While L`Assaut more than delivers in terms of action and visual eye-candy, Leclerq`s jettisoning of plot to recreate premise makes character development paramount. And the characters, while sympathetically portrayed, are unevenly developed and lack a certain depth, with their complexity only hinted at.
Special mention, however, must be made of Melanie Bernier`s stellar portrayal of Carol a spirited young state department specialist who makes herself central to the negotiations and Aymen Saidi, whose riveting performance brings to life the tragic fatalism of Yahia, the leader of the hostage takers.
Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the third and perhaps most pivotal lead, Vincent Elbaz, who is convincing but nowhere near compelling as GIGN officer Thierry.
In the end, L`Assaut functions both as a stylised action film and a streamlined, human drama, although more strongly as the former than the latter.
A taut action film that handles its subject matter skillfully, L`Assaut is solid but falls just short of spectacular.