Drugs on film can make for a sorry affair, and Jan Kounen’s first film since 1997’s ‘Dobermann’ contains perhaps the most embarrassing hallucinatory sequence since Jim Morrison stepped into the desert in Oliver Stone’s ‘The Doors’. Here, the medicine is peyote and the sweating victim is Vincent Cassel’s Mike Blueberry, a sheriff in 1870s California with a slight French twang (explained away by a background in New Orleans). The film climaxes with a near-on five-minute explosion of colours and shapes, and the effect – apart from being comical – is something like staring at one of those once popular, computer-generated trippy posters. Sadly, though, a soaring eagle never appears.
Why this dreamy sequence? Kounen’s story is one of revenge and honour in the Wild West: Mike Blueberry must prevent Wallace Blount (Michael Madsen) – who murdered his girlfriend several years earlier – from plundering a stash of gold. Kounen weaves in the Native American experience for a more spiritual angle than most westerns (hence the peyote), but the ultimate effect is chaotic.