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"Viktor": Gerard Depardieu Makes for a Hilarious Action Star 

Tuesday, Oct 21 2014
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Every so often, a specimen from the thriving cinematic underworld of Eastern European-lensed action movies gets an American theatrical release. Case in point: Philippe Martinez's potboiler Viktor, which is a few roundhouse kicks away from being a Jean-Claude Van Damme straight-to-VOD flick (one of which Martinez has also directed). Released from several years in prison, art thief Viktor Lambert (Gerard Depardieu) travels to a lovingly photographed Chechnya to avenge the death of his son by Russian mobsters. He enlists the help of his son's dance instructor Souliman (Eli Danker) and Viktor's former flame Alexandra (Elizabeth Hurley), who gets little to do other than look lovely and find Viktor irresistible. The 66-year-old Depardieu was no action hero even in his prime, and as his girth now rivals Paul Masson-era Orson Welles, we're meant to believe he strikes fear into his enemies. Except for a decent car chase, Viktor's action scenes are more like torture porn, as he brutally interrogates tied-up bad guys. It's all very strange, made more so by the fact that many of the Russian actors seem to be speaking their English lines phonetically, including main villain Anton (Denis Karasev). His too-brief poolside dialogue with a similarly English-bereft actress is possibly one of the worst-acted scenes in recent memory — and therefore, of course, one of the funniest.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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