While ‘Mesrine: Death Instinct’ chronicled the ascendancy of Vincent Cassel’s cocksure French crim, Jacques Mesrine, this second chapter ditches the mechanics of his life story in favour of a ruminative, often unsympathetic inspection of his contradictory character traits (as reflected in an ever-changing wardrobe of disguises). The early stages hint at a ‘Heat’-like battle of wits between Mesrine and tireless police commissioner Broussard (Oliver Gourmet), but a last-minute escape from justice puts the spotlight back on Cassel. The film continues as a wandering account of how Mesrine’s various antics and encounters shaped him as a person. Unlike its more lively predecessor, this is more interested in dissecting the criminal mindset and proposes the theory that the acts of a felon prevent him or her from being able to maintain logical personal and political ideals. In one scene, for example, Mesrine violently forces a family to hide him from the cops, then, the next minute, he’s handing over loot in return for their services.