THE EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES OF ADELE BLANC-SEC (Luc Besson)
Think a hybrid of INDIANA JONES, TOMB RAIDER, and NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM and you get this latest feat from French filmmaker Luc Besson (NIKITA, THE FIFTH ELEMENT). Strikingly, the lead actress Louise Bourgoin looks like a cross between Lena Headey and (inhales deeply) Song Hye-Kyo.
Hold your horses. Before you make any notions of a lopsided rip-off, ADELE BLANC-SEC even improves the ideas borrowed from said movies. The heroine is lovable as well. As the adventurous journalist/novelist Adele Blanc-Sec, Louise Bourgoin is equally funny and able for action. What I like most about the titular character and how she was presented is that she is refreshingly down to earth. We are not led to believe that she can suddenly foil enemies with hidden karate talents, or slice villains with cutlass in disarming precision.
Instead, Adele’s stunts are minimal. The story itself provides for that, but what Adele lacks in action a la Angelina Jolie, she makes up for humor and yes, hotness.
The story revolves around Adele, who goes on a perilous trip to Egypt to recover the mummified remains of Rameses II’s physician, in order to revive him and be able to find a cure for her ill sister. Her nemesis, Dieuleveult (an unrecognizable Mathieu Amalric of QUANTUM OF SOLACE fame) catches up with her, and Adele barely escapes an ambush if it weren’t for her quick wits and improvisation. In fact, there’s a lot of improvisation going on, especially in that hilarious prison break sequence.
An assortment of colourful characters also provide additional humor, such as the hunter Justin de Saint-Hubert (Jean-Paul Rouve), the bumbling cop Inspector Caponi (Gilles Lelouche), and the clueless bystander Choupard (Serge Bagdassarian). Esperandieu (Jacky Nercessian), who found a way to bring the dead back to life acts as the intelligent elder of the story, but not quite intelligent as Adele points out in one scene, referring to Esperandieu bringing back to life a Pterodactyl. Yes, the dinosaur.
The script is witty and hits the right timing. The revival of the mummies during the climax is one of the film’s funniest. The mummies are the funniest bit about the movie, next to Adele herself.
I am literally begging for a sequel.