By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist May 24, 2011 at 1:25AM
No country loves the crime genre quite as much as the French. Sure, it might have been derived from the States, but it was the French who really took it to their hearts, giving directors like Sam Fuller and Alfred Hitchcock the critical respect they craved, and reinventing it with the likes of "À bout de souffle" and "Rififi," while many of the best recent examples, like Jacques Audiard's "The Beat That My Heart Skipped" and "A Prophet," came from France. And if the French crime picture has one actor firmly associated with the genre, their Robert De Niro or Al Pacino, it's Vincent Cassel.
The intense Cassel has played heavies all over the world, but from his 1995 break through "La Haine" to the epic two-parter "Mesrine," he's starred in homegrown genre fare as well, and it looks like he's going to reprise one of his earlier takes on the gangster flick, as Screen Daily report that the star is in talks for a sequel to Jan Kounen's 1997 crime flick, "Dobermann."
Based on a series of novels by Joël Houssin, the film starred Cassel as the leader of a gang of bank robbers (with the actor's long-term partner, Monica Belucci, as his deaf-mute girlfriend), who come against a psychotic cop, played by Tchéky Karyo. Marco Polo Productions and Acteurs Auteurs Associés (also behind the international heist flick "Sleight of Hand," which Mel Gibson is circling) are backing the sequel, which will be entitled "Dobermann 2: Arm Wrestle," and Houssin will again write the script, while Karyo appears to be signed to reprise his role. Right now, it doesn't seem like music video veteran Kounen, who last helmed "Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky," is returning, but that could change.
It also seems like we could see some big names joining the surviving cast members: producer Rionda Del Castro says "Audiences all over the world have been waiting over 12 years for "Dobermann 2" and this will be a spectacular action-packed European production, shot in French and English with not only French actors but also an international cast.” We can't say we're hugely excited about this, as much as we like Cassel: the first film was a hyperactive, empty, style-but-no-substance actioner with little to recommend it except the lashings of ultraviolence. But maybe things will improve in the second installment. The budget's likely to be around $35 million, and shooting will start next year, so we'll likely see this some time in 2013.