Sunday, 28 February 2010

Review: From Paris with Love

Year: 2010
Director: Pierre Morel
Screenplay: Adi Hasak
Starring: John Travolta, Jonathan Rhys Meyers

Plot Synopsis is here

Bringing up the rear of the January to February junk train is From Paris with Love a wreck of a movie that reminded me why I'm not as interested in action movies as much any more. It's producer and story writer Luc Besson is a filmmaker who has brought about some classic action to audiences. Far-fetched many they may be, and yet grounded with solid characters who you can get behind and a plot that not only intrigues but allows the action to flow well along side it. It seems that Besson has become bored of all this "effort" and now writes stories (I use the term loosely in the case of this film) so some jobber can try (I use the term strongly) to write the screenplay. The result is a lazy excuse of a plot that could be fixed with five extra pages to fill out that tiny little thing called plot.

I don't mind streamlined plot, and I don't mind all out action, but I do want them to sit together well. Here they don't. Reason? Well there's no plot to speak of. No internal logic, no true reasoning behind certain things just...stuff happens. What about the action that will patch the so called story together? Bland as they come. We saw similar in the Besson produced Taken but at least with that film I enjoy the time I spent with a restrained but dangerous Liam Nesson. In this film we have John Travolta to contend with.

Travolta has decided to go back into the Pelham 123 bag and pull out another demented performance as a bigoted "wigger". How do you get a bigoted wigger you may ask. Did you not see what I wrote above? Travolta's hammy over acting isn't as frustrating as it was in Tony Scott's movie but still has it's moments of irritation. To describe this role; in the eighties it would have been cast by a bad black comic because Eddie Murphy wouldn't be available. Jonathan Rhys Meyers doesn't fare much better as the straight man, mostly because the film doesn't care enough about him. In a film like this the chemistry of the actors and the connection of the characters should be central to the story. However, as they're is no story then there's no chemistry or connection. We're waiting for them to stop talking to get to the next average action sequence (admittedly at least the scenes are edited well enough so you can see what happens).

Director Pierre Morel clearly has talent as a director of capturing action, but there's nothing in this film that had the verve of District 13 nor the bluntness of Taken. The story needs works and for those who felt there was xenophobia in Taken should not watch this movie. Although a couple of guys did laugh at the fact that John Travolta shot down loads of Muslims and bragged about it. But that also says a lot about them not the movie, but then that was the only time people actually found anything in this film funny. The films schizophrenic tone doesn't know if it wants to be serious or absurd and tries to tread water...not a good idea.

For those who want to watch what I would consider a well done action flick with a streamlined plot; watch Taken or Shoot em up. For those have money to burn on a film with a irrational toned piece of mediocrity....ENJOY!