The French Connection II 1975

French Connection II

Critics Consensus

Flawed and more conventional than its predecessor, French Connection II still offers a wealth of dynamic action and gritty characterizations.

76%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 25

62%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 7,708

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Movie Info

This sequel to William Friedkin's 1971 crime drama finds Detective "Popeye" Doyle (Gene Hackman) still hot on the trail of slippery drug trafficker Charnier (Fernando Rey), but this time in Marseilles, France. Uprooted from his familiar New York City beat, Doyle struggles to assert himself in a strange city and break the drug ring wide open. When Charnier's goons force him into a heroin addiction, the tough cop must summon every ounce of his courage to kick the habit cold turkey.

Cast & Crew

Critic Reviews for The French Connection II

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (1) | Fresh (19) | Rotten (6)

  • I kept wondering why French Connection II hadn't stayed on location in New York, where Popeye belonged, instead of going to Marseille, a place it's patently clear no sane superior would ever send him.

    October 23, 2004 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • The whole film is essentially one long chase, separated by constant disagreements and politics between nationalities.

    August 29, 2020 | Rating: 5/10 | Full Review…
  • I believe that The French Connection II is all about the slow-burn chase. And I believe the film succeeds in being its own unique thriller that doesn't mindlessly ape its predecessor.

    April 10, 2020 | Full Review…
  • Oftentimes the plot is sacrificed to an action statement... The acting, however, Is faultless.

    December 4, 2019 | Full Review…
  • French Connection II, sequel or no, comes off as more of a felt work, and what I make contact with through it is a director.

    March 14, 2015 | Full Review…
  • looks lost in space and time

    December 17, 2009 | Rating: 5/10 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The French Connection II

  • Sep 27, 2015
    For a film that has no business existing, it's not half bad . . . still unnecessary (to give Doyle a measure of closure, however small, disregards a lot of what made the first one so great) but interesting enough to work as a "fish out of water" thriller.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 22, 2014
    "French Connection II: Return of the Frogs"! If you want to get things done, then you need to go for the source, thus, this time around, good ol' Popeye Doyle takes France! Oh, oui; "Marseille calling to the faraway towns; now war is declared, and battle come down!'" Amazing how this series is still older than "London Calling", but that's not the only historical liberty taken here, because where the first film was a loose interpretation of true events, here, they just make a bunch of junk up to try and wrap up the story. Yeah, you can always trust that Hollyweird will go and mess up some artistic ambiguity, although, I am glad to get some closure here, because when I usually watch a John Frankenheimer film, I'm hoping that it comes to some kind of an end eventually. Now, that's not to say that I don't enjoy Frankenheimer films, as much as it is to say that I think that there was still some time left on "The Iceman Cometh" at its premiere when this film came out a year-and-a-half later. Man, that was a good film, and this film is pretty decent, too, but it's barely even up to par with its predecessor, and it's certainly not as refreshing as said predecessor. Although I find the original a little overrated, there's no denying its importance as an innovative police drama, but with this sequel, there's hardly anything new, and I would be much more okay with that if this film didn't have the nerve to conform to conventions which the predecessor transcended. As if that's not annoying enough, a lot of the tropes are of a surprisingly fluffy nature which contradicts the hard seriousness found throughout the predecessor, and is found in plenty of glimpses here, in a way which jars into and from the lighter tones unevenly, when there is, in fact, tonal kick, that is. I will go so far as to admit that, although this sequel is less compelling, it's more entertaining, as there's more activity to plotting and liveliness to direction than there was in the distinctly meandering predecessor, and yet, John Frankenheimer still hits some directorial dry spells, exacerbated by moments in which plotting activity lapses. Clocking in at two hours, this film is longer than its already overdrawn predecessor, and although there is a little more going on, there are still periods of meandering which help in retarding momentum, while a lot of the narrative activity I am talking about proves to be filler which altogether lightens up a sense of actual progression. The film gets to be a little uneven in focus, when it is focused at all, and when you couple that with the dry spells and inconsistencies in tone, you end up with a meandering affair, sort of like the somehow superior predecessor. Well, just as the predecessor in question was ultimately dropped just shy of rewarding by natural limitations to its minimalist plot, this film is secured by its own natural shortcomings, and yet, in all honesty, this story concept still holds the potential to do what the predecessor couldn't do: reward, for it offers more dramatic weight to ultimately betray with familiarity and even more tonal issues. I think I may be even more disappointed here, and yet, just as I enjoyed the predecessor, I enjoy this lesser, yet still decent film of decent writing. Honestly, there really wasn't much to Ernest Tidyman's script for "The French Connection", but what it did offer was some genuine originality and a gutsy, almost nuanced attention to realism, and here, Laurie and Robert Dillon and Alexander Jacobs turn in a script whose dragging and conformity, particularly to fluffier touches which don't exactly fit amidst the seriousness, although that's not to say this screenplay abandon plenty of wit and memorable set pieces to hold your attention, until highlights in writing nuance come into play. There are occasions of solid realization in characterization and dramatic writing that I wasn't really expecting here, and although they are simply occasions found within an uneven script that is typically not much more than light, they provide glimpses of what could have been. Yes, there is potential present, for although this film suffers from natural shortcomings, just like its predecessor, there's still plenty of conceptual intrigue to this subject matter, and it's typically found within areas that bypass fluff for an unexpectedly solid deal of humanizing material that is truly brought to life by the portrayals of well-drawn characters. There are decent performances found throughout the film, particularly with, say, the charming Bernard Fresson, but it does ultimately come down to leading man Gene Hackman, who never loses that hard charm which made his rough, but well-intentioned cop role in the predecessor so iconic, and is sometimes given the opportunity to really flex his acting chops. In my opinion, what really drives this film up there with its predecessor is a segment introduced somewhere around the halfway mark that offers way more dramatic weight than what was ever seen in the predecessor, portraying a period of pain and vulnerability which defines new depths within the Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle lead, and is driven by Hackman's often astoundingly penetrating emotional range, in addition to heights in direction. Although I wasn't crazy about William Friedkin's slow-burn storytelling in the predecessor, its sophistication and subtle intensity drove the final product a fair distance, whereas John Frankenheimer's direction here feels less assured, and yet, with that said, Frankenheimer does not hit quite as many slow spells, and really livens things up with anything from engrossing action sequences, to an application of his thoughtfulness to the heights in tension which subtly, but surely, resonates. There are times where this film matches the kick of its predecessor, and times in which it treads ground of engagement value that the predecessor failed to achieve, and while this effort is, on the whole, pretty underwhelming, maybe more so than its predecessor, what it does right secures it as just as endearing as the original, which also could have done more. In the end, the film falls into plenty of surprising conventions during its tonally and structurally uneven, and often blandly cold progression along a narrative of limited consequence, yet enough meat for fair writing, strong acting, and sometimes gripping direction to secure "French Connection II" with its predecessor as a decent and often compelling, if improvable police drama. 2.75/5 - Decent
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Nov 09, 2013
    Not as exciting as the first installment (at least not until the final 15 minutes of the film), Perhaps too much time was spent on the addiction/recovery aspects of the story, and I did not feel the international political intrigue was played up as well as it might have been. Still, it is a worthy sequel.
    Christian C Super Reviewer
  • Jul 29, 2012
    "The French Connection II" simply lacks the punch of the original. Instead of well-choreographed action scenes, what we get are overlong dramatic ones. By giving the Gene Hackman character more depth, the film makes its biggest mistake. Hackman is as terrific as ever, but these scenes bring the film's pace to a halt from which it never recovers. Yes, it can be exciting at times and by incorporating the same handheld camerawork as its predecessor, the film gives off that gritty, documentary-like feel, but it just frankly isn't all that interesting.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer

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