Based on the French best-seller Les Rivières pourpres, 2000’s The Crimson Rivers was a grisly serial killer thriller that set the international box-office ablaze thanks to a clever plot, and the pairing of old guard/new guard superstars Jean Reno and Vincent Cassel. A sequel to the film was inevitable, and, in Crimson Rivers 2: Angels of the Apocalypse, Inspector Niemans (Reno) returns to investigate a new series of slayings. However, this time, the killer’s actions may just bring about the end of the world!
A body is found walled up in a remote monastery outside of Paris, and, as Niemans digs deeper into the victim’s past, he finds himself following a trail of the dead, in which each of the victim’s shares the name of one of the original apostles. Meanwhile Rada (Magimal), a former student of Niemans, nearly runs over an injured man dressed as Jesus. This “Jesus” is the last survivor of a twisted evangelist’s re-enactment of the Last Supper, and Niemans arrives to piece it all together.
Now, with a new partner, and an arsenal of weaponry, Niemans takes the fight to the mysterious monastery where it all began. There, he will face an order of supernaturally strong monks, a mad Nazi (Lee), and a plot to bring about the apocalypse!
Confused yet? Well, I don’t blame you, for Crimson Rivers 2 is a bit high in concept, and a little low on logic, but damn if it ain’t a fun way to kill a couple of hours. Take a little bit of SE7EN, sprinkle in some RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, and serve it all up in typically rich French dressing, and you’ve got one of the most action-packed, beautifully filmed apocalyptic serial killer films you’re bound to see.
I should probably mention that I love French cinema, and that I’m used to the rather strange narrative lapses and quirky humour that seem to turn others away from these films. I should also note that, even though much of the dialogue is lost in translation, Crimson Rivers 2 doesn’t really feature much by way of great dialogue anyway. Penned by action auteur Luc Besson, the film is more focused on getting its overly complex plot across rather than worrying about little details like what comes out of the character’s mouths. This results in some rather silly one-liners, bouts of tough guy action speak, and a few lines that simply make no sense at all. Still, this movie is about three things: aesthetics, action, and body count, and it delivers on all of those quite nicely! I also have to say that Crimson Rivers 2 features, hands down, the best foot chase sequence I’ve ever seen. You’ll know what I’m talking about when you see it, but, suffice it to say, it’s positively gravity defying stuff!
The DVD from Columbia Tristar features a surprising amount of extras, considering this is a foreign film. We are treated to a deleted scene, a making-of featurette, and five behind-the-scenes featurettes, as well as a booming 5.1 soundtrack, excellent widescreen transfer, and the ability to watch the film dubbed or subtitled.
Crimson Rivers 2: Angels of the Apocalypse is a film that requires a lot of suspension of disbelief, a great deal of patience with its dialogue, and an appreciation for the wilder (and darker) side of action cinema. It's not the smartest film out there, but there's so much eye candy that you'll be too busy to notice.