Last Year when Italy’s so-called biggest selling comic book Dylan Dog starring Brandon Routh (Superman Returns) became a film and was released in U.S.A, it was been branded one of the most popular and biggest selling comics in the world it was greeted with Dylan Who? Believe it or not, over Easter the film even got direct to DVD release in UK& Ireland unnoticed, so it shows when promoting a new film which is a comic book adaptation source that promotes the film as a worldwide success your going to treat it with pure scepticism. Lucky Luke starring Oscar winning Jean Dujardin (the Artist) was released in 2009 but now 2012 the film arrives on UK&Irish shores and to capitalise on the DVD release of The Artist today, the film based on the popular Franco-Belgium comic book is getting its chance to shine on the British and Irish film fans especially now that the film’s lead is a well known outside his native France.
Dujardin stars as gun slinging cowboy John ‘Lucky’ Luke a fun spoof comedy Western based on the classic comic books created by Maurice De Bevere and Rene Goscinny (Creator of Asterix) starring Michael Youn, Melvil Poupaud, Sylvie Testud and Daniel Prevost. When the president attempts to restore law and order to Daisy Town ” the man who shoots faster than his shadow” Lucky Luke is the man for the job. Luke returns to Daisy Town first time since the murder of his parents to clean up the mess and is constantly confronted by Pat Poker (Prevost), but will Luke’s Luck run out or thanks to the aide of old partners/foes Calamity Janes (Testud), Shakespearean obsessed Jesse James (Poupaud), child like Billy The Kid (youn) will they help as well as save the president?
Lucky Luke like Dylan Dog outside its native country are virtually unknown so right away the film is already under pressure, however, this film has the slight advantage of been co-created by the creator of Asterix (Goscinny) and a recent Oscar winner leading the line Lucky Luke should do better. Despite its bullet holed plot the film still offers a lot of humour comic book/ cartoon style, a parody style which at times is borderline Blazing Saddles though more settling in Yosemite Sam territory. The film visually is also fantastic, the set production design is great, colourful, vibrant along with authentic looking costumes too.
Apart from not taking itself seriously what helps Lucky Luke from not sinking into the quicksand is the talented bunch of actor who keeps this film flowing. Jean Dujardin as ever is charismatic, charming proving he has mastered the comedy chops which makes him perfect for the role too. He does have a canny resemblance to Luke, his persona reminds you a little of Johnny Depp in the way he can step into a character’s shoes with near perfection. The other stand out has to go to Michael Youn’s Billy The Kid who at times steals the show as the man child who is obsessed with lollipops clearly someone who is in his thirties!
What I did find confusing was the BBFC’s not to reward Lucky Luke a 12 rating but a 15 rating which was apparently rewarded due to some risqué jokes and mild violence. Lucky Luke is a family film nothing more nothing less, the kids will love this especially the cartoon style ‘violence’ which we’ve seen so many times in Roadrunner and Bugs Bunny cartoons which would go right over the kids heads.its just ironic BBFC award X-Men: First Class which has violence which is mild but a lot stronger in nature than Lucky Luke plus they allowed Wolverine to tell Magneto and Professor Xavier to ‘Fuck Off’ but only give that film a 12?
Lucky Luke is a screwball and at times a surreal comedy which some people may find a tad strange especially when Luke’s horse talks to him, I’m surprised with this been a kids film there wasn’t the beans scene ala Blazing Saddles as it would have been childish however kids love fart jokes. The film may not have the perfect script however the humour of the film is faithful to its source, the comic books as well as been a Western parody with weird but lovable characters who make this film overall entertaining keeping you glued until the end.
★★★ |Paul Devine
Comedy, Western | France, 2009 | 15 | 28th May 2012 (UK) | Arrow Films | Dir.James Huth | Jean Dujardin, Sylvie Testud, Daniel Prevost, Melvil Poupaud | Buy : On DVD