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From Paris with Love (2010) **1/2

February 5, 2010

Written by: Adi Hasak and Luc Besson
Produced by: Luc Besson and India Osborne
Directed by: Pierre Morel
Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, drug material, pervasive language, and brief sexuality
92 min.

U.S. Release Date: February 5, 2010

John “The Hambone” Travolta makes his return to the action genre after a bit of a dry spell throughout the later half of the 2000s (with the exception of “Taking of Pelham 1 2 3”) in Luc Besson’s (“District 13: Ultimatum”) story, “From Paris with Love”.  The film also stars Irish heartthrob Jonathan Rhys Meyers as James Reece, the rookie agent with no experience who gets paired up with Charlie Wax (Travolta), the old dog (pun intended) agent who marches to the beat of a different drummer.  Granted, not the most original story ever told (especially with Travolta in it), but “From Paris with Love” impresses more than not.  The film is basically what I loved about “District 13: Ultimatum” without the dragging lulls in between.

Like I stated earlier, the film is about a low-level CIA agent named James Reece who has been doing the CIA’s dirty work for a while.  Reece finally gets the chance to step up to the next level and work on a real case, but of course there’s one catch, he has to partner up with the earring-wearing, flavor saver-rocking, and gun-wielding horse of a different color, Charlie Wax.  We meet Mr. Wax as he is being detained by the French customs team at the airport and arguing with them about whether or not he can bring his duffel bag filled with energy drinks into the country.  This is somehow supposed to illustrate to the audience how cool Wax is.

As you can imagine, Wax gives Reece a baptism by fire into his new role as they plunge into gunfights, drug cartels, and suicide bombers all within minutes of their initial meeting.  The case takes the two agents all over Paris as they run up the ranks of a major drug ring in order to uncover a greater terrorist plot as a global summit of ambassadors is set to meet in Paris.  The plot goes just as you think it should, until the terrorist organization gets a little too close to home for Reece.

Though predictable at times, “From Paris with Love” never fails to entertain.  That is the reason we go to the movies after all.  With the exception of a brutal line about “Royales with cheese”, Travolta is just what this movie needed in terms of a good mix of fun and action.  “The Great Hambino” actually showed a little bit of restraint as he played a character that he’s played so many times in so many other movies.  Rhys Meyers also does a decent job as the rookie / damsel in distress.  Neither Travolta nor Rhys Meyers were nearly as annoying as I had previously expected.

All this considered, I had to take a look at director Pierre Morel’s IMDB page because he was one of the few directors I have seen put a leash on Travolta’s occasional ridiculousness.  Of course, Morel also directed “Taken”, which I knew, but had somehow slipped my mind.  Morel is also slated to direct a retelling of the sci-fi classic “Dune”.  There are no actors attached that I know of, but Morel has made a couple decent films recently, and it will be fun to see where he takes bigger properties in the future.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. David J. Fowlie permalink*
    February 5, 2010 6:55 pm

    Still haven’t found one good poster for this flick….egads!

  2. windi permalink
    February 6, 2010 10:48 am

    so weird to see Travolta with a smooth shaved head! LOL Sounds like a fun rental to me. Considering how few movies I can actually get to “go” and see, I save my trips to the theatre for the stuff I really, really want to see….

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