The newest thriller in theaters is an hour-and-a-half joyride of corny humor and intense action.†From Paris with Love, directed by Pierre Morel,†who has been praised for his work in such movies as†District 13†and†Taken, does not meet viewers’ expectations.†The director’s edge for special effects and high intensity action sequences remain evident whereas the cast offers little to “love.”
The plot begins with a humble low-level operative in the CIA named James Reese (played by Jonathan Rhys Myers) who aspires to be a field agent.††After being assigned to his first senior-level assignment, Reese meets his new partner, the eccentric Charlie Wax (played by John Travolta). The two men make the perfect mismatched pair of brawn and brains as they face a wave of gangs, drugs and terrorists in the underground world of Paris.††It becomes an unforgettable 48 hours for both parties, but is, forgettable to the viewers.
The film plays more like a lukewarm parody of a James Bond movie mixed with the characteristics of a dramatic comedy. With recycled lines such as “Wax on, wax off,” the screenwriters attempt to include humor in an action film, but instead confuse audiences.†The movie seems to lack any solid depth of emotion, only eliciting a few sporadic chuckles from viewers.†
The esteemed actors also do not contribute to the movie’s appeal. Travolta’s role does not fit the typical suave secret agent, but instead a rough-around-the-edges and slightly insane assassin with an interesting sense of humor. He is known for playing crazy characters very well, but falls short in making his character believable. A husky 50-something-year-old Travolta going on shooting sprees in the middle of Paris makes the role awkward.† Myer’s character†lacks a bit of depth as he plays the more reserved, straight-edged and eager sidekick, who realizes the chaos he puts himself into afterwards.†
What the movie lacks in characters and some content, it makes up in action and cinematography.†Morel does not miss when it comes to†stunning visual effects in action, especially with preposterous, but satisfying,†well-choreographed fight scenes.††For about an hour and a half, it makes for an entertaining mix of highs and lows.
From Paris With Love†is a minimally exciting thrill ride combined with a tragic love story.† The main problem is that it often fails to convince the audience with authenticity and seriousness of characters and its plot. If given a better screenplay, the storyline could actually be intriguing.
However, it ends up†just†being a mediocre†film that leaves audiences hoping for a bit more.†