Total Recall: Jean Reno's Best Movies

We count down the best-reviewed work of the Alex Cross star.

Jean Reno

Most American filmgoers didn't know who he was prior to The Professional in 1994, but Jean Reno was already a CÚsar-nominated titan of French cinema at that point -- and his filmography has only broadened in the nearly 20 years since, with comedies, dramas, and big-budget action pictures being added to the list along the way. With Reno making an appearance in this weekend's Alex Cross, we decided now would be the perfect time to take a look back at some of his brightest critical highlights, and you know what that means: It's time for Total Recall!


58%

10. La Rafle

Films inspired by the Jewish Holocaust of World War II are a crowded genre, but writer/director Roselyne Bosch's La Rafle stands out from the pack -- not only is it inspired by a true story, but it features performances from some of the people who lived through the incident referenced in its title, the Rafle du Vel' d'Hiv of 1942. Reliving the travails of French Jews who were arrested with the assistance of policemen working with the Nazis, La Rafle has some weighty stuff to deal with -- and although some critics felt that Bosch played things a little too safe to achieve maximum impact, others were deeply moved. "Bosch is working in unabashed historical epic mode here, balancing individual stories with grand-scale awfulness effectively," argued Tom Long of the Detroit News. "She never swerves for cheap sentiment, she just lays it all out."

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61%

9. Mission: Impossible

After breaking through in The Professional, Reno started fielding offers from Hollywood, and by 1995, American filmgoers were seeing him in films like French Kiss -- as well as Mission: Impossible, which found him playing a member of the secret team assembled by an on-the-run Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) to flush out a rogue agent (Jon Voight). Blending big-budget action set pieces with all the disguises, double-crosses, and cool gadgets that fans of the TV show could hope for, M:I proved a mission impossible not to accept for critics like Roger Ebert, who summed up its appeal succinctly: "Tom Cruise looks cool and holds our attention while doing neat things that we don't quite understand."

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63%

8. The Big Blue

France's biggest box-office hit of the 1980s, The Big Blue follows the real-life relationship between a pair of competitive free divers (played by Reno and Jean-Marc Barr) whose childhood friendship fosters a bond that not even their grown-up competition can break. While a number of critics found the movie's feel-good melodrama a little hard to take, audiences certainly responded to it -- and even if the fictionalized exploits cooked up by writer/director Luc Besson didn't really correspond with the true story that inspired them, they resonated with critics like Ian Nathan of Empire, who wrote, "This simple tale of love, friendship and the sea lingers in the mind long after the final credits."

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68%

7. The Crimson Rivers

Reno has attracted a lot of attention while playing characters on the wrong side of the law, but for 2000's The Crimson Rivers, he was one of the good guys -- an upstanding cop whose investigation into a brutal murder leads him to a faraway town, and into the path of a separate case being followed by a younger officer (Vincent Cassel). Writer/director Mathieu Kassovitz delved unflinchingly into the story's gory details -- but unlike a fair number of grisly cop thrillers, Rivers didn't neglect to develop a cast of interesting characters to support all the mystery and horror. And the cast was more than up for the challenge, according to critics like Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle, who observed, "Some actors are just automatically the moral locus of every scene they're in. They're the major movie stars, and Reno is one of those."

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68%

6. Ronin

Action thrillers set in Europe are a dime a dozen, but 1998's Ronin boasts a better pedigree than most: Its script was co-written by David Mamet (working under a pseudonym) and it was helmed by director John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate), working with a cast that included Robert De Niro, Stellan Skarsgard, and -- naturally -- Jean Reno. Filled with plenty of car chases, double-crosses, and exotic locales, Ronin drummed up $70 million at the box office while earning positive reviews from critics like Variety's Todd McCarthy, who called it "a pleasurable throwback to the sort of gritty, low-tech international thriller that was a staple of the 1960s."

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Comments

Dave J

Dave J

"La Femme Nikita" is groundbreaking!

Oct 17 - 04:21 PM

Kriftonucci

Jim Ylonen

What about "Tais Toi!"? That movie was awesome even outside of France!

Oct 17 - 04:53 PM

Austin Griffith

Austin Griffith

What about The Pink Panter remake........

Oct 17 - 05:19 PM

Kurtiss Keefner

Kurtiss Keefner

That movie doesn't belong on anyone's "Best of" List

Oct 17 - 06:06 PM

Joshua Chatelain

Joshua Chatelain

The Pink Panter? Not only has Jean Reno started doing porn, but he's doing remakes of old porn? How the mighty have fallen.

Oct 17 - 06:32 PM

Sean Hoffman

Sean Hoffman

My favorite!!! Lmao

Oct 20 - 11:17 AM

Kurtiss Keefner

Kurtiss Keefner

That movie doesn't belong on anyone's "Best of" List

Oct 17 - 06:06 PM

Joshua Chatelain

Joshua Chatelain

The Pink Panter? Not only has Jean Reno started doing porn, but he's doing remakes of old porn? How the mighty have fallen.

Oct 17 - 06:32 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Reno IS LEON!

"Alex Cross" is still gonna suuck, though.

Oct 17 - 06:35 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

He Survived Godzilla, he can Survive Alex Cross.

Oct 17 - 11:15 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

The movie I want to see...."Godzilla Vs. Tyler Perry".

Oct 18 - 10:34 AM

Will Klein

Will Klein

I don't care what anybody says, I loved Godzilla (1998). And whenever somebody mentions Jean Reno... The *first* thing I think of is Mr. French. "Uh, you better step on it Mr. French!" Hahaha, makes me laugh every time!

Oct 17 - 07:29 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

You're excused for liking that Godzilla, but only if you were 8 when you saw it...

Oct 18 - 08:33 AM

This comment has been removed.

Bryan S.

Bryan Sein

Completely disagree. Ronin is avery underrated 90's film. One of DeNiro's best IMO.

Oct 19 - 09:50 AM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

Remember in MI:1 when Cruise convinces Reno that the disc he has in his hand is a fake and then Reno throws the disc in the trash and storms off, only to have Cruise dig the disc back out of the trash because it was the real one? This scene always pissed me off because you can clearly see the disc break when Reno spikes the disc into the trash.

Oh ya, The Professional, Ronin and La Femme Nikita are great.

Oct 17 - 09:46 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

He Survived Godzilla, he can Survive Alex Cross.

Oct 17 - 11:15 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

The movie I want to see...."Godzilla Vs. Tyler Perry".

Oct 18 - 10:34 AM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

Dunno if anyone remembers the old PS2 games but not only did he supply the voice he literally was the character kicking all kinds of ass in Onimusha 3.

Oct 17 - 11:18 PM

Sarfaraz Abbasi

Sarfaraz Abbasi

I first watched him in Mission Impossible when it was released. What a memory!

Oct 18 - 12:29 AM

detroit666

Dawn HAvard

The only good thing about the American version of Gozilla was Reno. He "almost" saved the movie.

Oct 18 - 05:33 AM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

You're excused for liking that Godzilla, but only if you were 8 when you saw it...

Oct 18 - 08:33 AM

Ralph Wilcox

Ralph Wilcox

what about COUPLES RETREAT?!?!

Oct 18 - 09:24 AM

Total  S.

Total Stranger

I always found Leon: The Professional to be spellbinding. I think its damn near perfect. A lot if it has to do with Gary Oldman. Every inch of him was magnificent in that. Then I saw him in True Romance and its full on. He's the best. "He must have thought it was white boy day. It ain't white boy day, is it?" "Nah man...it aint white boy day."

Oct 18 - 09:24 AM

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