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Overall Rating

Awesome: 16.67%
Worth A Look: 23.33%
Average: 23.33%
Pretty Bad33.33%
Total Crap: 3.33%

3 reviews, 12 user ratings

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From Paris with Love
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by William Goss

"Paris, City of Fights"
3 stars

Director Pierre Morel and producer Luc Besson have already demonstrated their particular knack for sometimes dumb, often thrilling action movies – 'Taken,' 'District B13,' 'The Transporter' – but the balance has finally tipped in the opposite direction with their sometimes thrilling, often dumb 'From Paris with Love'.

James Reece (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) is an errand boy for both the American Embassy in Paris and some secretive agency, eager to get a taste of proper action in his line of work. Sure enough, he does, but at the cost of being paired up with the brash Charlie Wax (John Travolta), whose unorthodox methods shake up our timid protagonist but still get the job done.

It’s basically a buddy cop movie like we’ve seen dozens of times before – a little less Taken, a little more Training Day, with Travolta basically lifting his own proudly profane performance from last summer’s The Taking of Pelham 123 and giving it a few extra winks and nods. He gets to spout cheesy one-liner after cheesy one-liner when he’s not making the stunt double earn his keep, and Rhys-Meyers just tries to keep up without tripping over his own mega-earnest American accent. The action’s as workmanlike as ever (a compliment in a genre fond of shooting too shakily and cutting too quickly), but the comedy’s often only funny so far as pop culture name-checking goes (Pulp Fiction, “Star Trek” and The Karate Kid all get their due).

But early on, Paris fits into a looser groove, when Reece is forced to lug around a vase full of cocaine and Wax plays more with genre cues than self-referential zingers. It’s one thing for Travolta’s character to accost Customs officers with fluid use of the word “motherfucker” or slip in a “Wax on, Wax off” bit; it’s another when said character later addresses the fact that those are very much a superficial divisionary tactic. When Reece is called upon to drop the vase for dramatic effect, he misses his cue – at which point Wax insistently repeats whatever latest zinger he had let loose with. It’s not quite meta-commentary, but it’s a nice touch that fades away once the coke high does.

From there on out, the pacing remains breathless even when the plotting turns graceless, as nuggets of exposition get doled out every so often and plot twists come on so suddenly that they in effect rob the film of any tension or stakes – which is only really a problem once the villains manifest themselves as Middle Eastern stereotypes straight out of Besson and Morel’s own Taken and a tearful monologue brings the climax to a screeching halt.

We didn’t come here for sincerity or a sermon, motherfucker. We came for action, which 'From Paris with Love' mostly delivers. Everything else, though, falls at the intersection of all-American arrogance and all-American ignorance, which is a funny result to get out of two of France’s most action-savvy filmmakers.

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originally posted: 02/06/10 01:34:47
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User Comments

3/04/13 sam lame action flick.. 2 stars
4/08/11 Josie Cotton is a goddess This acion/"comedy" ould have used some humor 2 stars
1/04/11 mr.mike Just saw John T. at the bank , cashing his paycheck. 3 stars
11/10/10 shootkillshootkill hell yah thats why this movie rocks but it can use even less sidekick tho 5 stars
11/06/10 tex so, charlie actually gets off on seeing the other guy beating up that dude in the ghetto??? 5 stars
10/04/10 Jeff Wilder Not bad. But not that good either. Travolta's cool. But it's too damn routine overall. 2 stars
9/22/10 sunny day You Americans should be glad that we view you as rampaging maniacs with a killing disorder. 5 stars
8/17/10 bored mom Story sucks, but hey, Wax is an obnoxiously funny mass-murdering crack-addicted psychopath. 4 stars
8/02/10 blurverve I thought it was entertaining 5 stars
6/16/10 Roy Smith It's the War of Terrorism as Grand Theft Auto. Not very bright. 2 stars
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  05-Feb-2010 (R)
  DVD: 08-Jun-2010


  DVD: 08-Jun-2010

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