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Film / La Tour Montparnasse Infernale

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Hasta la vista, bye bye!
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La Tour Montparnasse infernale (sometimes translated as Don't Die Too Hard) is a 2001 French comedy film directed by Charles Nemes and starring Ramzy Bedia, Éric Judor and Marina Foïs.

Éric and Ramzy are window washers who work at the Tour Montparnasse in Paris. Eric is in love with Stéphanie, an executive who he has never talked to, but who he sees every day because she works in the skyscrapper. Shortly after the close of business, a group of gangsters enters the building and takes hostage several executives, including Stéphanie. Éric and Ramzy, who have stayed late in the skyscrapper, will try to free her.

A prequel, La Tour de contrôle infernale, was released in 2016.


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La Tour Montparnasse infernale (2001) provides examples of:

  • Air-Vent Passageway: Éric and Ramzy use an air-vent passageway when they are chased by Ming.
  • Are You Sure You Can Drive This Thing?: Éric and Ramzy try to fly a helicopter. It ends in a crash landing.
  • Asshole Victim: The CEO is a horrible person (he slapped his niece in the face because he thought that the colour of the paper she used for a document was ugly; he does not care if his niece is shot down by gangsters...), so the audience does not care if he is taken hostage.
  • Bad Boss: "Machin" abuses his minions: he hits one of them in the face with a gun because he shot in a window. He also shoots Chang down.
  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass: A gangster cut the hand of the CEO's wife, because her hand is necessary to open the second door of the safe. Then the CEO is forced to look into a retinal scanner to open a third door.
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  • Brandishment Bluff: When Ming fights Ramzy, Éric shows up and pretends that he has a gun under his coat of mail. Obviously, it is just a Finger Gun.
  • Bruce Lee Clone: Ming, a martial art fighter with a bowl-cut, a yellow jumpsuits and a nunchaku. (His fight scene with Ramzy is a parody of a scene from Game of Death.)
  • Bullet Time: Parodied when Éric manage to dodge the bullets shot at him.
  • The Cameo: The famous rapper JoeyStarr (of Suprême NTM) plays the role of a policeman, which is quite ironic given the fact that he has had many problems with the police (including being sentenced for insulting the police during his concerts).
  • Coming in Hot: In the end, the helicopter has to crash land into the front of Montparnasse train station.
  • Damsel in Distress: Stéphanie is taken hostage by a group of gangsters. Éric and Ramzy decide to help her. Subverted because she is actually the brains of the operation.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Éric does not get together with Stéphanie in the end.
  • "Die Hard" on an X: A skyscrapper is taken over by gangsters and Éric and Ramzy accidentally use guerrilla tactics to stop them.
  • Disney Death: Machin shoots Stéphanie at point-blank range. She collapses and there is a big bloodstain on her belly. It turns out that this scene was staged by Stéphanie herself.
  • Disney Villain Death: Machin dies when he falls from the helicopter.
  • The Ditz: Éric and Ramzy. Ramzy is slightly more clever than Eric, but he is still a complete doofus.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Éric and Ramzy wear the uniform of the helicopter pilots and their face-concealing helmets to pose as them.
  • Elevator Failure: Chang is in the elevator. Suddenly it stops because a bomb explodes. Chang has to get out through the ceiling of the cabin.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: The group of gangsters is lead by a white Frenchman (Michel Vignault or "Machin"). It includes, besides several white Frenchmen, two Asians (Ming and Chang), a German (Hans), and an African American (Chris).
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The story takes place between the end of the afternoon and the next morning.
  • Fighting with Chucks: Ming uses a nunchaku to fight Éric and Ramzy.
  • The Fool: Éric and Ramzi are two stupid window washers. They do not understand what really happens. They do not realize that Stéphanie is the Big Bad. Highly-trained gangsters are after them to kill them, but they manage to survive and to ruin the gangsters' plan by sheer luck.
  • Hellish Copter: The helicopter used by the gangsters to escape ends up in the front of Montparnasse train station.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Chris, a gangster, is killed by a bullet that he shoots at Éric, because the bullet ricochets off Éric's armor.
  • Hostage Situation: The gangsters take hostage the members of the board of a company, who are the CEO's sons. This is to force the CEO to disclose the code that opens the first door of the safe. This is also to prevent to police from storming the building.
  • Knight's Armor Hideout: Éric and Ramzy try to hide from the gangsters. They decide to hide in full knight armor suits, which becomes a way to make multiple jokes: they make an attempt at being stealthy; they use their disguises to hide in plain sight, but one of them gets beaten-up by the leader of the bad guys who is taking out his frustration on what he thinks is an empty armor.
  • Love-Interest Traitor: It is revealed early that Stéphanie, Éric's love interest, is the mastermind of the taking of hostages, but the protagonists take a very long time to realize it.
  • Malaproper: Éric and Ramzy get many words wrong. For example, Éric says "pour ta gouvernante" ("for your housekeeper") instead of "pour ta gouverne" ("for your information") and "Hasta la vista, bye bye" instead of "Hasta la vista, baby".
  • Manchild: Éric and Ramzy act like young children. The police officer who intercepts their call on the radio comes to the conclusion that they are children playing with a radio.
  • Mean Boss: The CEO slapped Stéphanie in the face because he thought that the colour of the paper she used for a document was ugly. He is also rude with the security guard at the entrance of the building.
  • Mistaken for Badass: "Machin" thinks that Éric and Ramzy are "professionals", whereas they are just very lucky idiots.
  • Muscle Angst: Ramzy's arms are skinny and everybody notices it. Yet, he follows a special programme of body-building and should become very muscular.
  • No Name Given: Éric and Ramzy's characters are never named. When he talks to the police, Ramzy pretends that Éric is Michel, a philosopher. When Éric and Ramzy meet Stéphanie, Ramzy introduces himself as Peter Mac Calloway and Éric as François, then as Francis (Éric adds "Francis Huster", which is the name of a French actor). In both cases, it seems to be made up identities.
  • Parody:
    • The film as a whole (including the poster) is a parody of Die Hard.
    • The bullet dodge scene is a parody of The Matrix.
    • The fight between Ming and Ramzy is a parody of the fight between Billy Lo (Bruce Lee) and Hakim (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) in Game of Death (the costumes, including the yellow tracksuit, are the same).
    • In the end, Stéphanie tells Éric and Ramzy that she has booby-trapped their shoes. She pretends that their shoes will explode if they run slower than 30 km/h. This is a reference to Speed.
  • Pinball Projectile: A bullet shot by a gangster, Chris, at Éric ricochets off Éric's armor and kills the gangster.
  • Reading Lips: Éric thinks that he can read lips. Actually, he gets some words right, but he always misunderstands the full meaning of the sentence.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The title is a reference to The Towering Inferno (in French La Tour infernale).
    • Éric tells Ramzy "Hasta la vista, bye bye", a malapropism for "Hasta la vista, baby", a catchphrase from Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
    • Stéphanie ironically tells Machin that he is as perceptive as Shaggy from Scooby-Doo.
    • Ramzy calls Ming "San Ku Kaï", which is the French title of Message from Space: Galactic Wars, a spin-off series of the Japanese film Message from Space.
  • Spanner in the Works: Eric and Ramzy, two very stupid window washers, ruin the elaborate plan of Stéphanie to steal the money of her uncle.
  • Unwanted Rescue: Éric and Ramzy want to free Stéphanie, whereas she does not need rescue, since she is the mastermind of the taking of hostages.
  • Uptown Girl: Éric, a poor window washer, falls in love with Stéphanie, a rich executive.
  • You Have Failed Me: "Machin" shoots Chang down when he finds him unconscious, because he has lost the hand of the CEO's wife.

La Tour de contrôle infernale (2016) provides examples of:

  • Bad Boss: Janouniou shoots down his mooks on any pretext, for example because they correct his language mistakes.
  • Banana Peel: Exaggerated. According to Éric and Ramzy, bananas caused a truck to crash.
  • Bloody Hilarious: Bachir Bouzouk's very bloody wounds are played for laughs.
  • Empty Quiver: The "Moustachious" steal communications satellites and a nuclear weapon from a plane. They plan to explode the nuclear device above Paris.
  • Generation Xerox: Like their sons, Ernest Krakenkrick and Bachir Bouzouk are the Spanner in the Works in a "Die Hard" on an X scenario.
  • High-Pressure Blood: Happens to Bachir Bouzouk when his hands and his feet are wounded. He loses liters of blood.
  • Identical Grandson: Éric and Ramzy play the roles of the fathers of their characters in the first film. Marina Foïs plays the mother of Stéphanie, her character in the first film.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: The "Moustachious" wear masks.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: During a job interview, Éric and Ramzy tell the climax of the story, which is not showed on screen: Zavier dropped his bananas; the truck drove on it and skidded. This prevented the explosion.
  • Parody: The film as a whole is a parody of Die Hard 2.
  • Pocket Protector: Parodied. Krakenkrick, Bouzouk, Jean-Peter McCallaway, "Le Méchant", and Zavier are successively revealed to have survived a close-range shot, because they were protected by objects hidden under their clothes, like dog tags, a weight plate, and bananas.
  • Prequel: The story is set in 1981, 20 years before the events of the first film.

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