This film is nearly as mesmerizing, complex, charismatic, yet utterly brutal and uncompromising, as its titular character, Jacques Mesrine. Cassel plays the part beautifully, and the rest of the film tries to keep up. Gorgeous camera work follow great fast-paced scenes and knuckle-whitening action. Overall, a wonderful introduction and ultimately a perfect set up for the next film.
Someone forgot to tell the screenwriters that if you have a completely unlikable protagonist you need to at least make something INTERESTING about him. Vicious characters are only compelling if they have some sort of personality and Cassel's two settings are Stock Gangster and Totally Insane, with nothing in between. No joke, my favorite part of this movie was when they were torturing the shit out of him in prison.
I already liked a lot Richet's previous film, a remake of Carpenter's ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13. Now, with KILLER INSTINCT, Richet strikes at a French myth : Jacques Mesrine. The opening credits are, in my opinion, absolutely great and Richet gives a Peckinpahian calibre to this criminal who believes in morals among outlaws. Three French Academy awards : Best Director, Best Actor and Best Sound. Highly recommended.