Luc Besson is one of those filmmakers that has not only directed some great films like The Professional and The Fifth Element, but has produced and written even more including the Taken series. His latest return behind the camera The Family sports a great cast including Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones, but does it does bring his usual punch to the project or is it a waste of some great talent?
The Family follows a mafia boss and his family who are relocated to a sleepy town in France under the witness protection program after snitching on the mob. Despite the best efforts of their CIA Agent handler to keep them in line, they can't help but revert to old habits and blow their cover by handling their problems the "family" way, enabling their former mafia cronies to track them down. This movie had everything it needed to be entertaining, but somehow just misses the mark in the long run. The story would have worked great if it stuck to the witness protection aspect and them being hunted, but they opted to try and focus on them trying to get acclimated to their new locale and this is where things fall apart. This would have been fine as well, had they given things time to build, but they seemed to rush through it all never giving you a chance to get invested in any of their situations with the exception of the daughter, but just as it seems to go somewhere they quickly wrap it up. Once it does finally get to the second half in relation to the mob tracking the family down it become entertaining again with some great action pieces which is no surprise from Besson. The cast all do a fine job, but mostly seem to be phoning it in with the exception of De Niro in the actual mob moments where he seems to be having some fun back in those roles.
Overall this film doesn’t quite deliver the film that it could have been, but doesn’t completely crash and burn either. Underneath all the wasted time and forced dark comedy aspects was a decent mob story that will most likely entertain some, but will most likely miss the mark for most. If you decide to check it out just keep your expectations low and you might enjoy it.