Lost Bullet opens with a Lamborghini-powered Renault Clio. That should be reason enough to stick the 2020 film on your Netflix watchlist.
All the standard Hollywood clichés are present. A reformed prisoner (spoiler alert: he drove the Lambo Clio into a jewellers). Rogue cops. Car chases. An orgy of fisticuffs in a police station. The undercurrent of a love story.
Only Lost Bullet isn't a Hollywood film. It's set in sun-drenched Séte, the director is Guillaume Pierret, and the stars are largely unknown outside France.
Oh, and a Renault 21 Turbo is central to the plot, but more about that in a moment.
Comparisons with the Fast & Furious franchise are inevitable. You'll also find elements of Mad Max, a hint of the Taxi films and a touch of Baby Driver. The film poster looks suspiciously like the one used for Edgar Wright's classic.
The Renault 21 Turbo arrives on screen at around the 15-minute mark. It's the common thread throughout the rest of the film. A Carmen Red slice of French class, the likes of which you won't find on a 26-mile runway in a Furious movie. It's got five gears, which is about 280 gears fewer than Dom Toretto gets out of bed for.
We're told that the Renault 21 Turbo was the first car to be used as a French police interceptor. Lino, the prisoner turned police mechanic, says his father owned one. Charas, the cop instrumental in arranging Lino's release, still does.
This makes Charas (Ramzy Bedia) the French equivalent of everybody's favourite Geordie cop, Spender (Jimmy Nail). Well, the Renault 21 Turbo was known as the French Ford Sierra Sapphire RS Cosworth.
“You have a vintage car, let me take a peek under the hood,” says Lino (Alban Lenoir) from the passenger seat. “No, nobody's laying a hand on my 2.0-litre turbo, look at it,” says Charas.
He drives Lino to a warehouse lined with ten examples of the new Renault Mégane RS. It's blatant product placement, but it's better than watching James Bond drinking Heineken or showing off his Omega. The watch, not the Vauxhall.
You wanna fight? Fight me
Saying anything else about the plot would ruin the film. You just need to watch it.
The French tat quota is surprisingly low. It's not until the third act that we see a Citroën Xsara and the obligatory Renault Mégane police cars. There's also a Renault Scenic cop car and some tantalising glimpses of French tat in a scrapyard. Highlights include a Citroën ZX, Peugeot 406 and Peugeot 205.
Look out for the Opel Calibra, Citroën Méhari and C4 Cactus. Oh, and nearly forgot, the cops use a pair of Lagunas to form a roadblock, but this is getting perilously close to a plot spoiler.
Lost Bullet works because the action is fast-paced, the lead characters are believable and the film is short. Ninety minutes is a good length for this type of movie. A sequel is almost inevitable.
It's a shame that they used dubbing rather than subtitles to create the English version. For the most part, the voice actors do a fine job, but subtitles would have been more authentic. The dubbing is a little comical during the fight scene set in a petrol station. It's not quite on a level with Michael Winslow in the Police Academy movies, but it's close.
Come for the Renault 21 Turbo and stay for the action. Warning: PetrolBlog readers might find some of the 21 Turbo scenes distressing.
According to this Facebook page, the stunt team used four Renault 21 Turbos when filming Lost Bullet. They also used two Renault 21 GTS models, for reasons that will become obvious when you watch the film. The guy who bought the lead Renault 21 also owns the Peugeot 406 from the Taxi films.
Lost Bullet is available to stream on Netflix.
Thanks to Martin Arnold for the tip.