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Movie Review: From Paris With Love

Prinz Lee image

Prinz Lee wrote this review 5 years ago

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Written 2/4/10

Other than Transporter 3 and Taken, I’m not familiar with any other films directed by Pierre Morel. However; I will say this… if there’s something appealing about the-man-behind-the-curtain is that he gets straight to the point. Wastes no time with any dull dragged out development(s) and gives the audience what they’re expecting. Please don’t misunderstand my comments in any way, because I’m one who enjoys a little of everything. It’s great to have a well paced out film, it’s just that some directors have a different approach on it and periodically leads to disaster(s). To each his own, and with From Paris with Love, Morel kept continuity to a flow and with great intention I feel delivered a pretty decent action-packed film.

From Paris with Love presents a personal aide to U.S. Ambassador in France, James Reece (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) with an envious life in Paris, a HOT French girlfriend (Kasia Smutniak), an admiring wit for Chess, however; his real passion is his side gig as a low-level operative for the CIA. All James wants is to become a bona fide agent and see some real action! So when he's offered his first senior-level assignment, he can't believe his good luck until he meets his new partner, special agent Charlie Wax (John Travolta). Who’s a trigger-happy, foul-mouthed, wisecracking, loose cannon that’s been sent to Paris to stop a terrorist attack. Wax leads James on a hot trailing shooting spree through the Parisian underworld that has James praying to go back to his desk job. But when James discovers he’s a target of the same crime ring they're trying to bust, he realizes there's no turning back… and that Wax himself might be his only hope of survival for the next forty-eight hours.

Acting-wise all characters seemed to have been simple. Perhaps I may be coming off a bit naive or delusional, however; there was nothing demanding from anyone, nor was it needed. “Reese” was a very prim and proper, always micro-managing every job and extremely anal type that learns to slowly adjust from shifting his embassy blank day-to-day job, to a more up-front and raw approach upon his job and personal life, which was portrayed by Rhys Meyers pretty well.

Travolta wasn’t bad as “Wax.” Even bald, glowering, and goateed, he couldn’t do away with his sensitive side, so he’s never entirely convincing as a stone-cold government assassin. This took me by surprise as recalling his performances as a bad-ass in films like The Taking of Pelham 1,2,3 and Face Off were pretty good. However; he’s still pretty hilarious when placed alongside Rhys Meyers’s nerdy “James Reece.”

Overall, the film has a lot to deliver. For the most part, the story’s pretty simple to follow and with lots of action that pretty much goes hand in hand as the film goes along, it doesn’t allow you to lose out on any understanding or interest - especially during an unexpected twist, which always comes in handy. Yes, it’s violently exaggerated, but pretty engaging. I said earlier how Morel just gets straight to the point and he does. It’s a fast paced piece, but I found it pretty interesting how he tied in some pretty decent character development as all the shooting is going on. From the typical boss and employee talk, to a seductive girlfriend in-demand of moves, to planting hearing devices all through that ONE and ONLY call that sets off the pace… all tight, detailed and right to the point. Perhaps the establishment was clearly defined in the script… and with such a speedy story that goes from 0 to 100mph in a matter of minutes (25/30 at best), he had a precise vision on how to display it. I wonder if his brain was smoking during reading the script. I also wonder what that meeting with the D.P. must have been like.... “Okay, this – that – here – there and BANG! THE END! GOT IT?!!?” Setting all that aside… when it came down to casting the film, what exactly led to Rhys Meyers and Travolta? Hmm… something I guess we’ll have to wait for when the film’s released on DVD which I’m sure will be in the ‘Special Features’ section.

Truth is a lot in this film makes me (at least) wonder about how deep government operatives really go to get the bad guys? I constantly see documentaries on CIA / Special Op agents out in Afghanistan for example and the brain that goes into making sure a job is carried out whether it be by eliminating someone or just infiltrating a crowd to which they know are extremely dangerous and hold no punches, turns out to be pretty intense. Quite enjoyable, but also hits a nerve as complexities are inevitable and precise/detailed studies must go into play… with very little - close to NO mistakes if possible. Out there somewhere there has to be a “James Reece” and “Charlie Wax” working with one another and providing some of the most unique intelligence ever pertaining to all sorts of crimes and corruption. Too bad they’re not Travolta or Rhys Meyers because if you think of it… it would be cool in some ways to know that they’re not only kicking ass in movies, but in real life as well. But only in an ideal world I guess, but much recognition and respect comes from my part. Given they’re DOING the right thing and NOT abusing their power of course.

(Cough) Okay, well, enough with the politics. All I can say is that From Paris with Love is quite entertaining and I think Morel has a winner here. A good pop-corn flick if I may add, doesn’t disappoint anyone looking for a good action flick and be warned… it’s pretty loud.



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