A highly entertaining thrill-ride that also addresses social issues, Romain Gavras’ (son of director Costa Gavras) caper is as much a punch in the face as it is a comic book-style exercise in violence among Paris’ immigrant underclass.

When small time drug dealer Farés (Karim Leklou) decides that enough is enough and instead plans on living an honest existence by acquiring the Mr. Freeze ice lollies franchise in sunny Morocco, he’s in for a rough awakening: his mother Danny (Isabelle Adjani) – herself a compulsive gambler, thief and scammer – has frittered all of Farés savings away in a gambling hall. To make matters worse, what Farés lacks in self-esteem his mother has in spades, therefore she doesn’t understand as to why her son is so angry. After all, there is plenty more to steal in the local shopping mall, and not just designer couture which hidden underneath fake burkas but Danny also knows how to retrieve priceless bling from the in-store safe! Not that her latest actions do Farés any favours as Danny simply keeps on gambling and sipping champagne in the process.

Help seems at hand when local drug leader Poutine (Sofian Khammes) provides Farés with an opportunity he cannot resist: one last ‘job’ in Spain (translate as smuggling drugs) will pay him enough to realise his dream of becoming the face of the Mr. Freeze ice cream franchise. Together with his comrade in crime Henri (Vincent Cassel) – a shady character more interested in conspiracy theories than the basics of crime – and his on/off girlfriend Lamya (Oulaya Amamra) who also happens to be in the ‘employ’ of Farés mother they set of the a tourist hell somewhere in Spain (is it Benidorm) that’s inhabited by drunken Englishmen, tarts, chancers, and an awful lot of hideous high-rise buildings masquerading as hotels. Hot on their heels are two psychotic wannabe gangsters, both called Mohamed (Mounir Amamra and Mahamadou Sangaré), who like nothing better than beating up ‘British pigs’ as well as – yes – his greedy mother! Just when you think things can’t get worse Farés former father-in-law who’s just been released from the slammer also gets involved when not busy employing desperate migrants to work for him for 1 Euro per hour!

When Farés, Henri, Lamya and the two Mohameds are about to struck the deal with Scottish drug dealer Bruce (Sam Spruell) in the hotel room, he immediately susses the incompetence of the Paris gang and manages to persuade Farés to hand over the money with the promise the stash will arrive in one hour. Suffice to say it doesn’t. Now Farés and his mates desperately try to track down Bruce and his cronies among the bars and sleazy tourist hangouts – at the very least they hope to get their money back. This is when Farés domineering and much more unscrupulous mum Danny comes in handy, for her plan to kidnap Bruce’s likable and chubby daughter Brittany (Gabby Rose) might bring dad to his senses… unfortunately though, daddy is more interested in keeping the money than in getting his daughter back. An inevitable showdown lurks just round the corner – but who will come up trumps and who will lose?

This has a refreshingly continental feel and humour about it while not shying away from addressing the social problems of the many Moroccan and Arab immigrants in Paris.

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