Monday, March 29, 2010

From Paris with Love

And so the theatrical drought months continue. This week's victim... From Paris with Love. A title that makes about as little sense as the film itself. Being the second joint venture from latter day action guru Luc Besson and director Pierre Morel, a better title for this cinematic mess would have been "Cluster-frak to the Plot Device."

The plot, near as I can tell, follows James Reese played by Tudors star Jonathan Rhys Meyers, an aspiring US ambassador's assistant stationed in Paris. Days before a US official arrives for a summit meeting, Reese is unwittingly planted alongside American wild-card hit-guy Charlie Wax, a terribly miscast and silly looking John Travolta, and the two stumble upon some, well, terrorist stuff somehow.

Luc Besson can still function as a producer and Morel's visual style is tailor made for the action genre, however the script by Adi Hasak is as frustratingly pedestrian as it is blatantly immature. Travolta's role sounds specifically written for Wesley Snipes and when he either declined or wasn't available, nobody bothered to adjust it for Travolta and his doughy physique. Whether it's his overuse of MF-bombs or the idiotic bald head/goatee combo, the outcome is unintentional comedy. And while it takes a great deal of finesse and planning to cut those action scenes around a middle aged chubster dressed like a Tusken Raider from Star Wars: A New Hope, you can't help but laugh at the fact that this is the guy who was in Old Dogs not two months ago. As a conglomerate of fifteen years of better action films, From Paris with Love contains enough laughs to warrant a Red Box rental if nothing else, but just know you'll be laughing AT it, not WITH it.

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