Monday, February 08, 2010

From Paris with Love (**1/2)

From Paris with Love. 95 mins. R. Directed by Pierre Morel. Written by Adi Hasak. Starring John Travolta, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, and Kasia Smutniak.

The first thing you notice about From Paris with Love, the latest action schlock-fest from the mind of Luc Besson, is the enormous amount of fun John Travolta is having on screen. He hasn't been this enjoyable in, what, a decade now? Not since the era of Get Shorty and Face/Off has Travolta so deliciously connected to a character. Here, he plays Charlie Wax, an obnoxious American spy, who's prone to saying "motherf**ker" a lot and eats (wink, wink) royales with cheese. As with any buddy action movie worth its salt, Wax is paired with a polar opposite - a pencil-pushing embassy stooge played by Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (butchering an American accent). The two are tracking some kind of Asian drug smuggling operation, and threat on an American ambassador's life, though little thought or coherence is given to connecting the dots. It doesn't matter really. The plot is thin and ridiculous, and if you spend even more than a second thinking about it, that's one second too many. Travolta, for his part, does everything he can to jazz the audience, and for a while he succeeds. Director Pierre Morel (of last year's Taken) is a kinetic action filmmaker and juices up the early proceedings with a healthy dose of gratuitous violence and comedy. The best scene in the movie comes when Rhys-Meyers is climbing a flight of stairs and keeps getting waylaid by falling bodies. Sooner or later though, the plot takes over and Travolta is relegated to the background. It's at that point when From Paris with Love starts to lose some of its guilty pleasure status, and just becomes a chore to sit through. Still, it's worth checking out on DVD for Travolta's performance and a handful of decent action sequences.
- John


Post a Comment

<< Home