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In a comeback that I’ve been anticipating only slightly more than the reemergence of JNCO jeans or polio, Luc Besson now returns to American theaters after a nearly decade-long absence. The occasion is the release of Angel-A, a Paris-set variation on It’s a Wonderful Life, which replaces Clarence (dowdy old character actor Henry Travers) with an improbably gorgeous girl who – this being a Luc Besson movie – can kick ass with impunity.

Andre (played by popular comic actor Jamel Debbouze, most familiar to Americans from Amèlie) is a globetrotting hustler who’s found himself at loose ends. A life of borrowing and welshing is closing in on him; he’s penniless, and the underworld types he’s indebted to are now preparing, in unison, to test out the “blood from a stone” adage on him. Melodramatically despairing, he prepares to fling himself into the Seine, only to spy a statuesque fellow jumper, Angela (Rie Rasmussen, quite memorable as The Legs from Brian De Palma’s Femme Fatale), just ahead of him in line.

Click here to read the rest of Nick Pinkerton’s review of Luc Besson’s Angel-A.

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