Country: France. Japan.
Language: French. Japanese.
Release Date: 2001
AKA: La petite moutarde qui monte au nez
Starring: Jean Reno, Ryoko Hirosue.
Director: Gerard Krawczyk.


Hubert Fiorentini (Reno) is a burly French cop travelling to Japan to settle an old debt. With his old-school tactics and pit-bull disposition, he is all business and doesn't suffer fools easily. But his routine existence is disrupted when he learns the only woman he ever loved is dead. Summoned to Tokyo to settle her estate, he soon suspects her death was no accident. When he discovers that he is the father of her spirited teenaged daughter, things really get complicated.

Firstly, let me just say that Hubert is a caricature of every tough cop / bad guy Reno has ever played and he is displayed in all his glory in a comic book way. When he hits bad guys they fly across the room, literally, and it's hilarious to watch. Everything in this film is over the top but somehow, for me at least, it works very well. The scene where the film gets it's name from is memorable and cements Hubert's place in the "You talkin to me?" and "Go on punk make my day" bad ass category. Actually, thinking about it, there are a lot of scenes that do that.

Supporting actor Michel Muller as "Momo" gives a great performance as the side-kick. And, Ryoko Hirosue's hyper "Yumi" steals just about every scene she is in, with her Hello Kitty / Sailor Moon wardrobe and spikey hair she is a stereotypical Japanese hipster teen.

This movie is over the top funny with a capital "F", a wacky comedy that also contains some action but there is the Hughesian boyfriend for Yumi and Hubert's disdain for him bringing a little teen angst into play. One scene that stands out in combining the action and father-daughter antics seamlessly, is in a department store shopping trip, where Yumi runs delightedly from one section to the next while Reno quietly manages to find and knock out some beefy thugs that had been tailing them, all, miraculously, without attracting her attention.

Ah, but Herbert has been handed a life he didn't think was possible, he now has a family and does the only thing he can do to save Yumi. The style of the film changes quite often but I enjoyed the ride. Reno offers a standout performance, as do his supporting cast. The script was written by Luc Besson, so what else could you expect but wonderful.