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OSS 117: Lost in Rio (DVD Review)

29 Aug, 2010 By: John Latchem

Street 8/31/10
Music Box
Box Office $0.09 million
$29.95 DVD
Not rated.

In French with English subtitles.
Stars Jean Dujardin, Louise Monot, Rüdiger Vogler.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the “OSS 117” films based on Jean Bruce’s spy novels were run-of-the-mill espionage thrillers, before a 2006 reboot turned the franchise into a spoof of the genre.

The first film, Cairo, Nest of Spies, and its sequel, Lost in Rio, are shot to evoke the feeling of the 1960s, using simpler cinematography, bright colors and cheesy rear-projection effects.

Lost in Rio stars French comedian Jean Dujardin as Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath, agent OSS 117 of the French secret service. As played by Dujardin, OSS 117 is a racist, misogynist buffoon with no grasp of the changing world around him.

Set in 1967, 12 years after the events of the previous film, Lost in Rio sends OSS 117 to Brazil to locate a Nazi fugitive and recover a list of French leaders who collaborated with the Nazis during World War II. The list is being used to extort the French government, who want to buy the list to prevent any further embarrassment. Arriving in Rio de Janeiro, OSS 117 teams with a sexy agent of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, which is also interested in finding the Nazi.

Their only lead is the Nazi’s son, who has taken up with a pack of stoned hippies who live on the beach, much to the displeasure of OSS 117. From there, Lost in Rio is a pretty straightforward skewering of various spy-movie conventions, from car chases to airplane stunts to climactic showdowns on historical landmarks. The film even throws in an homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo for good measure.

The film’s dry European wit is good for more than a few laughs and is worth at least one viewing, especially for fans of James Bond and other spy fiction.

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