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Having recently seen and thoroughly enjoyed Taken, I noticed that director Pierre Morel had another film starring John Travolta also set in Paris released in 2010. It would be fair to say that given how much I had enjoyed Taken, I was very keen to see how From Paris With Love would measure up. The concept of the movie sounded a little similar and once again Paris was providing a back drop but with a different cast it would be interesting to see if he could recreate the success of his previous surprise hit.
Plotting An Explosion
For James Reece life is pretty simple, he is a low ranking CIA agent working undercover within the U.S. Embassy in France for the Ambassador. He dreams of furthering his career within the Intelligence community but when he gets paired up with Charlie Wax, a field operative whose been sent to France to prevent a terrorist attack his simple life is blown wide apart. To prevent the attack Wax will do whatever it takes and that means Reece is involved in a number of events he would really rather not be, but success will enhance his career prospects and he must choose between bending the rules and playing things by the book.
Up And Coming
This is only the third film on Pierre Morel's CV and already I've seen him destroy a large proportion of Paris in only two of them. I'm yet to see his debut movie, however if it is as good as Taken and From Paris With Love I think it would be fair to say I'm going to enjoy it. His ability to produce a fast paced action movie that gets everything wrapped up in an hour and half with a high body count really is quite remarkable. His use of special effects for explosions and gun battles is really well thought out and more importantly executed, giving the film a very real and high octane feel.
There are similarities to Taken in that the lead character turns up in Paris and starts to kill people left right and centre over a 48 hour period, but it is entertaining to watch and certainly holds your attention. In fact the opening 20 minutes as the scene is set is quite pedestrian in relation to what follows but it's well done and gives a reasonable back ground on James Reece. With impressive camera work, decent special effects and a very straight to the point style this movie works really well and whilst there are better scripts out there, as a mindless piece of entertainment this fits the bill perfectly.
With Liam Neeson starring in his previous film it is somewhat of a coup for Morel to have John Travolta in his latest offering. I was unsure how Travolta would work as the shaven headed Wax but he is the perfect fit. His performance as the CIA operative reminds me a lot of his role in Face Off and for me makes him the perfect choice. His character is slightly out of control and it fits the style of performance Travolta brings to the screen. He also works really well alongside co star Jonathan Rhys Meyers who plays the good cop to Travolta's bad cop.
In fact I was reasonably impressed by Rhys Meyers, whom I wasn't previously aware of. His character is slightly timid and Meyers seems to really bring that side of him to the screen well. He also adapts well to the situations his character is put into and opposite a screen legend like Travolta he really does hold his own. The supporting cast served a purpose but by and large the majority of them were killed and didn't really get too involved.
It would be fair to say that there are a number of similarities between Morel's previous work and his current release. That's not to say that it isn't any good though and in fact it is a very fast paced, enjoyable action movie that delivers a very simplistic, yet entertaining story. The casting and direction are well done and whilst there is no chance of Oscar nominations for this movie it does exactly what it said on the tin. For an hour and a half of high octane, adrenalin fuelled action then you can do a lot worse than From Paris With Love.
Star - John Travolta
Run time - 92 minutes
Genre - Action/Comedy
Country - American
Although he is a bit chunky these days and nowhere near as nimble on his tootsies, John Travolta is still very agreeable on the big screen, a charisma and smile he will take to the grave, and if he keeps eating those pies it won't be long now. He had his problems with his epileptic son, scientology claiming yet another victim; Hollywood type's, nuts for religions they think are selective and closed to the plebs. It's a shame JT wasn't as equally selective with his movie choices in recent years, the likes of Be Cool, Ladder 49 and the totally baffling 'Basic', stereotyping him in the dumb action hero hinterland. Recent efforts like From Paris with Love and Pelham 123 have not really changed things, although still enjoyable popcorn stuff all the same. Pulp Fiction and Get Shorty seems a very long time ago.
John Travolta ... Charlie Wax
Jonathan Rhys Meyers ... James Reece
Kasia Smutniak ... Caroline
Richard Durden ... Ambassador Bennington
Bing Ying ... M. Wong
Amber Rose Revah ... Nichole
Agent Reece (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), a young and ambitious aid to the American Ambassador in Paris (Richard Durden), wants to get into more covert operations to impress and so always doing little jobs for the CIA to earn his spurs in the spy trade. He is engaged to be married to wholesome and attractive interior designer Caroline (Kasia Smutniak), living snugly in cosy apartment in one of the nicer areas of Paris, a man on the move. But he is distinctly unimpressed when he is asked to pick up a man called Charlie Wax (John Travolta) from the airport as one of those covert tasks, who is held in customs for a misdemeanour or two. But Wax is no ordinary guy, the CIA's top black op's man no less, soon shooting his mouth off as much as his guns in Paris.
Reece's job is to drive Wax around Paris to 'clean up' a drugs gang who are allegedly involved with the senator's wayward daughter, saving extreme embarrassment in Parisian diplomatic circles. But it's a cover story as there are much bigger fishes to fry, the CIA after drug king pin 'Mister Wong' (Bing Ying), who is funding an Islamic terrorists cell operating in the French capital, who Wax intends to take down as the body count rises.
Reece is uptight and a do it by the book kinda guy, not yet killing anyone and appalled that Wax is snorting most of the cocaine they have located so far, and from a valuable Ming vase that accompanies them around Paris. But as the black sedans race and twist around Paris like the plot, bullets and rocket launches flying, it's clear this is going to be a very tough audition for Reece to make the grade...
As buddy cop/spy comedy thrillers go this is ok, good knockabout fun although not suited for kids. Its not one to worry about renting but well worth tuning in when it pops up on TV. It's as three-out-of-five as you can get for this genre and if you like Travolta then maybe is worth a rent as part of your weekly five films for £5 deal at Blockbusters. It's no Face Off.
With lots of predicable chase and action scenes wrapped around post 911 paranoia this is more comedy than serious, a good chance to kill some stereotypical Arab terrorists, some of the stunts as over the top and silly as the in-jokes, Travolta, somewhat self-parodying here, buying a "Royal with Cheese" from the Paris McDonalds. Yes, we remember that great movie John so why not make some more like that big man! All concerned have done the math on how much this film will make with the star and basic themes it carries and so no one is really bothered about making a classic.
From its $52 million budget it has only just done its $52million back, the multiplex audience tiring of Travolta's wisecracking hero/villain, the two often undistinguishable, only so many times you can flash an annoying grin at the camera and not look fat in the face as JT does, his bald head and beard clearly a distraction to that noticeable weight gain. He is heading into the Steven Seagal territory where you won't see him without a thick leather jacket on to cover the growing girth.
I enjoyed it though, its tempo as cool and slick as Travolta's mullet from the good old days, a traditional by-the-numbers comedy action thriller that Hollywood's cartel like grip on the movie business will always be able to stuff the British multiplexes full with, blocking much better British films from being seen. The question is how much longer can JT get away with this...
This is a spy genre film and it is interesting to note that the title of the earlier film To Paris with Love (1955) is said to have been the inspiration for James Bond creator Ian Fleming for the title of his 1957 James Bond spy novel, "From Russia With Love" which was later made into the film From Russia with Love (1963).
The Times - "A fun, over the top action movie that doesn't care that it's stupid and over the top".
The New York Post - "Not even the pleasures inherent in watching John Travolta mug it up as a gonzo CIA operative bent on breaking things and killing people... are sufficient recompense for sitting through this by-the-numbers slog from the fevered brain of Luc Besson "
The Tampa Bay Messenger -"With a screenwriter formerly of the Israeli Airborne Defense Forces, this is the kind of sour anti-terror travelogue where you're set up to howl on cue when bearded or burka clad Arab insurgents are preemptively shot in the head or blown to smithereens".
The Sun - "A blistering pace, a certifiable performance from Travolta and a delicious body count"
The Sydeny Morning Herald - "For all its absurdities (and there are plenty), as a chest beating, hi-octane romp, From Paris With Love is as enlivening and gratifying as they come".
Imdb.com - 6.4/10.0 (28,765 votes)
Metacritic.com - 42% critic approval rate (54% users liked it)
Rottentomatos.com - 37% critic approval rate (57% users liked it)
Living in Paris is James Reece, he works as the personal aide to the US Ambassador. He also takes on small jobs for the CIA and one day hopes to become a full time agent. He lives with his girlfriend Caroline and is quite happy with his life, that is until he gets a call from his CIA boss about a new job. James has to go and meet his new partner who he has to help with a case.
James arrives at the airport to meet Charlie Wax, he is a trigger happy agent who spares no feelings and is more than happy to leave a trail of destruction wherever he goes. The pair do not hit it off straight away and James does not like the way Wax works.
The pair start on their mission but James soon discovers this line of work is not as good and fashionable as he imagined it to be. Can James get to thinking like wax and pull his socks up to help solve the case or will he go back to being the boring aide to the US Ambassador and forget his dreams?
I have wanted to see this film for some time now despite the fact it has had very mixed reviews and I am so please I finally got the DVD as both me and hubby loved it. The storyline was great , not very original but still very enjoyable and the acting just added to the pleasurable viewing experience.
The lead role of Wax was played by John Travolta, he was an excellent choice for this part. He look tough but still had an element of cheekiness about him which helped when he delivered the one liners and I loved how he was so carefree. He worked well with the weapons and looked at ease with them all and he managed to deliver all of his lines with authority and ease. He worked very well with Jonathan Rhys Meyers who played the role of James and I think this because they were so different. The role of James was a much softer one and he was less crazy. He was down to Earth yet he still got shocked by some of the stunts Wax pulled, there was a naivety to his character and I did enjoy seeing how he played to this.
We did get a lot of great support actors in the film and the stand out ones for me were that of Caroline, played by Kasia Smutnaik, and Ambassador Bennigton, played by Richard Durden. they were quite central roles in the story and I think they were both very good and strong roles and the actors did the characters justice.
There was a lot of action in this film and it was all to a very high standard, the scenes with the gun fights were very detailed and all of the actors looked at ease with the weapons and as if they genuinely knew how to use them. They fought well and made the punches look real and not staged. There was also a lot of special effects and explosions in the film and again they were all of a high standard and blended very well into the film. I enjoyed the driving scenes as there was no noticeable added backdrops. I am happy to give a lot of credit to the creators of the special effects as they did a superb job on this film. The props, sets and costumes were also very good and I did enjoy the fact that this was not set in America. We had some very nice shots around Paris and it was nice to be able to see another side to the city and not just the usual tourist places. The clothes were all modern so not much effort was needed in this area.
This is an action film but the role of Wax managed to bring a few moments of fun to it, he came out with a couple of very funny one liners and I think the crazy side of his character gave this film a lighter feel at times. This for me worked very well as it took a little away from the seriousness and made it more enjoyable and easy to watch. There was a good comedy timing from Wax when on screen with James and I think they made a good partnership.
The DVD which we have does not have any bonus feature but this is no great loss for me as I am not a fan of them anyway. The DVD is available for £5 in most stores and also on Amazon. I think this is a very fair price. The running time of the film is 89 minutes and I found this to be a great length with the story moving at a steady pace from start to finish. The rate is a 15 and I agree with this as there is a lot of violence and bad language and we do get to see drug use.
I am more than happy to give this film 5 stars as I loved it. The story and acting were excellent and the twist towards the end was not expected, hubby thought he had worked it all out but he was so wrong! This is definitely a film getting Travolta back on top form and one which is worth the price tag and the time spent watching.
"Taken" was 2008's guilty cinematic pleasure. A trashy, empty film which was little more than an excuse for lots of ridiculous, over-the-top gun battles vaguely connected together a loose plot and the charisma of Liam Neeson. It should have been trashy and rubbish; it was actually great fun.
Clearly a man who subscribes to the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" philosophy, Pierre Morel returned in 2010 with From Paris With Love. This is essentially "Taken 2", with the only major change being to replace a hammy Liam Neeson with an even hammier John Travolta. Otherwise, it's business as usual: lots of running around, lots of shooting people, lots of car chases; not much plot.
What little plot there is surrounds diplomat James Reece (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) who teams up with Charlie Wax (a maverick cop even by maverick cop standards) to take down a drugs cartel in Paris. Essentially, what this amounts to is giving Rhys Meyers and Travolta an excuse to run around Paris, shooting people, whilst exchanging banter. This is the cop-buddy movie reinvented for the new century.
Taken was very much Liam Neeson's film, and the man was clearly having great fun chewing up the scenery. The appeal of From Paris with Love equally lies in the slightly bulkier figure of John Travolta. Travolta has clearly bought into the whole Pierre Morel philosophy and knows that this film is nothing more than a tongue-in-cheek, disposable piece of entertainment. Hamming it up for all it's worth, Travolta is clearly relishing every line of cheesy dialogue, every ridiculous over-the-top kill and every stupid scenario in which his character finds himself.
Right from the start (an argument with customs officials over his energy drinks), Charlie Wax is a superb, fun, over-the-top creation. His discussion with French officials over whether the expletive "muddy funster" (use your imagination if you're not a Harry Enfield fan) should be used as a verb, noun or adjective is potentially deeply offensive, but actually ends up being very funny. There are plenty of similar moments and Wax never lets up. True, some of his comments are borderline offensive/racist (constant references to Towelheads etc.), but taken within the context of the tongue-in-cheek nature of the film, From Paris With Love just about gets away with it.
There are a number of nice tongue-in-cheek references to Travolta's previous films too (notably, his character's obsession with Royale with Cheese echoing that of Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction). These complement the fun, light approach of the rest of the film and provide little "in-jokes" which add to the enjoyment for those in the know
Inevitably, with such a larger-than-life lead character, others trail in his wake. In truth, the only other character of note is Wax's reluctant partner, Reece, who finds himself increasingly drawn into a world he doesn't understand. In most films, Jonathan Rhys Meyers' performance would be fine. Set him against Travolta firing on all cylinders, thought and he struggles to make much of a mark. True, he's saddled by the fact that he has to drive the (slim) plot, so has less freedom to cut loose, but even so, he's a little bit dull. In fairness, this is not entirely his fault, since the script puts so much focus on Travolta/Wax, that there is little room for anyone else.
It's not just about Wax, though, and the film also satisfies as an action movie. There are plenty of set-pieces and gun battles which work very well. It might not always be terribly obvious why Wax is shooting people, but who cares? From Paris With Love is an old-fashioned, unapologetic and brainless action film, it relies on fast-paced and regular action sequences to keep excitement levels up and everything else (plot development, character motivation) can go and hang itself. Normally, this would drive me mad, but From Paris with Love does it with style and verve and with such a sense of fun that it's impossible not to like, keeping the viewer's attention throughout its relatively short running time.
Of course, it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea. The main aim of the film is simply to entertain and this results in a lack of any sort of depth. Deep, well-defined characters are noticeable only by their absence and everything very superficial. If you're looking for an intelligent action film, watch the Bourne Trilogy; if you're looking for a guilty pleasure which aims to make the world of Bourne a fun place to be, then go and rent From Paris With Love now.
You also need to bear in mind that the film has both a high body count and a lot of swearing. Travolta is at his sweariest and most violent since Pulp Fiction; human life is cheap and Travolta shooting anyone he sees as a threat. Most of these are fairly clean Hollywood style kills (there is not a huge amount of blood and it certainly could not be accused of a realistic portrayal of gun deaths), but you could argue that the film makes guns look sexy. The general rule of thumb is this: if you liked Taken, you'll enjoy From Paris with Love; if you thought Taken shallow and empty, this is just more of the same. If you haven't seen Taken at all, then it will depend on how much you enjoy mindless action films.
A while back, I reviewed The Expendables, a film with a killer 80s cast that was a massive disappointment. The writer/director of that film - Sylvester Stallone - would do a lot worse than take a leaf out of Pierre Morel's book when he sits down to write the sequel. His mix of action with tongue in cheek humour is hugely enjoyable and a blast to watch. It captures the spirit and style of those great 80s action films and applies a bit of the new century's spit and polish. Sure, sooner or later, Morel's style over substance approach is going to wear thin, but now, enjoy his films for what they are: trashy pieces of mindless entertainment that are great fun to watch.
From Paris With Love
Director: Pierre Morel
Running time: approx. 92 minutes
What a disappointment! I was given this DVD and looked forward to watching it, as I am a fan of both John Travolta and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and I saw it had been written and produced by Luc Besson, who was also responsible for Taken, starring Liam Neeson, which was a fairly enjoyable, entertaining movie.
This one on the other hand, was decidedly 'B' movie-ish and extremely badly made. I would imagine Travolta and Rhys Meyers to be embarrassed with this result.
The story centres around Rhys Meyers, playing a wannabe agent; so far responsible for menial jobs like switching number plates, and Travolta's character, a supposedly "top" agent with years of experience.
The fight scenes and car chases were so amateurishly done as to appear to be a home movie.
Loaded with cliches and predictable dialogue, From Paris With Love leaves only one phrase in mind... "Non merci" no thank you, I'll pass.
It's a shame really because it could possibly have had a lot of potential, which is no doubt why these two actors signed up for it, but director Pierre Morel seems to have let them down in a big way.
I have seen more realistic action sequences in a video game.
I suppose you may have guessed by now that I was not impressed with this movie, but maybe that's just me. It will be interesting to read other reviews and different points of view, if there are any !?
Two agents. One city. No merci.
James Reece (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is an ambitious US aide living and working in Paris. He does a few jobs for the CIA, but secretly dreams of being a serious spy. One evening he is told to pick up an operative from the airport - Charlie Wax (John Travolta). Wax is a brash, gung ho nutter who goes about dispensing justice from the barrel of his gun. But exactly why is he in Paris, and what has it got to do with Reece?
After the initial adrenaline receded from my withering body after watching From Paris With Love, I could look back on the film with a critical eye. From Paris With Love is like a movie version of a very bad headache, you just had absolutely no idea what was going on - and everything happened at around 300 miles per hour.
John Travolta is by far the most interesting thing about this movie, and if thats your main selling point, then you may as well pack up your shop there and then. In fact, Travolta is a very interesting character here - Charlie Wax. Wax is a typical gung ho American who has come to Paris to show they how things are done properly ie. Blow everything up and kill as many hoodlums as feasibly possible.
The death count in the film was totally ludicrous, Wax was very adept as killing hundreds of people during his day in the company of Rhys Meyers. But as for the plot, I still have very little idea as to exactly what the hell was going on. I think it was about terrorists, but it just seemed secondary to Wax killing hundreds of people.
Director Pierre Morel also made the excellent 'Taken' with Liam Neeson a couple of years ago. But while Taken was hard hitting, realistic and thoroughly enjoyable, From Paris With Love is a pretty lame affair. I was very disappointed with the film in general, as the trailer made the film look so much better and funnier than it actually was.
If you like your action films then there are some parts of this film that you will like. However, as a whole the film just does not work and without Travolta's Wax the film would be a very mundane affair.
There is a reason why Luc Besson keeps doing what he does - making action-packed, ludicrously absurd, laughably over-the-top films that have car-chases, loud shoot-outs, hot women, big guns and electrifying music. It's because he's so good at it. So good in fact, that he never changes his ingredients or his methods. He knows who his target audience is and keeps pleasing them consistently. Whether he's written or directed the film, you can always tell if Besson has put his hands on it. He's incredibly reliable, so if you have the right level of expectation, he will never let you down.
It's the same case again with "From Paris with Love" a film that involves the CIA, the Chinese mob, a foreign assassination plot, oh and don't forget all the elements listed above. Besson wrote and produced this, and so his unique signature is there. Jesse Reece (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) is a young employee working directly for the U.S. ambassador in Paris. But he wants to do more for his country and he's interested in some high-class covert operations. He has been carrying out some low-level intelligence missions for the CIA, but Jesse, the keen young man that he is, wants more. Finally, his dream job arrives. His mission is to meet up with an American spy to help him stop a terrorist attack from taking place in the French capital. The spy is Charlie Wax (John Travolta), a trigger-happy loose cannon who seems to attract danger wherever he goes.
Of course, a lot of the plot is total non-sense. It gets more and more ridiculous as the film progresses, for the sake of oversimplifying the ending; for example, it even expects us to believe that a bomb can pass through a metal detector covered only by a piece of cloth. And this kind of careless security system is present at an important international gathering that invites many powerful people from around the world. Trying to reason with a terrorist with the message of love is just so cheesy, cringing, and plain wrong. But the film needed to wrap up quickly and the writers must have run out of ideas. The ending is a lot less impressive than its fast-paced build-up but that is the case in a lot of the blockbusters released nowadays. But again, let us remember that this is a film written by Besson and therefore we are here to be entertained, not to expect the plot to make a lot of sense. The plot is essentially a device that the director (Pierre Morel) can use to pack in as many explosive scenes as possible.
And yes, get ready for some speedy action, rapid super-cars, even faster bullets, and kilos of C4 explosives that are thrown in front of the camera. A lot of the action is fun and fortunately, Morel makes it possible for us to follow what's actually going on. Travolta may be old (56 this year), and slightly weighty but he's not too old to make the fights look at all forced or unconvincing. Sure, stunt-men must have been used, and it's obvious to figure out when, but his physical appearance is no way near as bad as others in their mid-fifties. And remember, he's supposed to be playing an incredibly experienced agent who is one of the best, so he shouldn't be expected to move around too much. He is so talented that he can take out multiple guys with machine guns from his single hiding position with his rather smaller-looking pistol. He is also one of those guys who know that he's good - he's arrogant, rules and ethics mean absolutely nothing to him and he does everything as he chooses. But in the end, he gets things done. Isn't that really the point? Rhys-Meyers, his protégé, is the perfect fit as the goofy but keen newbie, a doe-eyed puppy that's incredibly eager to learn. He's never done any challenging field work and so it's only natural for his character to be in absolute awe of his slick and suave partner. There is some comic relief that centres on this idea and the young Irish actor is more than competent at it. He is always outdone by the smart and sly one-liners that Travolta manages to whip out and he's clueless, amazed and astonished at everything he sees.
Some twists and turns try to improve the plot with not much success. They're not at all shocking and when everything boils down to a single terrorist plot carried out by a flimsy looking set of nobodies, it's hardly tense and the plot meandering is a little irritating, since it not only lengthens the film's running time, but also because it insults the intelligence of the audience. Do they really not expect us to figure out that a shifty looking supporting character who crops up every now and again won't have a significant part to play? It would be wrong if he/she didn't.
One critical but deliberate error the writers make is that the script is for some reason very keen on acknowledging one of Travolta's best work, "Pulp Fiction." The words "royale with cheese" practically screams the famous classic from the 90s, and the repeated indication cannot be mistaken for a coincidence. An odd move for sure since, why on earth would they want to remind the audience of a far superior film? "From Paris with Love" looks considerably worse next to Quentin Tarantino's Palme d'Or winner that's for sure. Would it not make some of us want to turn off this light-hearted action picture for a true masterpiece?
However "From Paris with Love" would serve well as a brainless, Friday night popcorn fun when you only want to see some explosions and hear some crashing noise. But on top of that you get a very decent comic performance from Travolta as well as from Rhys-Meyers. Well done Monsieur Besson, you've nailed it again.
note: also appears on my film review website, TheFilmBlogger.com
Following the audacious and gleefully nutty parkour-actioner District B13, and most recently the surprisingly entertaining Taken, barmy French director Pierre Morel, again under the tutelage of Luc Besson, throws another self-consciously ridiculous action pic our way in From Paris with Love, and while the results are more varied this time, it's still an admirable effort in all of its unapologetically silly glory.
James Reece (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is a personal aide to the American ambassador stationed in Paris, while also moonlighting as a diminutive CIA operative, when he becomes embroiled in a terrorist bomb plot. Myers - who has quietly impressed in a variety of roles, chiefly as Woody Allen's slimier-than-shit antagonist in Match Point - plays Reece like James Bond's nerdier best friend, and manages a pitch-perfect American accent for the most part.
It goes without saying that Morel once again nails the harebrained tone of his previous films, but he also fields out the clichés thick and fast, and - as in the instance when Reece can't get a surveillance chip to stick to the underside of a table with bubblegum - it's also pretty goofy at times. However, it isn't long before Reece is informed by his superiors that he is to team up with a fellow operative, in Charlie Wax (John Travolta) - a foul-mouthed, energy drink-chugging badass - and the film picks up a lot once this happens, with Wax dragging Reece through several increasingly nuts scenarios without really clueing him in on what's going on.
Indeed, the film walks a fine line between sheer corniness and rambunctious, hilarious irresponsibility, but for every cringe-inducing one-liner, there is a dafter-than-daft set-piece to apologise for it. It's undoubtedly fun seeing Travolta - bald-headed and all - single-handedly taking down a mob of Asian gangsters, and later on sliding down a pole upside-down, shooting the baddies en masse, but much like Morel's other films, it all feels a bit too harmless, and had he gone the Crank route, filling the screen with rib-tickling volumes of gore, he might have better nailed that over-the-top tone he is so desperately reaching for, and almost grabbing.
It's hard to deny the action is well-staged, though Morel only really embraces the absurdity full-on in the film's latter half, with a rather inventive use of a time-bomb being a particular highlight. Aside from the action, there's little other than Travolta's occasionally cutting zinger worth paying attention to, but there are a few exceptions - such as Wax forcing Reece to snort a handful of cocaine while in a packed Eiffel Towel lift - and nine times out of ten, these scenes work because of the chemistry between Travolta and Myers.
The twist-filled final reel is appropriately off-the-rails, and the climactic chase sequence ensures that things go out with a bang (literally), allowing Morel carte blanche to go nuts, while once again demonstrating some of that gorgeous car-chase direction that he mastered on Taken. There's also a tinge of moral tension inherent in the film's final dilemma, which riffs quietly on the nature of terrorism, yet Morel also remains true to the film's tone, keeping things loose and light.
If you enjoyed Morel's other films, you'll likely get a kick out of this one; it's loaded with frantic action, is fast and light on its feet, and benefits from Travolta's go-for-broke performance, as well as Morel's confident direction. It begins slowly and is certainly cheesy at times, but it's also refreshingly un-PC and serves up a few head-turning twists.
Movie From Paris with Love
The story is about James Reese who works in Paris for the American ambassador. He lives together with his girlfriend Caroline but lives a double life. Next to his normal job he also works as a low agent for the CIA and does easy jobs for them. His dream is to become a full-time CIA agent. He gets his chance when he has to work together with Charlie Wax who just arrived from America and who's being hold into custody by Customs. James first task is to get him free and then work with him during Charlie's stay in Paris. When he arrives at the airport he sees this hells angel kind of man that's in custody because he doesn't want to hand over his cans of energy drink! Not the type of man James expected to see, but he has no choice then to help him. From that point it doesn't really get much better and James is shocked by the way Charlie works and while James wants to do everything by the book, Charlie works in a totally different way. Charlie works as a mad man, but maybe is not that crazy after all?
John Travolta plays the part of Charlie Wax in this movie and really surprised me by his part. I was a little bit over him, but think he totally proved he still got it. He plays this wonderful fun role as Charlie Wax who looks like Mr. T from the A-team but then worse. He's violent and doesn't stick to the rules but gets done what needs to get done. He's not scared of anyone. John Travolta feels very at home in this part. He comes across very natural and believable and is really a pleasure to watch at. He really holds this movie. James Reese is being played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers and he's ok in his acting. I can understand it's not easy to shine next to John Travolta is his over the top part, but Reese is sometimes just flat in his acting. He's this typical handsome guy and it looks like he doesn't put enough effort in this role. A shame really, but John Travolta is more than enough to make this movie works.
You love or hate this movie. It's a typical 'over the top' movie with lot of action and humour which makes it a really fast movie. The beginning feels a little bit slow, but then it goes into streets gangs, drug dealers and terrorists, all with the beautiful Paris as background which make it really impressive. You won't really get the chance to enjoy Paris that much because the scenes are that fast and also mostly inside. The actions scenes look good, but don't expect them to be realistic, because they are not. They are really dramatic and over the top, which makes it very entertaining. I enjoyed this movie a lot from the beginning to the end. I even thought the movie should have been longer because it felt like I had only watch half an hour, while 92 minutes had already past. Overall it's more John Travolta who did it for me and loves him as Charlie Wax! From Paris with Love is a movie to watch!
Running time: 92 minutes
Director: Pierre Morel
Country: United States
Jonathan Rhys Meyers as James Reese
John Travolta as Charlie Wax
Kasia Smutniak as Caroline
Jonathan plays Reece,a young official at the US Embassy in France, and he is informed to receive US agent Charlie(played by Travolta). Reece doesn't know what he is signing off for and finds Charlie to be a violence loving agent who takes him along in his rampant raid against a probable terrorist attack on the city.
The basic plot of the film is nothing new for cinemas and this recent trend of making films on state security issues is quite disturbing actually. Gone are the days when enemity is personal, film-makers now capitalize on the recent world situation and presents us with issues of the government.
Having said all that, From Paris with Love is entertaining and fun to a certain extent. The primary aim of this film is to entertain and it never scares to cross the logical barrier to create an amusing situation. Its good that the film only runs for 87minutes before running out of new ideas to incorporate in the story. The twist in the latter portion of the film was totally unexpected and catches you by surprise.
I have a personal disliking towards John Travolta but he manages to pull off a decent performance. Now that I think of it, I think its his hair that makes him irritating! Jonathan Rhys Meyers could've found a meatier role, he's mostly following John Travolta especially in the first half. The young actress as Reece's fiancé does a fine job with whatever she had.
From Paris With Love isn't the best action film you will come across but if you are just looking for a carefree entertaining movie, you might just like watching it.
Anyone who has seen Pierre Morel's action movie 'Taken', will know what to expect from the French director's latest offering 'From Paris With Love'. Springing forth with the awe-inspiring tag-line "Two Agents, One City, No Merci" (I couldn't do better myself!), both Taken and From Paris With Love share an incredibly fast paced string of set-pieces, combined with an extremely high body-count - the mind should be firmly set to 'off' before viewing this film. Produced and written by Luc Besson ('Leon', 'The Fifth Element', 'Taxi') the movie has a 15 certificate and a run-time of 92 minutes.
Jonathan Rhys Myers plays 'James Reece', an employee of the Parisian US Ambassador's office who has ambitions to become a secret agent. Reece gets an opportunity to fulfill his dreams when he's paired with Charlie Wax (John Travolta), a larger-than-life spy with a loose trigger finger and an appetite for destruction. It's Reece's job to escort Wax around the city, although he quickly gets drawn into a world of danger when a terrorist group plots to cause destruction at a political summit which is being held in the city. Can Reece help Wax save the day? or will the unlikely pairing fall at the first hurdle?
The plot covers everything you would expect from a action film, ranging from terrorists and drug dealers, to prostitutes and gang warfare. The whole ensemble is set against the backdrop of Paris, although (apart from an extended scene in the Eiffel Tower) the viewer doesn't have long to focus on the sights and sounds of the French city. To be honest, the story in general is pretty terrible, and there are a number of scenes which make little or no sense whatsoever. Anyone looking for something new to the action genre will be sorely disappointed, as the whole production is entirely predictable and formulaic from start to finish. That's not to say it isn't fun - because it is, it's just that thinking about the plot for too long will undoubtedly ruin your enjoyment.
The movie has a certain edginess about it due to lead character Wax's unconventional ways - in fact, he could be considered borderline racist, which leaves a bitter taste in the mouth - he's more than happy to dispatch anyone who is Asian, with a shoot first and ask questions later approach. In this sense, the film has a very 80's feel about it, going along with a 'non-white ethnic groups must be terrorists' attitude. It's all a bit out of place, not very PC, and to be honest, I can see how the movie has sparked a lot of controversy.
The current crop of reviews for From Paris With Love on The Internet Movie Database seem to be in the camp of either "best movie ever made", or "worst movie ever made" - the real love-it-or-hate-it Marmite approach. To be honest, I personally think that the film is a long way from either of these extremes, and your enjoyment of it will depend on your attitude. If you go with the approach that it's a tongue-in-cheek pastiche of the action genre, then you'll probably have fun - wheras if you read too much into proceedings, you may well struggle to keep your interest levels high. One of the problems arises due to the fact that Travolta seems to be having a lot of fun, wheras everyone else appears to be taking themselves a little bit too seriously.
Travolta's face looks ridiculous in the guise of Wax - with a beard that seems like it has been drawn on with a thick black marker pen, and a shaven head which makes him look like someone not to be messed with - he's appears to be a white 'Mr T', with a scarf instead of the medallions. It's a run of the mill role for Travolta, and he seems to be relishing this current crop of edgy characters at the moment. As the inexperienced partner 'Reece', Rhys Meyers is merely OK in the role, going through the motions without any real sparkle - he's supposed to play the straight man to Travolta's extravagant actions - and that he certainly does, but he's fairly dull in the process, and the film lacks quality as a result. Putting aside the average performances, the character development is also somewhat missing, and with a bit of extra back-story the supporting characters could, and should have been more interesting.
All in all, From Paris With Love is a really ridiculous film which definitely falls into the genre of 'action trash' - however, action trash can be entertaining, and if it's non-stop gun battles you're after, then you won't go too far wrong here. That said, if you're someone who demands realism from your action flicks, then you may well be disappointed - Wax dispatches armies of men without so much of a scratch for his troubles, and such a loose cannon couldn't possibly be an agent in real life - best to suspend belief methinks. Rolling Stone described the film as "crushing dull repetition that makes one noisy, violent scene play exactly like the last one", and whilst this is certainly the case, it's not quite as bad as it sounds.
One entertaining character doesn't make for a decent film, and although Charlie Wax is full of potential and occasionally interesting - he's also quite annoying too. This, combined with the fact that the plot is incredibly daft, makes From Paris With Love a three-star film at best. I think the movie can be summed up in three words - ridiculous yet watcheable.
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John Travolta - Charlie Wax
Jonathan Rhys Meyers - James Reece
Kasia Smutniak - Caroline
Richard Durden - Ambassador Bennington
Yin Bing - M. Wong
Amber Rose Revah - Nichole
Eric Godon - Foreign Minister
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Runtime: 92 minutes
When my partner mentioned this film to me I presumed that it was a romcom, so I agreed to watch it with him, however the moment it started I knew I was wrong. I'm not a huge action/thriller fan but continued to watch it as I knew John Travolta was in it.
** The Plot **
James Reece is the United States Ambassador's personal aide, he lives in Paris with his stunning French girlfriend Caroline. James is happy with his life but he dreams of becoming a secret agent and is working for the CIA on the side doing small jobs. However James gets a call one day telling him that he has an assignment and he must leave immediately to pick up his partner special agent Charlie Wax. Charlie Wax is the best of the best, he goes in all guns blazing, no questions asked, a method James is not happy with as he is new to this role and is well and truly out of his comfort zone. However the two embark on an action packed mission and develop an unlikely friendship.
** Cast/Characters **
John Travolta plays loose cannon Charlie Wax
Jonathan Rhys Meyers plays naïve James Reece
Kasia Smutniak plays beautiful Caroline
Richard Durden plays dopey Ambassador Bennington
For a full list of cast and characters you can view them at www.imdb.com.
** My opinion **
The film started off well, with basic introductions to the Ambassador and James's home life, although it took me a little while to get what James was up to, I couldn't work out if he was a good or bad guy, which was a little frustrating.
John Travolta was nearly unrecognisable in this film, and his look suited the character of Wax very well. Again John Travolta gave an amazing performance, as he does with all his film, and although some of the scenes were unrealistic, in terms of plot, his acting made it enjoyable.
The most interesting and enjoyable bits of this film are the twists, you wouldn't see them coming. I like this from a film, there's nothing worse then being able to predict a characters every move, but with this film it is impossible. The story has been intelligently written and the characters gave nothing away in their faces. From what I can remember there is only one bit in the film that made me jump, and it was so unexpected, definitely one of the best scenes in the film.
The backing music suited the scenes perfectly, some were soft and sweet and others were fast paced and chilling. With some films the music can overpower the actors which can be incredibly annoying as you have to fight to hear whats being said but this did not happen in this film. It complimented the films themes and characters very well.
Some of the action was unrealistic, but that's just my opinion, I am not a secret agent so I wouldn't know how it really happens lol. In the beginning I thought "oh no, another one of those films centred around boys with their toys" but this film had a brilliant story behind it and it was very enjoyable to watch. It was gory in places but the action scenes were to fast paced to really notice.
** Overall **
Overall this was a very good action/thriller, I wouldn't say when watching it, that there's no thinking involved, because there are quite a few twists. The cating in the whole film, from all is amazing especially from John Travolta, other than face off, this is the first film I have seen where he plays this kind of character, it works well for him. If you like an action packed film then you will definitely enjoy From Paris with love. Girls beware this is not a romcom lol, but great to watch. A definite must see.
The TV advert/trailer is really what put this film on my to watch radar as I probably wouldn't have heard of it otherwise, but knowing about it, how can I pass up a film with John Travolta dressed as a skinhead and ready to beat up some bad guys for the government, and after the excellent performance in Taking Pelham 1 2 3 as a bad guy terrorist him switching sides hasn't affected his beat them up attitude role one bit.
James Reese is the personal assistant to the U.S Ambassador in France and has set up a nice comfortable life in Paris living with his girlfriend, but he also has a low level job working for the CIA, doing low level jobs like you witness him changing the car's license plates for some other CIA agents, but he wants a more high priority job in the CIA and gets the chance when Wax a CIA agent comes into the country (and detained by Customs) and James is assigned to be is partner/driver, from the first sight of Wax arguing with the customs agent about his Energy Drinks, James doesn't like the look of him, and is right to think so as in the next few hours James is taken on a ride by Wax in a drug dealer busting, terrorist hunting 'rampage' through Paris as he tries to hunt down a bunch of terrorists and to James' horrific surprises they come to a unwelcome outcome.
Thoughts on Story
I've seen a number of movies which follow a similar storyline, Rush Hour being one that comes instantly to mind, but even though the story still seemed quite original taking the audience through a high paced ride from one side of Paris to the next with the odd shootout as Wax deals with the bad guys leaving James' struggling to stay alive, but at the same time learning about the field of work he is desperate to be in. In essence it was a fantastic story and throughout the whole 1 hour and 30 minutes of the film I never found myself getting bored watching a shootout one minute, and then a high speed chase down a motorway with Wax out of the window with a rocket launcher the next. Although I've got to admit that the first few minutes of the movie were slightly boring and lacked explanation, leaving me slightly confused, it quickly picks up when Wax comes into the picture. This is possibly one of the best but underappreciated action movies around and if you enjoyed Rush Hour, this will probably blow you mind with awesome.
Using one word to describe the acting talents of John Travolta and Jonathan Rhys Meyers in this action filled film would simple be 'Amazing', as not only does Jonathan Rhys Meyers play James Reese outstandingly, giving him that constantly worried feel as when he misses a phone call or is in a shootout, but is able to show the character progression from wimp to hero. John Travolta is one of my favourite people to see in an action movie as he is great for playing tough guys with a personality, and this is no exception as he is fantastic in portraying Wax a crazy government agent who gets things done.
Underrated and Bad Reviews, But Still Good
The film hasn't been accepted in the film review community very well, as the majority of magazine and online reviewers have given it quite low rating and negative comments. I strongly disagree with these reviews as the film may not have been as original as it could be taking a lot of concepts from other film, however this is what I find makes it so good, and I'd really advice people to give this film a shot before judging it by others reviews, as it is an excellent film.
Finally I'd just like to say, I enjoyed this film to a great extent, John Travolta gave and exceptional performance and the numerous action scenes were brilliant to watch, my favourite being the motorway chase seen as shown in the trailer. The ending was also quite unexpected and seemed to have just been thrown in, but it still work, fitting in with the other high paced and unexpected elements I'm surprised I expected any less. Even though it has gotten some negative reviews, I'd say it is slightly unfair and I personally loved it.