From Paris With Love

You have to admire a film’s tenacity in borrowing its title from a James Bond novel.  Whilst the elegant capers of From Russia With Love are light years away from the urban scrapes of this action spectacle, their European settings and fast paced exploits bind them. There the similarities end as it’s difficult to imagine this film’s gung-ho protagonists looking comfortable in a Savile Row tux.
Working as an ambassadorial aide in France, James Reece (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) wishes for a more exciting life as a CIA agent.  Ignoring the phrase ‘be careful what you wish for’, he is offered his first high level assignment.  Tasked with preventing a terrorist attack, his dream turns into a nightmare when he meets his new partner Charlie Wax (John Travolta).  Always shooting first before asking questions, Charlie’s loopy ways give James a taste of danger he may not have wanted.
From Paris With Love is very much an American action movie done from a French perspective.  It’s style is as big and brassy as any U.S. bullet-fest, but under the surface there seems an undercurrent of mischief as the mostly French crew send up an American movie staple.  Utilising the ‘cop-buddy’ riff, the production team ensure their hometown is beautifully photographed amidst the outlandish carnage.  From that angle it works, as the Parisian locales deflect from a familiar plot filled with one dimensional characters.
Although you can hardly call this hokum subtle, it benefits from a great performance from John Travolta.  His ability to completely immerse himself into different personas works here, as his near lunatic role has an ongoing sense of unpredictability.  Coupled with top notch action sequences, there’s always enough to maintain enthusiasm until the fairly predictable finale.  You really can’t take anything seriously as each scene morphs into the next in a haze of fiery gunsmoke.  If you like these sort of films it’s best to go along for the ride as the journey is at least entertaining.
Produced by famed French director Luc Besson, From Paris With Love is a Euro-trash action spectacle.  It does the job in providing diverting amusement for awhile which, in the business of enticing fans of the genre, it does so with tongue firmly in cheek.
Rating out of 10:  6

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