I love big, dumb action movies as much as the next guy. But what happens when a film becomes too dumb to be fun anymore? Such is the case with From Paris with Love, produced by Luc Besson and starring John Travolta.
Director Pierre Morel (District B13, the Liam Neeson revenge vehicle Taken, and the in-the-works Dune remake) has shown he can construct an entertaining film. Even when centered around the most ludicrous plots, he’s shown us either characters you want to see win in the end or filled them with enough outrageous action and fight sequences your brain can just sit back and relax.
Luc Besson is well known for delivering action-driven films so overblown you can’t help but love them and generally there’s a huge amount of fun as the driving source. While he’s credited with the story, the screenplay is written by someone else (Adi Hasak), and things seem to spring a leak somewhere along the line.
Besson’s earliest work behind the camera delivered high-octane, escapist enjoyment (The Big Blue, La Femme Nikita, and Leon). This includes his most recent writing efforts – District 13: Ultimatum, Taken, and the Transporter and Taxi series – he’s a man who knows what his audience wants. If From Paris with Love is any indication, no one should ever try to replicate his form simply based on an idea.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers plays James Reece, personal aide to a U.S. Ambassador to France. He lives with his girlfriend Caroline (Kasia Smutniak) with whom he has candlelit rooftop dinners where she proposes one night, bringing to mind the likes of a far worse movie released back in early January. If anyone is not able to figure out the likes of that plot point then they’ve never seen an action movie before.