The Squad Homerun

The Squad Homerun
Original title:Antigang, la relève
Director: Benjamin Rocher
Running time:90 minutes
Release date:25 august 2023
Former Antigang legend Niels Cartier, known for his muscular and unconventional methods, left the force following an intervention that went wrong and led to the death of his wife. When the gang of bank robbers responsible for her death reappears eight years later, Niels won't let anyone stand in his way to seek revenge. Even if it means forming an explosive duo with his temperamental 14-year-old daughter...

Mulder's Review

The Squad Homerun is the sequel to 2015's french movie Antigang. The film retains much of the same formula, combining action and humor while introducing a new family dynamic. In the style of American film sagas, this sequel is more effective, offering even more memorable action scenes. As with the first installment, Benjamin Rocher directs the film, with some of the actors from the first installment, including Alban Lenoir, Jean Reno, Stéfi Celma, Sébastien Lalanne and Jean-Toussaint Bernard. 

The film centers on Niels Cartier (Alban Lenoir), once a formidable figure in the Antigang squad, known for his unorthodox methods and relentless pursuit of justice. The story picks up eight years after a fateful operation that led to the tragic loss of his wife. Niels has since left the police force and found an unexpected role as a driving instructor, while raising his teenage daughter, Charlotte-Serge (Cassiopée Mayance), on his own. When the gang responsible for his wife's death resurfaces, Niels is forced to resume his quest for justice. In an unexpected twist, he forms an alliance with his headstrong but ingenuous daughter, leading to a partnership that tests their bond and their determination to exact revenge. Director Benjamin Rocher revisits the buddy-movie concept that enjoyed its heyday in the late '80s and early '90s.

As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that the film faces multiple shifts in tone. Between gritty action sequences reminiscent of Michael Mann's Heat and lighter comic exchanges, The Squad Homerun aims to appeal to a wide audience and avoids unnecessary outbursts of violence. In its desire to satisfy both action fans and families, the film succeeds where many others fail, and offers a coherent atmosphere. 

It's also in the chemistry between the main characters that the film scores points. Alban Lenoir, as Niels Cartier, brings a blend of rugged determination and endearing vulnerability. His evolution from implacable lawman to protective father in search of justice is captivating, and Lenoir's charisma carries the film through its weaker moments. Equally at ease in the many action scenes as in the more tender ones, Alban Lenoir once again shows that he has the stature to carry a film in a leading role. The real revelation of the film is Cassiopée Mayance, who plays Charlotte-Serge with undeniable enthusiasm. Mayance's performance brings to life a character that, in the hands of a less gifted actor, might have seemed clichéd and boring. Instead, her energy and authenticity are a captivating force that drives the film forward. There's no doubt that this talented young actress will be making a name for herself again very soon.

However, The Squad Homerun is not without its faults. Although the father-daughter dynamic is a central theme, the exploration of this relationship is not fully developed, the director having wanted to emphasize almost non-stop action and deliver a film that has nothing to envy of current American productions. The potential for deeper emotional resonance remains untapped, leaving the audience waiting for a more substantial evolution and connection between the characters. It's on this point that the film would have benefited from being longer, leaving more room for emotions and character development.

The film also excels in action sequences. Director Benjamin Rocher demonstrates his flair for high-energy scenes, injecting adrenaline into the narrative. From intense shootouts to choreographed confrontations, the film's action moments are a testament to Benjamin Rocher's experience in the genre. These scenes breathe vitality and excitement into the story, becoming its most positive aspect and certainly making this film one of the best new releases available on the Disney+ platform.

The Squad Homerun is a mix of genres that will satisfy fans of both action and family comedies.  It's a fine addition to the franchise, offering many memorable scenes. This film proves to be perfect entertainment for those looking for a light mix of action and family dynamics.

The Squad Homerun 
Directed by Benjamin Rocher
Produced by Éric Laroche, Raphaël Rocher
Written by Benjamin Rocher, Bertrand Soulier
Starring  Alban Lenoir, Jean Reno, Sofia Essaïdi, Cassiopée Mayance, Stéfi Celma, Sébastien Lalanne, Jean-Toussaint Bernard, Oumar Diaw, Adrien Ménielle 
Music by Laurent Perez Del Mar
Cinematography : Maxime Cointe
Edited by Dimitri Amar, Dorian Tabone
Production companies : Empreinte Digitale, Empreinte Cinéma, SND
Distributed by Disney+ (World)
Release date : August 25 2023 (World)
Running time : 90 minutes

Viewed August 25, 2023 (Disney +)

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