Subway (1985) Christopher Lambert, Slap Bass And Bongos Within The Paris Metro – Video Store Action Heroes

Subway (1985) Christopher Lambert Luc Besson movie poster

I knew Christopher Lambert what with his prancing and dancing about in his loincloth! He called the jungle his home and was the self appointed Lord of the Apes, Tarzan (1984). However it wasn’t until his immortal swordsman with that dodgy Scottish accent arrived with the classic action romp, Highlander (1985) that I really clocked his name. So sat there on the shelve in the local video store was the intriguing Subway (1985). With a smartly dressed Christopher Lambert with a shock of white hair and what could only be described as a lightsaber in his hands. Off I went to the counter………..

First things first.

This post is the fifth edition to our four way delve into our collective video renting days. A quarterly meet up mini blogathon. We are the Video Store Action Heroes. A hive bank of memories and you’ll be pleased to hear that there’s no tight Lycra in sight! This time we are tackling the subject matter of travel! With it having to revolve around air, sea or rail.

Todd over at Cinema Monolith went for dangers of being on the wrong side of the tracks with Disaster On The Coastliner (1979). Greg at Destroy All Fanboys also hit the waves with perils on The Poseidon Adventure (1972) and finally Mike at Mike’s Take On The Movies flew through the skies in Firefox (1982) with that our man Clint at the helm. And as you’re here you know that the title I went for was rail with Luc Besson’s Subway (1985). You can catch up on past reviews here at Video Store Action Heroes.


Confession time!

Sat in the wooden confession booth with my head hung in shame. I thought back to those tentative teenage years. My hair was fluffier back then. Haha I even had a spring in my step, the back didn’t ache, oh man I even had a flat stomach. There’s a tap on the inner window. “Look my child can you please get to the point” says the priest. “Sorry father“.
Well I’d got back from the video store ready to be entertained when the realisation hit me. The blooming film was in fact French! And it was subtitled. I was devastated. Now don’t get me wrong, later in life I’d go out of my way to watch a subtitled film. However for this young wide-eyed wolf sitting in his bedroom, his excitement for this film was slightly deflated. Still I watched it but shamefully I didn’t bother reading anything, just watched the film. You know what? I didn’t have a clue what was going on……..

Subway (1985) Christopher Lambert Luc Besson fred tube train metro

So it was with much joy that I re-watched it for this here post. And do you know what? I still really didn’t know what was going on. Hehe. And that is one of the things I liked so much about it. It is a wonderful quirky film, with a surreal feel. It’s arty and stylish, confusing and superbly original. I really enjoyed being stuck down the maze like Paris metro station. With offbeat, eccentric characters passing through the terminal gates of the train station at every turn. There’s something interesting and exciting constantly coming at you as you try to figure what on Earth is going on?

To be is to do (Socrate) To do is to be (Sartre) Do be do be do (Sinatra)

So what offbeat and eccentric characters are you talking about Mikey?

The metro station is a labyrinth of tunnels, subway train lines and terminals branching out like tree roots through the underground of Paris. A place where whole communities of homeless, lost souls and people just happy to set up home away from the mayhem of the above world. Pickpockets, chancers, buskers and flower sellers.

Subway (1985) Christopher Lambert fred Jean-Hugues Anglade roller

You got Connor MacLeod I mean Christopher Lambert looking more like a modern day Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He’s known just as Fred. He’s guilty of something. He has handcuffs on. However there’s an air of innocence to him. He’s confident yet vulnerable. He’s been chased down into the subway system. He’s a hunted man. Hunted by many. The police, the transport cops, gangsters and even a pretty young lady.

Subway (1985) beautiful sultry Isabelle Adjani helena luc besson

Now any good French film has to have the trademark sexy lady and the object of desire for our Fred, the protagonist. That role goes to the beautiful sultry Isabelle Adjani. You’ll probably know her as The Player from Walter Hill’s getaway film The Driver (1978). Here she plays Helena. She so happens to be the trophy wife of a gangster. Fred’s stolen something and she’s tasked to retrieve it. No doubt some steamy moody flirting will take place?

Subway (1985) Luc Besson Jean Reno Leon The Drummer

There’s Leon The Professional aka Jean Reno known as The Drummer of obvious reasons. A quiet man with round glasses who has the constant need to drum. He’s forever on the lookout to form the perfect jazz funk band.

Subway (1985) Christopher Lambert Luc Besson Jean-Hugues Anglade roller

Then there’s The Roller. Played by Jean-Hugues Anglade aka Zorg from Betty Blue (1986). Another quiet character with a watchful eye. Whizzing around on his roller skates waiting for the perfect situation to arise. A chance moment. With a grab and a snatch and a quick getaway he disappears away at speed on his wheels.

Subway (1985) Christopher Lambert Richard Bohringer known as The florist

Another addition to the underground metro group of wandering nomads is Richard Bohringer known as The florist. An older wiser man with a taste for the bottle. He uses his skills to maneuver the subterranean city with his mobile flower stall. Keeping one step ahead of the transport police. The florist knows all the tricks.

Subway (1985) Christopher Lambert Luc Besson fCommissioner Gesberg Batman and Robin

The authority of the metro station is Commissioner Gesberg (Michel Galabru). Desperate to bring law and order to the wild west of his underground world. He’s gruff and bossy. With two Inspectors under his command. Two officers comically called Batman and Robin running around doing his bidding.

Subway (1985) gangsters metro tube luc besson

There’s a certain sadness, an almost lost look to all the characters. We glance fleetingly into each of their lives. Making our way down escalators, jumping on and off subway trains and traveling down deep into the network of tunnels. Luc Besson had created a unique and quirky film with the beginnings of his usual trademark stamp starting to show. His films always have a feel of being slightly in the future. A sense of a dystopian future.

Subway (1985) Luc Besson arthur simms singing mystery

It’s best to sit back and just run with whats happening. It’s like a fairy tale. Subway is an extremely joyful way to spent your time. And to prove that, just wait for the beautiful moment when Arthur Simms turns up and joins the band. With a nervous demeanor he starts to sing. Out of blue his voice breaks through in English and he lets out It’s Only Mystery. A truly wonderful scene.

Be sure to check the other Video Store Action Heroes posts. Hope you enjoyed my rambling that lets be honest don’t make that much sense at all but hey go check the film, I’m sure it will all fit into place. You can stream Subway here on Youtube at time of writing.

So to finish it up, please sing us outta of here Mr Arthur Simms. Thanks for reading. All the best and happy vibes.. Mikey


17 thoughts on “Subway (1985) Christopher Lambert, Slap Bass And Bongos Within The Paris Metro – Video Store Action Heroes

  1. Here’s a film I’ve never seen and having no idea about what it’s about I read your take on it pillar to post and you know what? Like you I still don’t know what the hell is going on. lol. I kind of recall this coming out when lambert was a name most recognized thanks to his lion cloth and sword wielding characters. Then along came The Sicilian and his career was laid to rest in these parts if memory serves. Too bad and wonder why he hasn’t turned up in a Tarantino flick.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hehe basically he stole something and then he met people. A whole bunch of colourful characters I must add.
      I’m not a 100 percent sure I saw The Sicilian! He does have a great cast around him. Yeah shame he hasn’t had his QT moment. I reckon he has a good film in him though not sure he can live up to Lord Raiden in Mortal Komat! Hehe a very guilty pleasure.
      Been toying with watching Fortress again for sometime and I may of seen it but can’t remember but The Hunted might be worth trying though I’d be watching it for Joan Chen.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I too have never seen it, nor even heard of it, and at first I wondered, a film about the subway train starring Billy Idol wielding a lightsabre! But now that you’ve clarified things, it all makes perfect sense to me now! 😉 From what I can tell, this all seems to take place underground, at a a particular subway station…true? And man, I love the look of Jean Reno…would it have been possible story-wise for him to have been the lead over Lambert? Not that Lambert isn’t worthy of the lead role, but I just think Reno’s character looks a lot more interesting.

    Love the fact that you rented this as a kid, and it was a foreign film with subtitles…I can just picture your wee jaw dropping the moment you hit the ‘play’ button! Also, I’m afraid you’ll be correcting an error in your third paragraph, once you read my review!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Haha yes of course Billy Idol. I should of used that reference. Doh. Yeah Jean Reno is one cool cat. He’s certainly the prototype for Luc Besson’s Leon here. What with the round glasses. Like he finally escaped the metro station after breaking one of his drum sticks. Which had sent him spiraling out of control before he leveled himself and became a professional assassin. Maybe just maybe.

      Haha you have now heard on your Coastline line post that I did in fact make a boo boo above. The cruise ship has now been rightful transformed back into it’s locomotive mode of transportation.

      Wee little wolf cub on seeing the subtitles would of been like…..


      • I can see where there might be some confusion there…an ocean LINER traveling along the COAST of Norway might be called the Coastliner. But I sure would’ve liked to see an ocean liner traveling at high speeds along railroad tracks!

        And yes, a wee wolf shedding a tear for all the trash that piled up at that Indian chief’s feet…


  3. Well, I rented this once ages back, but never got to see it because the tape broke, lol. I think it was on cable some time later, but it was late and guess who fell asleep like 10 minutes in? That said, I liked DIVA and this seems as if it’s that kind of french quirkiness, so I guess the third time’s the charm.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It does fly along at a good pace and there’s should be enough crazy stuff going on to keep you awake for the third times a charm spin. The band made me laugh and the random bodybuilder in depths of the basement is hysterical. I’ve not seen Diva but Wilhelmenia Fernandez looks stunning and the film looks just as crazy quirky as Subway. Added to the watch list. Thank you.


      • Oh, DIVA is such a trip. Make sure you look for the latest Blu-ray that was released version (Or a recent DVD), as the original dub was pretty wretched (I saw it in a theater the first time and a few people were so annoyed by the dub, they walked out and asked for refunds! Ouch!). The French version is fine (if you speak the language). I’ll take a wild guess as you’re an international wolf of mystery and I’ve heard a few stories (but it might be another Wolf I’m, thinking of!):

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks for the info on DIVA Greg. I will lookout for the subtitled version. It does look like a fun surreal trip.
          Yes Mr Wolf. He was cool back then but now he’s sold himself out on British TV ads and become quite annoying. The rest of the wolf family have shunned him though he might win us back if he can pull off a good performance in the Irishman.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I actually HAVE seen this film, but I’m still in the same boat with those who haven’t and Mikey who has and still doesn’t know what it’s about. I have no idea what it was about, remember nothing about it. Did have a thing for Christopher L. at one time (even though he’s a terrible actor!) so maybe that’s why I saw it? LOL

    “Look my child can you please get to the point” says the priest.
    “Sorry father.”

    LOL !!!


  5. This is one of the coolest and funkiest films ever! It reminded me of weird movies like Repo Man (1984), Brother from Another Planet (1984), Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984), Into the Night (1985) and After Hours (1985). Funny, but they all came out around the same time! What were filmmakers drinking in the 1980s? [laugh] Anyhow, I love Subway — it has a crazy plot and many strange characters. 🙂


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