So, Friday, I saw From Paris With Love.
At dinner, one of the guys I went to see the movie with went on at length about how the reviewers had panned it, but I figured there would be a good body count, so we went ahead and saw it. And, keep in mind, I’m not a fan of John Travolta or, honestly, anything that even indirectly benefits anything connected to Scientology, so this was a bit of a stretch for me. But, it was a stressful week at the office and a nice, high body count really takes the edge off that, so, I was willing to take the risk.
As it turns out, I was rewarded for my faith.
I went into this movie expecting very little. Even before the last minute, dinner-time warnings of suckitude, my expectations were low. My expectations were met and exceeded.
The movie opens with James Reece, played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers, a nobody flunky at the American Embassy in Paris, getting a call while working with the ambassador and slipping out for a “secret” mission. It’s not much, really, just flipping plates for higher-grade operatives, so that they’re not “made” by the locals. Then, as his fiance essentially proposes to him, he gets the call he’s been waiting for; his new assignment is to partner up with a top-shelf, special-ops agent, Charlie Wax, played by a bald John Travolta. When we first meet Charlie Wax in Customs at Charles De Gaul airport, he’s carrying on like a maniac about getting his energy drinks through security. Reece, though amazed at the crazy partner he’s gotten hooked up with, uses a little lateral thinking and a knowledge of bureaucracy, along with a “Diplomatic Mail” sticker to get them out and on their way. Naturally, nothing is quite what it seems to poor, inexperienced Reece.
After getting out of customs, and arming up, Wax drags Reece through a seedy underworld of Paris that he never knew existed. Or, at least that’s how it seemed. Chasing through everything from Chinese restaurants to back alleys to whore houses, all the while shooting and being shot at by just about everyone there. In theory, chasing drug dealers responsible for the overdose of a high U.S. official’s niece, but, again, not everything is as it seems.
Also, along the way, Reece keeps trying to rein in Wax and get in touch with his fiance who he left at the last minute to chase off on this wild ride through Paris.
And, as usual, I’ll stop there before I give too much away.
Mostly, this movie was a simple and entertaining romp through an ultraviolent Paris. The body count was satisfyingly high and the action was pretty non-stop, which was good. It was good mainly because it distracted us from whatever it was that Travolta was trying to do with the character. I suppose it was acting, though, why he was trying for subtlety in a movie that painted action with such a broad brush is beyond me. Still, it took nothing important away from the film.
There was a bit of a plot twist, though it wasn’t a big surprise to me, frankly. Just keep an eye on the fiance through the movie and see if you spot something that’s not quite right.
All in all, not a bad film. Not a great movie, either, but if you want a mindless action movie, this is pretty much your best bet right now. It’s fun, in a violent death sort of way, and a nice distraction from the stresses of my everyday life. And, after all, isn’t that what we go to see movies for anyway?