Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I have been extolling on the virtues and talents of French director Pierre Morel for a while now starting with the wildly entertaining District B13 followed by a movie that I thought was easily one of last year’s best films in ‘Taken’. Luc Besson apparently was impressed with the dude as well as he has had a quick turnaround and put my man right back to work in the John Travolta Vehicle ‘From Paris with Love’. One question I do have would be is there anybody in France, other than Luc Besson, allowed to produce movies? Just a question. Anyway, while ‘From Paris with Love’ doesn’t pack the visceral violent bloodlust that was ‘Taken’, there is still a lot of fun to be had here.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers is fledgling CIA agent James Reece. Yes, another British cat, or Irishman in the case playing an American in a movie or TV show. The anger of the Orange County waiter population over the continuance of this tragic practice is almost palpable. Reese wants to be a big time operative, but for now he’s simply posing as the personal assistant for the U.S. French Ambassador handling menial spook type tasks. Then his unseen handler gives him a job which just might finally get him in the spy game for real. It seems simple enough, pick up fellow agent Charlie Wax (John Travolta) at the airport and take him to where he needs go. The only issue that Reece has with this simple job is that he has to leave his pretty girlfriend Caroline (Kasia Smutniak) at home who has just made him one fine meal.

All right, let’s go pick up Charlie Wax. Issues with Charlie start immediately. Charlie is being detained by customs because they won’t let him bring in his energy drinks. Charlie is loud, obnoxious and insulting. Get past customs and Charlie wants some Chinese food. Much to Reece’s dismay Charlie proceeds to kill up all the waiters and kitchen staff of this restaurant. Turns out they were drug dealers and Charlie is in France to take down these drug dealers. Actually Charlie is in France to track these drug dealers who are laundering loot for terrorist and to find these terrorist and kill these terrorist. Actually Charlie is in France to find these terrorist and discover their master plan.

Along for the Charlie Wax roller coaster ride every step of the way is poor reluctant James Reece who is getting a quick crash course is super spy badassery. Lesson’s which include how to blend in by snorting cocaine 101, Advanced shooting people in the head, an addendum on sampling the local whores and the elective literature lab on why Love Doesn’t Conquer All.

Does this movie ‘From Paris with Love’ make any kind of real world sense or logic? No sir, it does not. Not even a little bit. I wouldn’t know for sure since I’ve never been in a shootout, but I would guess that in the real world bad guys wouldn’t repeatedly run out in the open only to get mowed down again and again and again. In the real world one might think a guy hanging out of a sweet Audi racing down the freeway at 180km/hr with a Rocket Launcher on his shoulder might get some attention from the local authorities. One would also think that the Parisian Police Department just might be slightly curious as to who has murdered half of their Asian population. Maybe an investigation should be imminent. So no, there’s no real logic to any of the proceedings in this movie, the characters that Ryhs-Meyers and Travolta play spend maybe all of two minutes getting to know each other which would be the depth of your character development and I think this movie might have attempted to lay a twist of some sort on us but I doubt anybody, at least anybody who has ever seen a movie before, will be remotely surprised about how this thing was destined to go down.

But hey, if I’m looking for real world logic I’m watching C-Span, and C-Span does real world logic real good, which is why I don't watch it. But if I want to see John Travolta act a complete fool for ninety or so minutes, watch a bunch of brown and yellow people die in the most spectacular ways for the cause of freedom, then ‘From Paris with Love’ delivers. And I don’t know who was actually driving that sweet Audi, but somebody really knows how to drive.

Now if there’s an issue with this controlled nonsense of a movie, outside of the title that is, it would probably be the marketing scheme it selected by using the term ‘From the Director of Taken’. Taken was a hardcore brutal revenge flick whereas this is a throwback buddy cop movie, in style and tone, full of witty banter, at least banter I thought was witty, with the occasional clever moment stuck in here and there and lots of good ol’ buddy cop movie action. It’s not deep, it’s not complex and it is not complicated.

With that in mind I got more than my share of entertainment value out of the roller coaster ride which was ‘From Paris with Love’. However there are others who might not want to see John Travolta act a fool or watch another European dude pretend to be New Yorker or might be put off watching the senseless slaughter of the worlds dumbest criminals… these folks might not be as forgiving as I.

Real Time Web