French thriller delivers no-nonsense action film

By Leonardo Cervantes

“AKA” (2023) is an action-packed French thriller film that feels eerily similar to John Wick. 

It is perhaps one of the best action films ever created and certainly of the last few years. 

There are no wasted scenes as each scene connects to the plot or leads to the lore of Adam Franco (Alban Lenoir). 

There are suspenseful car chase scenes, club fights and gunfights in broad daylight. 

This film has every type of action scene imaginable. Lenoir is no stranger to action movies as he also starred in the well-renowned “Lost Bullet” series.

To call Lenoir’s acting brilliant would be an understatement. Lenoir has the look and charisma made to play in an action film. 

He has a menacing angry scowl that leaves his enemies shaken when they come into contact. He plays the no-nonsense badass role to a tee. 

Franco must go to great lengths to get close to his target, actually befriending and cooperating with his target crew. 

Franco has to play the undercover cop role and infiltrate Victor Pastore’s (Eric Cantona) crew from within. Patore’s crew are all no-nonsense guys that are willing to die for Pastore.

Franco is quickly able to earn the gang’s respect because of his no-nonsense and precision approach to every task. 

Whether it be stopping a shooter on his own or hilariously taking a gun away from an enemy at point-blank range, he quickly rises the ranks among the gang.

The cinematography is brilliant. The camera angle during action scenes showed the versatility of the fighting styles of Franco. 

The best shot scene was during a bank heist gone wrong when a shoot-out erupts in broad daylight with ongoing traffic, creating the perfect chaotic scene.

The lack of sunshine felt fitting for the film as it was always gloomy and had a tense feeling throughout the film. 

There was a lack of music that’s noticeable but the action scenes might make the viewers forget about it.

There are few scenes that don’t involve Franco’s bloody face or his enemies. 

There are certainly many films that have nonstop action, but they are often lacking an actual story and purpose behind the violence. 

It feels like a running gag as each new scene Franco adds to his collection of scars, since he earns a new cut or bloody scar in most scenes.

Franco has a variety of fighting techniques like martial arts and kickboxing. 

Perhaps his most awesome kill is when he chops a person in the neck with his two fingers without breaking a sweat.

Fans are often comparing Franco to John Wick. Both are serious-minded likable heroes that display their compassion and a wide range of fighting skills. 

There aren’t unnecessary and mindless fighting scenes. They all serve a purpose in building up Lenoir to his ultimate goal of capturing Pastore. 

The film has enough twists and turns that will keep the audience engaged, like some unexpected deaths. 

That’s what differentiates this action thriller, viewers won’t be able to guess what happens next.

What makes the movie dynamic is while infiltrating the crime syndicate, Lenoir took a liking to Pastore’s son, Jonathan (Noé Chabbat). 

Franco took a liking to him as he saw a lot of similarities between them when he was younger. This just adds to the tension because it leaves the audience wondering if he will fulfill his duty or protect his enemy’s son.

Throughout the film, Franco’s upbringing is slowly revealed and shows what made him the ruthless man he became. 

He had a tough upbringing and made a decision early on to kill a politician that wasn’t convicted as a child molester.

Franco has the presence and overall feel to dominate any scene he’s in. It never feels like he’s overdoing it because he has great command. The only negative of the film is that not many actors get to shine. 

It’s mostly just Franco, Pastore, Jonathan and a few of the higher-ups ordering Franco around. However, Franco does just enough to carry the film without him becoming overused. 

“AKA” is rated TV-MA and has a runtime of two hours and two minutes. It is available to watch on Netflix.

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