Review: From Paris With Love
PLOT: A young American embassy analyst (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), living in Paris, is teamed up with a loose canon spy (John Travolta), in order to foil a terrorist plot.
REVIEW: FROM PARIS WITH LOVE is the latest Luc Besson/Europa Corp production. In many ways, this company is like our generationís Cannon Films, and I donít mean that as an insult. They produce quick, fun action flicks, and if youíve seen any number of their previous films, youíll know exactly what to expect.
Pierre Morel, who directed two of the more kick-ass Europa films, DISTRICT 13, and TAKEN, returns to the directorís chair for this outing, which is essentially an affectionate homage to eighties buddy cop flicks. All the genre hallmarks are here, with Jonathan Rhys-Meyers playing the Murtaugh role, i.e. - the responsible, by-the-book half of the duo, with Travolta is the crazy, Riggs-half. Naturally, the mismatched duo hates each other at first, but over the course of the film they become pals, and naturally- find time to kill all the baddies and throw off a few one-liners.
FROM PARIS WITH LOVE is obviously intended to be John Travoltaís TAKEN, and while this isnít quite up to the level of that film, itís nonetheless a fun ride which gives Travolta his best role in at least ten years. Itís been a rough road for Travolta lately, and Iíd argue that his last truly solid film was A CIVIL ACTION, which came out twelve years ago. Since then, itís just been crappy film after crappy film, but, luckily- heís got a pretty slick action vehicle with this flick.
In order to give him the bad-ass edge heís been lacking over the last decade, the filmmakers have radically altered Travoltaís look, with him sporting a shaved head, a goatee, and a noticeably slimmer waistline. He gets to kick some serious ass here, with him blowing away at least thirty baddies, while throwing in the occasional quick hand-to-hand fight, and even a nifty parkour chase. Thereís also a great shout-out to PULP FICTION that Iím not going to spoil here.
As the straight man to all the madness, Rhys-Meyers is fine, but this is really Travoltaís show all the way. He chews so much scenery that thereís not a heck of a lot for Rhys Meyers to do except look shocked whenever Travolta kills someone, or carry around a large vase of cocaine (donít ask). A fairly predictable twist towards the end brings him back into the action somewhat, but he leaves most of the heroics to Travolta. Nevertheless, he acquits himself nicely, although, with his perfectly trimmed facial hair, he definitely has the look of a guy who spends A LOT of time looking in the mirror; a nice contrast to Travoltaís rough and tumble character.
For the most part, I had a blast with FROM PARIS WITH LOVE. Itís the same type of cheesy, turn-your-brain-off action flick they use to churn out regularly in the eighties, complete with a hard R-Rating. For what it is, FROM PARIS is a blast. Sure, the plot doesnít make a lick of sense, but who cares? Just sit back and enjoy the carnage.