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Movie Review: From Paris with Love (February, 2009)

Director: Pierre Morel
Screenplay: Adi Hasak, more story by Luc Besson
Release Date: February 5, this site 2010
Actors: John Travolta, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Kasia Smutniak

Explosions, wit, guns, action, car chases, love story, great characters, what more could you ask for? From Paris with Love is simply a fun and highly entertaining ride. John Travolta plays Charlie Wax, a top special operative that is specifically flown into Paris to handle a situation of national security. His role as Wax is certainly very different from his last role in Old Dogs, as a kid-sitting, over the hill company leader. Instead, Wax is edgy, and uses unorthodox means to get the job done. Jonathan Rhys Meyers on the other hand, also plays a role that is quite a departure from his well known King Henry XIII from Showtime’s The Tudors. As the US Ambassador’s Assistant, Jonathan Rhys Meyers plays the brainy thinker of James Reese, so smart and seemingly ahead a few steps of everyone, he can win chess games easily against the ambassador. Hoping he can eventually move up to special ops, his contact hands him a huge assignment that will either make or break his promotion. His only problem: he has to partner up with Wax.

The chemistry between Travolta and Meyers is what really makes this film so entertaining. Travolta, playing rough and infallible, delivers the best lines. Meyers plays the straight guy, who has a hard time grasping the idea of shooting everyone and everything in order to clean everything related to their assignment. Usually, a match up such as these two kind of characters are so overdone, but Meyers is not over-the-top timid, shy or dorky. Reese is not comedic through his character, but instead by the actions of which Wax puts him through. This makes Reese’s character more believable (though Wax’s surviving skills is very unbelievable).

Filmed in France, we actually don’t see much of the beauty that makes France France, and at times, I felt the movie could have been filmed anywhere.

I enjoyed this more than Edge of Darkness, and Law Abiding Citizen mainly due to the comedic element and the amount of wit and attention to detail (believe it or not). I compare From Paris with Love with those films mainly due to the thriller, shoot ’em up, blow ’em up aspect of each. One of my favorite lines, in reference to shooting up Chinese, Reese: ‘Is that all of them?‘ Wax: ‘About 1 billion more, according to the latest census‘. Regarding detail, I liked how when Reese and Wax entered the Chinese restaurant, there is a woman singing a very famous Chinese song, but after the shoot ’em up starts happening (early on the film), everyone screams and runs away, yet, that song still continues in the background, telling the audience that no, that woman wasn’t really singing any song. Just small little moments such as the one described that add to the overall humor of the film. Also, for Pulp Fiction fans, there is a fun reference that Travolta makes that should tickle your funny bone and fans should immediately recognize.

I love witty films as they are my favorite type of comedy (think Little Miss Sunshine), and with the added action and two terrific lead actors, I think for a film that aims to entertain, From Paris with Love does not fail. If you like action films, this surely will not disappoint. Some may ask, what’s with the ‘Love’ being in the title? Well, there is a love story in the underlying plot, and because of it, I like how the phrase ‘Love’ gets tied in. Though the screenplay is written by Adi Hasak, Luc Besson wrote the story. Luc Besson has written countless of other stories, including The Transporter series, the wonderful Taken and District 13. The story is not very complicated, but simplicity works for this short running film. Besson has worked with the director Pierre Morel on Taken and District 13, both of which were well liked by most, especially Taken. The combination of Besson and Morel produces another hit, this time on a less serious note.

Yes! Recommended! Fun and entertaining, though violent (but less so in comparision to Edge of Darkness, Book of Eli, and Law Abiding Citizen, which was downright bloody…) 3.5 Checkmates / 5 Checkmates


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