on September 8, 2013
...May I have more please?
An excellent series that was off to a dubious start but caught the early stumble and roared back with well fleshed characters, a sound and plausable
story line. Better that very good direction and competent production.
Mmm. Mmm. GOOD!
Bring Frank Riva back.
By the way, M.Delon should be ashamed of looking so Damned good at his age. Gives the rest of us geezers a bad name.
Get it. You will enjoy. A LOT!
Surely one of the coolest cats to ever grace the silver screen, Alain Delon has long been one of my favorites. With so many iconic roles spread across six decades, I still always picture Delon as the enigmatic Thomas Ripley in 1960's "Purple Noon." With his icy good looks, his dangerous allure might have been overlooked or undervalued in favor of more romantic leading roles. Working with the best directors of the French New Wave, however, this never happened. His best performances disarmed us and surprised us with his attractive exterior often masking a rather ruthless inner beast! One of the pleasures inherent in the DVD universe is that it gives you the opportunity to catch programs you'd never otherwise have the chance to see. As I really enjoy international programming (not to mention being a huge Delon fan), specifically mysteries or crime drama, I snapped at the chance to sample the French offering "Frank Riva: The Complete Series."
Don't get too excited, however, by the complete series moniker thinking that you'll be getting a massive set. "Frank Riva" consists of two seasons (shot in 2003 and 2004), each with only three episodes. The episodes themselves are approximately 90 minutes in length for about nine hours of viewing content spread across a three disc DVD set. And hopefully I don't have to mention it, but this is in French with English subtitles.
"Frank Riva" unravels as a typical crime procedural. After the initial set-up that introduces us to a complicated back story, the show falls into a more expected pattern. In each episode, there might be a peripheral crime to solve. But throughout the season, a more intricate story arc that brings Delon face to face with demons he thought he left behind 25 years ago provide more grit and character development. To paraphrase Pacino in "Godfather 3," just when he thought he got out, they keep pulling him back in! Delon plays a retired detective who is called back into service after the death of his brother. Going back to work, however, brings him back into contact with the drug syndicate he battled in a previous life. Reuniting with persons from his past (ex, daughter, former partner) and assembling a new team, Riva once again faces the treacherous Loggia mob.
1) The Man From Nowhere: A fitting introduction that brings Riva out of retirement and sets up the principle storyline involving the Loggia crime family.
2) Star-Crossed: Riva reunites with a lost love even as he investigates the brutal slaying of three Loggia henchman outside a trendy nightclub.
3) The Last of the Three: Riva's team is attempting to thwart a big drug deal, but must also contend with the abduction of someone quite close to him.
4) The Wolves: Continuing to seek an entry into the Loggia drug business, Riva follows a trail that leads to a South American connection.
5) The Red Angel: Acting on advance knowledge, Riva and team are tasked to protect a visiting judge who has been marked for assassination.
6) The Hunted Man: The tables are turned on Riva who becomes the principle suspect in the slaying of a police commisioner.
In the end, "Frank Riva" is both stylish and effective. It may not be the most original program in the world, however, and isn't necessarily one of my new favorites (although I did enjoy it). Riva is certainly a familiar archetype. A cop who isn't afraid to color outside the lines to achieve results, this rogue tough guy is all too commonplace. However, it's worth a look when he's played by Delon. An interesting addition to the Delon's impressive resume, you'll definitely want to check this out if you're a fan. KGHarris, 8/13.
on September 8, 2013
I saw this TV show while visiting San Francisco this summer. It's not available in my area, so I ordered it from Amazon. If you enjoying hearing the beautiful French language and don't mind subtitles, you'll love this French police drama. The series is captivating, and Alain Delon is quite simply gorgeous.
on October 9, 2013
This was a terrific Series!...I only wish there was more of them...It's not only a great detective story it also was a great family story...The actors are teriffic and the plot is fantastic...I really enjoyed every minute of it and would like to know if there is an equivlant to it...Watched it from beginning to end
on April 14, 2014
It is amazing what a difference it makes having a genuine star heading the cast. It is undeniably Alain Delon’s star power that gives FRANK RIVA it’s gravitas.
One of the most enjoyable cop shows to come along in awhile, all six episodes of this outstanding mini-series are extremely well done. There are a number of clever twists and turns but the real distinguishing element is Delon. Looking world-weary and truly like an exile (Riva went into hiding 25 years ago after having infiltrated the highest levels of organized crime). Delon’s acting is effortless and he just lets everyone else come to him. There is a scene in the last episode, when Delon as Riva is on the run, having been falsely accused of murder. Of course his closest friends and co-workers in the police seek to help him clear his name and wind up meeting him in a pool hall. They enter as one, drawn to the super-cool Riva, sitting nonchalantly on the edge of a pool table. It is moments like this that cannot be acted, they simply are, and only a true star can make it work.
The casting sessions for FRANK RIVA must have been something to behold–all the women in this mini-series are gorgeous. At the top of the list, in this reviewer’s opinion, is Sophie Von Kessler as Riva’s immediate boss Superintendent Lydie Herzog. Being a beautiful professional in her mid-thirties makes Lydie quite the catch, but she immediately sets her sights on Riva. Were he played by almost any other actor this would seem foolish, but Delon–in his late sixties when this was filmed in 2003–is wholly believable as the object of her interest.
FRANK RIVA is one of those programs that you want to watch back to back right through, but to do so is to forgo the experience of savouring each episode. This high-quality cop show breathes new life into the genre, again predominantly because of Delon’s presence. He also co-produced the program so credit must fall to him for the overall production as well as his central performance.
In an era when anti-heroes and mavericks continue to rule the law and order roost, Delon’s Frank Riva stands out. Described as existing in a grey area Riva is, in fact, very black and white. His integrity and sense of right and wrong is like a core of steel. He is a true traditional hero in this sense, and that is why he is so compelling to watch. He’s also deeply sensitive and his openness to showing affection not only to his friends but to babies and even his cat, make him even more likeable. He doesn’t have to be tough, he just is.
His 25 years away from the game may mean he has to shake off some rust, but Frank Riva lives and breathes his job. You’ll be following him every step of the way.
on October 28, 2013
Riveting detective series with excellent plot lines and wonderful characters. Alain Delon is perfect for the part and of course as usual is his appealing self. The other characters in the story are woven well into the story and I highly recommend the series for those who like good detective stories withou too much gore.
on May 15, 2015
In "Frank Riva" (The Complete Series 2003 - 04), Alain Delon was back in old style and form! Alain Delon is hard-nosed detective 'Frank Riva', who has been brought back 25 years after he was exiled/disappeared and, presumed dead by his enemies in the "underworld". It seems he is now needed to investigate the apparent set-up and murder of his own brother and, an apparent band of infiltrators/collaborators within the Police Dept. itself. Watch as 'Frank Riva' evens the score, his own way!
Alain Delon was basically reviving some of his past incarnations as tough-cops: i.e. "Un flic" 1972, "Flic Story" 1975, "Pour la peau d'un flic" 1981, etc. --- so it wasn't much of a stretch in terms of character; he was cool and tough as ever, even at the tender age of 67 (man, I hope I can look as good as this guy at that age)! The supporting cast were all very good: Jacques Perrin, Sophie Von Kessel, Cédric Chevalme, Mireille Darc, Elsa Kikoïne, François Vincentelli, Luis Marquès, etc. Six episodes in all. You won't be disappointed, I highly recommend it, especially for fans of Alain Delon. The DVD (3 DVD set) picture and sound quality is excellent. NTSC, French (English subtitles), NR 552 mins.
Love and Peace,
on January 3, 2016
With few exceptions I find mob-based dramas, especially American ones, to be utterly dull. This is an exception, and it is French. The supporting actors help the main character Riva come to life. Bigger than life perhaps, but that works with the plot, which has a few unexpected but not far-fetched twists. Also, the series comes to a natural conclusion. Bravo to the producers for not prolonging its life artificially beyond that point, like many series do (like Downton Abbey after the extraordinarily good first two seasons).
My wife and I have been on a bit of a run with Nordic Noir dramas. I'd stumbled upon this while searching around and bought it because I knew my wife used to love Alain Delon.
We really wanted to like this series but we just couldn't. Some strange decisions were made to make this like some 80's detective production. When the sultry sax started playing all the time, we knew we were in the wrong place with this series.
There's an interesting mobster versus cop story here but between that sax and some rather stilted acting we barely made it past the first episode before just giving up. Plus, there's an actress speaking English but dubbed over in French which drove me crazy (I hate dubbing). You'd think there are plenty of female actresses in France that could be part of this production.
It's a shame because there are some great actors involved. Jacques Perrin, Philippe Leroy, and of course Alain Delon. There was a lot of potential but in the end, it just felt flat, like someone wanted to just give it a try but without really trying to make a great series. Instead, they just wanted to bring some famous French actors together and have fun making a series.
It's a personal opinion so take it with a grain of salt but I can't recommend this series.
on January 30, 2014
Delon is at his best; the plot is very good taking just the right amount of time to develop the characters. It is a pleasure to watch the twists and turns of the plot. Well worth buying and watching