's-ish orchestral lounge music thing that brings to mind memories of those goddamned cheesy James Bond movies. The movie opens with Arsene, at that point still a child, receiving instruction in Savate from his father, who, as is revealed in less than a few moments, is a thief. He runs from the cops, comes back to basically tell Arsene, and this is only a slight simplification of the quote, "oh by the way, you should really think about stealing things for a living." In the morning Arsene and his mother leave their family home, only to find at the edge of a cliff the mutilated body of who he can only assume is his father.

Cut to 15 years hence, and Arsene is now an accomplished thief and womanizer, and is also running from a falsified murder charge. He returns to his mother, who I guess he abandoned in a nursing home for all that time, and meets a lovely young lady. The cops bust in so he hides under the bed while his mother dies of a heart attack. After the funeral he meets with the woman from the hospital who takes him to her house. They go through a few minutes of light romantic banter, gaze into each others eyes, and at this point everyone in the audience who is not an idiot knows what's going on.

AND THEN she comes out with, and again, this is only a sight paraphrase:

"Oh and hey, guess what, I'm also your cousin!"

Not to be deterred, Arsene proceeds to go back to her home, kick his uncle's ass, and then get his cousin in the room his dead mother used to sleep in for some breast-fondling quality make-out time. I, in the audience, am at this point thinking to myself, "ok, ok, it's the 19th century, it's France, I'm sure this sort of thing was the norm back then, just have to suspend disbelief a little longer." And then I was fine for the time being.

He finds out his uncle is also a member of a plot to overthrow the French republic and reinstate a monarchy, and sneaks into a secret meeting where he sees a woman being condemned to death for being a witch of some sort. He saves her later that night and here we are also introduced to this other guy whose name I forget, who as it turns out is a member of said society, and who was seduced and manipulated by witch-lady. For the sake of brevity let's call him Bob.

The movie soon thereafter devolves into a disjointed chase for some long lost treasure. The clues to its location revolve around three crucifixes in three abbeys, each bearing the name of the next abbey, forming a chain of hints. Doesn't sound so bad right? Well, wait for it. As an added bonus to the sheer chaos, Arsene gets manipulated back and forth between witch-lady, who he ends up having regular sex with (hopefully you haven't let yourself forget about his lovely cousin who he says he is also in love with), and Bob, who tells Arsene that not only was he an accomplice of his father, he knows who killed his dad, and ALSO that witchlady is literally a witch, who through the use of a serum, happens to be immortal. Arsene doesn't believe
it until he sees her face start to decay.

Witchlady, through the use of magic, disguises herself as an African whore, seduces Bob, now revealed to be some kind of compulsive serial killer, and with Arsene watching in secret, she hypnotizes Bob into stealing the third crucifix (Arsene having already stolen the first two, presenting both to her) at a costume ball. Arsene disguises himself as a Russian noble, goes to the party, and confronts Bob, now the man Arsene considers the prime suspect in the murder of his father and who, still under the influence of witchlady's magic, tells him (because I guess that hypnotism in this movie functions in much the same manner as does sodium pentathol):

Are you ready for this?

"Oh by the way, your father was never killed. He was tortured for years, his face mutilated and reformed repeatedly until he now bears absolutely no resemblance to his former self. How do I know this? I AM YOUR FATHER!"

Around this time Arsene's uncle finds out his daughter is pregnant.

Congratulations, uncle dad.

Arsene solves the riddle of the crucifixes soon, quite accidentally. It seems all this time noone thought to manipulate or bend them or something, because doing so releases some kind of spring-loaded transformation, such that the three crosses combine to form the image of Ursa Major, the great bear. I guarantee you not one person in the audience knew what the fuck was going on.

Still reading? Ok then.

In a few minutes we find out that there's a big meeting set up by everyone who wants the crucifixes. Arsene's uncle gets blown up, along with everyone else in a restaurant, by witchlady's deformed sidekick. At the autopsy he finds out...

*deep breath*...

His uncle had a fake eye made of metal which somehow over all those years never rusted shut and somehow his own daughter never noticed and which once unscrewed and opened is found to have been concealing a parchment with the last clue to the whereabouts of the hidden treasure which just so happens to correspond with a hidden star in the Ursa Major constellation and which would still be hidden but just at that moment this little dinky arrow pops out of one of the crosses conveniently at a point on a map which SURPRISE SURPRISE just happens to be right near where he saw what he thought was his father's corpse.

He goes there to be confronted by Bob, and after a scuffle, he's left dangling off the edge of a cliff, Bob standing over him offering to save him if they work side by side.

At this point I can't take it much longer. This movie is clearly a Star Wars ripoff, made even more damning by the fact that I was watching The Empire Strikes Back right before going to watch this movie. Let's review.

Luke Skywalker: Orphan. Believes his father was murdered. Gets several intimate moments with a woman who he finds out is his sister. Finds out the man who he thought murdered his father is in fact his father.

Arsene Lupin: Orphan. Believes his father was murdered. Gets naked and busy with a woman after he finds out she's his cousin. Finds out the man who he thought murdered his father is in fact his father.

Basically the similarities end there, as Bob falls and dies, but they were so glaring it was impossible to ignore.

I don't want to write any more about the movie so I'll finish by saying that not only was there NEVER ANY RESOLUTION OF ANY FUCKING KIND to the movie, but I can't oblige Pat insofar as his request for me to give this a numerical rating out of five. The first 20 minutes or so were great, but this movie is so messed up that it's not even the right scale to use. I give this movie a firm "What the FUCK did I just watch?" out of five.


As a kind of epilogue to this fucked up night, we were at Bestari's when golf comes on tv. The following exchange is repeated word for word.

Pat: "Hey, golf! I can feel Leonard getting a hardon right now!"
Al: "Pat you're sitting on his lap."
Pat: "AAAA!"

Aaaargh!!! Curse my no-edit policy!!!


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Name: Patrick Pincon
Age: 27
Studied at: Monash
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Nationality: Malaysian/French
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