The Nest
(Nid de guêpes)

The Nest
Made in: France
Language: French, Italian, German, English
Director: Florent Emilio Siri
Starring: Samy Naceri, Nadia Fares, Benoît Magimel, Angelo Infanti, Pascal Greggory, Valerio Mastandrea, Anisia Uzeyman, Sami Bouajila, Martial Odone, Martin Amic, Alexandre Hamidi, Richard Sammel
Year: 2002

Synopsis: As France celebrates the July 14th holiday, Albanian crime lord Abedin Nexhepi (Angelo Infanti) is being transported under heavy guard to a secure location for his trial. He's in the custody of a multinational team of special ops troops from France, Germany, and Italy.

Nexhepi is a sick old bastard who's notorious for running an underground sex trade, having kidnapped dozens of women who were forced into prostitution. The special ops team is led by Helene Labori (Nadia Fares), who's more than a bit disgusted with their prisoner.

At the same time, a group of professional thieves led by Nasser (Samy Naceri) and his right hand man, Santino (Benoît Magimel), are about to pull of an elaborate heist at a huge remote warehouse. The warehouse is in a relatively isolated area in an industrial district.

As night falls, all hell breaks loose. A private group of mercenaries ambushes Labori's convoy in an attempt to recover Nexhepi, forcing her to drive the damaged armored transport way off their assigned route. Incidentally, she takes her fellow soldiers right to the very same warehouse that Nasser's crew is robbing.

As Nexhepi's men surround the compound and bullets start flying by the millions, the soldiers, thieves and warehouse watchmen band together for one hell of a last stand.

The Good: The Nest, which is somewhat of a remake of John Carpenter's original Assault on Precinct 13 is a simple action thriller that's very well put-together.

Without using much dialogue at all, director Florent Emilio Siri is able to establish all the characters and most of the plot points through clear, efficient visuals.

The characters are all likeable, and even though there are a number of them, Siri's clear directing style makes it easy to figure out who's who. The action is often intense and exciting, and we're never quite sure who's going to make it until the very end.

Nadia Fares is pretty much the typical machine-gun wielding babe that a typical nerd would drool over, but she plays the part with sophistication, humanity, and depth.

The Bad: Although The Nest is very well directed, there were a few problems I had with it. One was that the editing was sometimes unclear.

Inside that huge warehouse/industrial facility, it was difficult to tell exactly how it was structured. There was a cellar, a security office, a rooftop, and several entrances...but during firefights it was tricky to keep track of where the characters were in relation to those locations (and how long it took for them to go from one place to the next).

And since the villain's private army was enormous, I found it hard to believe that dozens of mercenaries could somehow sneak equipment such as machine guns and RPGs into France without getting noticed.

Who would like this movie: The Nest, despite some problems with logic and editing, is a smart, exciting action movie. No time is wasted on pointless exposition, and the shootouts are as pulse-poundingly intense as any you'd find in a great video game.

This one is definitely for you if you're in the mood for a shoot-em-up. A movie like this convinces me that France doesn't always need Jean Reno when the time comes to start shooting bad guys.

(3 and 1/2 stars out of 4)

Review written by: Joe Yang

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