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George At 

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French Connection II

1975's FRENCH CONNECTION II is a worthy follow up to the original Best Picture winner. The first film was a true story, while this sequel is strictly a fictional take on Popeye Doyle's continued pursuit of drug kingpin Charnier (Fernando Rey). Gene Hackman stars again in a terrific performance as the flawed NYC detective who has come to France as unwitting bait to catch the elusive villain. Director John Frankenheimer gives the film a gritty feel and takes a huge risk by making the entire middle hour of the film an exhausting sequence in which Popeye is kidnapped by Charnier and hooked on heroin to break him down and see what he knows of their operation. It's an exhausting, methodical, depressing and really well acted hour, but not an easy slog. As Popeye emerges from his addiction and picks his pursuit of Rey back up, the pace and excitement of the film picks back up as well. Interesting, well told and intense, French Connection II gets a B. Make sure you see the first film FIRST!

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