DVD Review: The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch

STUDIO: Music Box | DIRECTOR: Jerome Salle | CAST: Tomer Sisley, Kristin Scott Thomas, Miki Manojlovic, Karl Roden, Mélanie Thierry
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 3/27/2012 | PRICE: DVD $29.95
BONUSES: digital comic book, featurette
SPECS: NR | 108 min. | Foreign language action | 2.35:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1 | French, English and Croatian with English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

The 2008 action-thriller film The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch is the first big-screen adaptation of the wildly popular Belgian series of Largo Winch graphic novels by Philippe Francq and Jean Van Hamme.

The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch movie scene

Tomer Sisley prepares for high adventure as Largo Winch.

Imagine if the hero of last year’s high-finance thriller Margin Call was Jason Statham (Killer Elite)  instead of Zachary Quinto (Star Trek), and what if instead of staring into a computer monitor, he spent his time flying around the world defending his mega-corporation with guns and broken furniture? That’s the high-flying concept of Largo Winch, a unique hybrid of cerebral business thriller with an action-loaded globe-trotting adventure.

Spot-on casting puts the show over the top. Tomer Sisley (Sleepless Night) is the titular Largo Winch, the adopted heir of zillionaire industrialist Nerio Winch (Miki Manojlovic, Cirkus Coumbia), who inherits a markets-moving Hong Kong-based corporation worth billions; the twist is, Largo is brilliant but damaged, spending his time as an adventure-seeking castaway in dicey tropical ports of call. Nerio’s right-hand woman (Nowhere Boy‘s Kristin Scott Thomas, lovely but icy as ever) finds Largo, introduces him to the board of directors and instantly makes him a target for assassination.

Of course there are double-agents, red herrings, gun fights (in the board room!), a convenient love interest (yummy Melanie Thierry of Babylon A.D.), a climactic roof-top knife fight and a ticking clock. All of this added together should have yielded an international hit, or at least an intriguing oddity, but no such luck for this French/Belgian co-production which grossed a not-bad $17 million overseas.  Happily, it can be enjoyed in U.S. homes four years later!

As a sidelight, keep an eye out for 2011’s The Burma Conspiracy, renamed Largo Winch II and once again starring Sisley alongside new “Winch Girl” Sharon Stone!

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About Buzz

Buzz McClain reviews DVDs for Playboy magazine and is a former critic for Video Business magazine. But what he really wants to do is direct.