Review Catch-Up: “From Paris with Love”

March 4, 2010 at 6:31 pm Leave a comment

Hot on the heels of last year’s Taken, director Pierre Morel and producer Luc Besson team up again for another flick that trades plot for action. Though Taken followed that same general formula, it was a far more enjoyable flick than this uneven action romp.

From Paris with Love follows Jonathan Rhys Meyers as James Reese, an aide to a U.S. Ambassador, while also moonlighting as a low-level CIA operative.  Reese yearns for more, as he wishes to be in the middle of the action, and not just changing license plates for other undercover agents.  He gets his wish when he’s paired up with Charlie Wax (John Travolta), who’s on an assignment in Paris to bust a drug manufacturing and smuggling ring.

The action hits fairly hard, with some nice shootouts and hand-to-hand fights.  I especially appreciated the John Woo-esque shootout at a mannequin warehouse.  Travolta is fun here, channeling a little bit of his performance from last year’s The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3. While nothing extraordinary here, he understands what this movie is about: plain dumb fun, and channels it well.  Rhys Meyers, however, is boring.  Yes, his character is supposed to be the boring pencil-necked cubicle jockey, but I just didn’t buy it.  He didn’t seem very relatable as this ‘Everyman’ who ends up following a trigger-happy gun nut who happens to work for the CIA.

And that’s also the problem with this flick.  With Taken, Liam Neeson was totally believable as an ex-government agent tracking down his kidnapped daughter.  His character was relatable because that film showed him not as a badass, but as a father who happens to be a badass.  Most people can relate to the plight of a father searching for his missing only child.  With Paris, none of the characters have that connection with the audience.  Sure, Travolta is having fun, but there aren’t any emotions the movie generates that I could latch on to.

From Paris with Love isn’t a terrible movie, but it ain’t that great, either.  This is certainly one of those movies you’d pull out when your buddies are over and you’re looking for a testosterone-fueled shoot ’em up, but other than that, there’s better ‘mindless action fare’ to be found.



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