Jack Mimoun and the Secrets of Val Verde: Jungle Crust Review

adventure is not adventure

First is the desire to love. The desire to laugh, smile and get excited about a French adventure film with a good budget (12-13 million euros) and an obvious ambition. Because this Jack Mimoun is of course in the shadow of Indiana Jones and others, but also in line with Jean-Paul Belmondo and Philippe de Broca; as if to better remember how much this cinema must always be there, in France.

et Jack Mimoun and the secrets of Val Verde It starts well, with an introduction more focused on the most elementary imagination (a mysterious man, a mysterious island, a mysterious treasure map) than the great blagounette. Mathieu Lamboley’s music, ambitious and sensational, is the icing on the cake of this expedition outing.

Then there is reality. In a few minutes and sketches, the main characters are drawn with a brush bigger than a broom. The adventurer is a sweet moron worthy of NRJ12, and the scientist embarks on the adventure after flipping through a magazine. The broken arms team is formed and the heavy, slow comic mechanics take over. Little by little, envy gives way to boredom, resulting in a familiar and unpleasant feeling: another (French) film that doesn’t turn out well.

Jack Mimoun and the secrets of Val Verde: photo, Malik Bentalha
Liana without madness

the laughing man

Until then associated with gems of French comedy (not) like Pattaya et The DoudouComedian Malik Bentalha has probably given his all to make this big boy’s dream come true. The idea came from him, and he co-wrote the script with Florent Bernard (who worked for Golden Mustache and The flame) and Tristan Schulmann (goal of the dead). The character comes from him, and he embodies this famous Jack Mimoun. He also wanted to direct and eventually co-directed the film with Ludovic Colbeau-Justin (The lionwith Dany Boon and Philippe Katerine). Jack Mimoun and the secrets of Val Verdeso it is him, everywhere, almost all the time.

First surprise: Malik Bentalha, the actor, is very lacking in energy and madness.. The desire to be placed not in the foreground, but among a gang, does not explain everything. On screen, he appears to be constantly under-rev, which is a shame for this Jack Mimoun conceived as an unofficial descendant of Mike Horn and Bear Grylls (reality side), and Jack Burton and Indiana Jones (movie side). . A little too serious to go all the way against supporting roles, a little too ridiculous to really take off as a hero, he can only count on cuteness. Or a crumb in an adventure comedy of this type, and especially with this setting.

Jack Mimoun and the secrets of Val Verde: photo, Malik BentalhaAnaconda (without Jennifer Lopez)

Car Jack Mimoun and the secrets of Val Verde it’s a group movie, and this group is definitely the worst of the screen. However, the talented Joséphine Japy can’t get anywhere with this poor cardboard character, who probably has the worst scenes. Supposedly the engine of the adventure, thanks to a motivation expressed with a jackhammer, oscillates between mental acuity and deep naivety depending on the situation. Her past, her lies, her emotions, her fears: everything is treated and over-explained in fourth gear, so that she ultimately has no personality. While she is one of the main characters, in theory.

In the background is the Patio de los Milagros. Benoît Magimel is amazing as a Benoît Magimel out of time, Jérôme Commandeur is perfectly forgettable as Jérôme Commandeur, and François Damiens is obviously funny in the role of François Damiens. Except it’s a double-edged sword in that it’s the equivalent of a blowtorch on a candle: it lights everything up with a few pearls of absurdity, while further highlighting the drab emptiness after that.

All of this comes, of course, from a pure tradition of the genre, where the supporting roles are puppets (random, Danny DeVito in In search of the green diamond), and the bad ones, really rotten (Zolo in In search of the green diamond, because yes, this movie is fantastic). And where extreme inconsistencies (this recorder is damn solid) are legion. But Jack Mimoun and the secrets of Val Verde it doesn’t take long to build relationships between these characters (especially Aurélie and Jonas, and Jack and Jean-Marc), who all seem to be drawn into the plot, running and screaming without looking at each other.

Jack Mimoun and the Secrets of Val Verde: photo, Joséphine Japy, Jérôme CommandeurLost season 1 episode 1


What if we close our eyes to the characters to open them to adventure? It’s less bad, but not much better. Malik Bentalha and his co-authors have carefully studied the subject to offer a crazy jungle primer, with tarantula, scorpion, quicksand and other dangers of mother nature. They also revised their classics, with airplane carcass in the trees, rope bridge, lost temple and secret passageways. The movie overflows with supposed winksbecause it is also (above all) a pleasure for the movie buff who presides over it.

Jack Mimoun and the secrets of Val Verde also has for him the dimensions of his ambition. Shot in natural settings, the film quickly settles into the appropriate locations and takes the opportunity to avoid the endless interiors and nooks and crannies of costumed studios. Here again, the appetite for vintage cinema is palpable. But that is not enough.

Jack Mimoun and the secrets of Val Verde: photo, Malik Bentalha, Joséphine Japy, Jérôme Commandeur, François DamiensThe Flame, the return

The dangers and jokes are linked to mark the required boxes of the genre and satisfy the dreams of the little ones, but without recreating great magic. The situations and adventures seem superimposed, like bricks without cement. And finally, he misses Jack Mimoun and the secrets of Val Verde a harmony (with humor, with amazement, or even with tenderness), and a global movement to bring all this happy and disjointed mess together.

The film searches endlessly, with little chips here and there. A François Damiens who conquers a few smiles with obviously lunar responses, a Benoît Magimel who reinvigorates the adventure a bit, or a beautiful light effect that illuminates the scenery and the faces in the lost temple. But it is very little for this Jack Mimoun to find his way in the jungle of references and ambitions.

After a terrible epilogue that ends the adventure on the worst possible note (a non-kiss seen a thousand times, a sequel teaser 100% guaranteed and without charm), only one feeling remains: sadness and tiredness. Jack Mimoun and the secrets of Val Verde should continue to serve as an example for the eternal debates on French cinema, especially if success is not at hand. It’s deserved, it’s boring… but “good news”: it’s always less worse than the expensive turnip The secret of the lost citystarring Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum, released in early 2022.

Jack Mimoun and the Secrets of Val Verde : Poster

Leave a Comment