Directed by Richard Berry who also had a small role in the film, 22 Bullets is unflinching in its violence, and the mowing down of Charly Mattei early in the film somehow is reminiscent of other massacres such as that of Sonny Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather, or Murphy in Paul Verhoeven's Robocop.
As Zacchia puts it succinctly, a wrong is a wrong no matter what layer of morality gets draped over it.Kad Merad's Zacchia too puts in a moment of brilliance when he delivered a hypocritical speech about the value of close friendships, while his demeanour behind closed doors is anything but, lying to the masses without a flinch.22 Bullets is a straightforward thriller that worked without too much surprises, but its slick delivery more than makes up for any of its shortcomings. Of Spanish descent, he has worked in French, English, Japanese, Spanish, and Italian, and appeared in films such as Crimson Rivers, Godzilla, The Da Vinci Code, Mission: Impossible, The Pink Panther, Ronin, Les visiteurs, The Big Blue, and Léon: The Professional. His parents were Spanish, natives of Sanlúcar de Barrameda and Jerez de la Frontera in Andalucia, and had moved to North Africa to find work and escape the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.He has a younger sister named María Teresa ("Maite"), and the children were raised Catholic.
When Moreno moved to France he served in the French Army which was mandatory to gain his French citizenship.
After he started to get acting jobs in France, Juan adopted the French version, Jean, of his name, and shortened his surname to Reno.
Due to his large frame (1.88 m or 6 ft 2 in), Reno was called on to play "heavies" in his early career.
Based loosely on a true story premise where a French gangster got pumped with lead and left for dead but miraculously survived the hit, 22 Bullets is a revenge flick worthy of its Europa Corp pedigree so you'll know just what to expect - a stylish thriller filled with anti-heroes, and plenty of gratuitous violence with the charismatic Jean Reno in the role of an avenging angel out to settle scores when the perpetrators just wouldn't leave him alone in his retired life.
As the adage goes, one can never quite leave the gangland, and Reno's Charly Mattei, a once feared mobster in Marseille who signalled his retirement through the selling of his businesses to childhood friend Tony Zacchia (Kad Merad in a serious role), it's all about having a reputation that's still influential, and in order for friends to want to move along with their plans against his moral tones of zero involvement in drugs, the only way is to launch a pre- emptive strike to take Mattei out of the equation, only for the group of gunmen to fail in their quest and Mattei's reputation grows to become L'Immortel for obvious reasons.
Like the Godfather series, one may want to get out from one's violent past, but circumstances pull one right back into the thick of the action.