Thursday, 18 March 2010

From Paris with Love

The film starts by introducing us to Jonthan Rhys-Meyers’ character, an assistant to the American Ambassador to France. He does some low level stuff for the CIA, changing a licence plate, planting a bug – a scene that doesn’t really milk it’s comedy potential for all it is worth – but all he really wants to do is get out a gun and shoot bad guys.
A simple introduction to a character we’re going to spend most of the movie with.
Then he meets his new partner – Charlie Wax. Loud, brash, abusive, xenophobic – he’s like the stereotypical American abroad. Portrayed with great zeal by John Travolta, who looks like he’s thoroughly enjoying every moment in this character, Wax starts to subvert our expectations almost instantly. The reason he’s there is because he’s the best and while his introduction calls that into question, his actions following that put that question squarely to bed.

But this is an action film and as fun as the characters are to follow, if the action is rubbish or the story pointless, you just don’t care. Happily this is not the case.
While I did suss out who the villain was from very early on, it added an extra layer of tension to a later scene that wouldn’t have existed if I was behind on the plot. I’ll point out here that the reveal isn’t signposted, but I’m a paranoid suspicious person and that’s why I got it.
The story is fairly standard terrorist plot fare, with a few early attempts to hoodwink both Meyers and the audience. The pace of the film rattles along at great speed and has no real flab to drag down the pacing.

So then, the action. Well, to start, this is directed by the man behind District 13 and Taken, two films with a solid action pedigree, so I went in expecting some good sequences. And I got them.
While none of the sequences are likely to live on as masterpieces, forever copied and imitated, they do their job exceptionally well. A car chase down the French motorway with Wax hanging out of his chase car holding a bazooka is great fun. The takedown of a group of street thugs is a fine piece of style and substance as we get a quick beat down as well as an insight into why the Americans have sent this guy to do their work for them.

All in all From Paris With Love is a good solid action movie. I had an absolute blast seeing it and will definitely be picking up the DVD. Whether you need to see t at the cinema will depend on your love for action movies, but if you don’t go, I’d recommend a home viewing. It’s worth paying money for.

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