Raid dingue (RAID: Special unit) – Dany Boon

It’s a testament to the popularity of Dany Boon that a run-of the-mill comedy like RAID Dingue can pull in over a million spectators in less than a week. Boon has been a sure-fire hit at the box office since the huge success of Bienvenue Chez les Ch’tis (Welcome to the Sticks) in 2008. And RAID Dingue has had the best opening week for a French production since Luc Besson’s Lucy in 2014. Boon’s popularity is no doubt due to his decision to stick to a tried and tested formula – a simple, predictable plot aimed at pulling in the whole family. Boon hands over the main role here to Alice Pol, as Johanna, a clumsy, gauche trainee recruit to France’s elite RAID police force.  Boon, who is directing his fifth full length feature, has stepped back from his usual madcap persona to play a melancholic RAID officer in charge of training the new recruits. Johanna fails spectacularly at every task she is set, while Boon’s macho Eugène rails about the unsuitability of women to the elite force. It’s a sign events are on a downward slide when a film dresses butch men in women’s clothes to squeeze out a few extra laughs. Fortunately Yvan Attal is there to save the day with an outrageously over-the-top performance as a Balkan terrorist. This is a case of directing-by-numbers for Boon who may need to try harder if he’s to stay in favour with French cinemagoers.

Johanna Pasquali has always dreamed of joining the RAID special unit. Her two attempts at becoming a member of the elite force have failed miserably. But Johanna can still count on her father, the interior minister (Michel Blanc), to give her a helping hand. Hoping a tough two-week training course will convince Johanna she is not cut out for the job backfires  spectacularly. And she is finally given a chance to prove her worth, much to frustration of her training instructor Eugène Froissard.

Given the tense situation in France after several terrorist attacks, it’s a bold move to portray the men in the front line of the country’s defence in a comedy film. But Boon manages to stay on the right side of good taste by giving the audience an insight into the dangerous job of the RAID while keeping the comedy centred around new recuit Johanna and her relationship with Eugène.  It’s a shame a good supporting cast, including Blanc and Sabine Azéma, is given little to work with and RAID Dingue slowly sinks under its inability to deliver anything new. Fans of Boon will be pleased to hear his next film – Une Jolie Ch’tite Famille – takes him back to familiar Ch’tis territory

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *