The Brag

Film: From Paris With Love

In Arts, Brag 349 (February 15), Film Reviews on February 17, 2010 at 9:09 am

(c) Hoyts Distribution

From Paris with Love

This movie is dumb. The bad guys are bad because they sell drugs or are from the Middle East. The good guys, if they are good, amount a body count to rival Roland Emmerich’s in 2012. If only Pierre Morel‘s film was as entertaining or as sophisticated as that disaster epic.

At least, one might say, it has John Travolta. Here he’s in screen chewing mode, swearing, flattening gangs with his fists and hookers with his…well, never mind. Essentially playing the same character as his baddie in The Taking of Pelham 123, Travolta is Charlie Wax, an American secret service agent roaming Paris with his new straight-laced partner, James Reece (Jonathan Rhys Myers). What they are doing, who they are killing and why is as murky as the ugly, glum photography.

Plot is instead replaced by incomprehensible action. I can appreciate a brainless action thriller as much as the next person, but the sequences in From Paris with Love have no sense of space or tension. We see Travolta fire his gun. Cut. A baddie falls. Cut. Repeat. There’s not even a Die Hard level of coherence let alone balletic Yuen Wo Ping choreography.

The pretty Kasia Smutniak plays Reece’s Parisian wife who, thanks to the law of economy of characters and a lack of imagination by the screenwriters (Adi Hasak and the sometimes talented Luc Besson), quickly becomes more important that she appears.

It all leads to attempted suicide bombings and Travolta hanging out of a speeding car with a rocket launcher, and even that is, somehow, boring.
 The only conceivable reason to watch this film is for Travolta’s lip-smacking murderous rogue. If you’ve seen Pelham, there is precisely none.

Joshua Blackman


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