Title: The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch

Directed by: Jerome Salle

Starring: Tomer Sisley, Kristin Scott Thomas and Miki Manojlovic

It’s always a tricky business with trying to adapt a comic properly onto the big screen. You have to deal not only with aiming to please the fans of the comic but also being able to gain mass appeal from the general audience. And here you have “Largo Winch,” a Belgian comic book hero that is basically the combination of Bruce Wayne and James Bond rolled into one, minus the secret spy and superhero aspects of those two.

When billionaire financier Nerio Winch (Miki Manojlovic) and head of the W Group is murdered, his second in command (Kristin Scott Thomas) must locate his only heir – a heretofore unknown adopted son, Largo (Tomer Sisley). But first the heir – a twenty-something adventurer – must overcome an onslaught of drug traffickers, assassins, corporate raiders and double-dealing insiders to fulfill his destiny.

When you bundle up that kind of winner combination and spill it into a feature film, you’d think it would be an automatic home run. “The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch” is what happens when you sloppily cram too much source material into one movie.

The Story

When you’re dealing with a comic book property, it makes sense that you want to get the back story out of the way within the first movie. After all, it makes the hero feel a bit more accessible when you see what normally is their humble origins before they turned into the powerful guy/girl that you know in the main plot line. But the main reason why the back story of Largo and the search for his father’s murderer feel so jumbled is due to the placement of Largo’s early years. Half of the movie felt like it was in flashback mode which gets old really fast if you combine it with the ridiculous amount of twists that’s woven into the script. After a certain point it feels like an indecisive child is sticking his hands into a cookie jar, picking up a cookie only to drop it down and take out another one because it has more chocolate chips. Regardless of which character is revealed to be the real villain behind all of the nonsense, you know this action-thriller is going to end a certain way no matter what.

And there’s no excuse to shove as many unnecessary characters as you’d like down audience members’ throats. It is a comic book property that’s being made into a feature film, a lot of people are aware of it by this point, but the overabundance of characters, most which serve little to no purpose, is overkill.

The Acting

Another part of the whole process of bringing a property like “Largo Winch” to theaters that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle is good acting. “Winch” is another one of those examples, letting slightly cheesy and annoying acting reign supreme. Whenever it’s unintentional, like it is in “Largo Winch,” it’s hilarious but at the same time you feel a little bad for reacting so because you know that’s not what the filmmakers were hoping for. The heightened emotional moments between Largo and x character come off as borderline laughable, nothing too impressive in this section.

The Direction

When it comes to action movies like “Largo Winch” the direction is borrowed off of such movies as the “Bourne” series where we’re littered with a large array of tight shots in order to make the audience feel the same sense of claustrophobia that their hero does. It means that although the kind of direction is effective at the same time it’s been used before. In that respect Jérôme Salle succeeds, but times like these you wish that some of these directors would take a risk and shoot a little differently. Then again, using what works isn’t a particularly bad thing.

Technical

A strong majority of the movie doesn’t rely on any flimsy and cheaply done CG effects so that’s always a plus. And although some movies use the lack of lighting in order to implement a specific look or darker tone to the movie, half of the time it turns out to be nothing more than an eyesore as the audience struggles to see what they’re being shown on screen. When you’re dealing with a genre like action it feels like the better time to try and conceal people in the darkness is when they’re some mysterious villain or something in that regard.

Overall

“The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch” is a weak first movie for an inevitable action-thriller franchise that already has spawned into a sequel. It’s not awful but it isn’t something one would recommend to see on the big screen.

The Story: C-

The Acting: C

The Direction: D

Technical: C

Overall: C-

Largo Winch

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