Review of From Paris with Love


Movie Review: "From Paris With Love" --

Rating: R
Length: 92 minutes
Release Date: February 5, 2010
Directed by: Pierre Morel
Genre: Action, Crime and Thriller
3 out of 5

"From Paris with Love" is a true action movie and a nonstop parade of dramatic scenes. Starring John Travolta, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Kasia Smutniak, the film covers the actions of the CIA in targeting terrorists and drug lords on the streets of Paris. The film is entertaining and certain to please fans of action movies and those wanting to see Travolta sporting an earring and wielding a gun.

The story centers on Special Agent Charlie Wax (played by John Travolta) and his efforts to eradicate a group of Pakistani terrorists and Chinese drug dealers. Wax, who is a spy, has been sent to Paris on a mysterious assignment with the CIA. Along the way, he pairs up with James Reese (played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers), a fellow CIA operative who is masquerading as an employee of the American ambassador in France. With Reese's connections, Wax is let into Paris with his assortment of cleverly disguised weapons.

The mission Wax and Reese embark upon remains unclear throughout the movie, but the details are irrelevant. Their primary concern is that terrorists and drug dealers are out to kill the two CIA agents intending to interrupt the corrupt acts. Throughout the movie, Wax and Reese participate in an endless supply of chases and fight scenes to emerge victorious.

"From Paris with Love" is light on plot and heavy on violence. Viewers who try to keep track of the body count are likely to lose count a few scenes into the film. Travolta's character is a gun-toting lunatic, and he sees the people he kills as disposable. Despite his continuous murders, Wax displays a remarkable lack of emotion, even commenting at one point on the number of people he has left to kill. Writers Adi Hasak and Luc Besson show infrequent attempts to add elements of drama and story; instead, they seem to prefer to let the action remain the focus. As a result, the story takes a back seat.

Travolta is the central focus of the movie, overshadowing every other character in the film. Even the charismatic Rhys Meyers pales in comparison. Travolta's portrayal of Wax is over the top and larger than life, and viewers will find it difficult to look away from his bald head and slightly crazed grin. As he has aged, Travolta has not lost any of his appeal; to the contrary, he pops off the screen and dominates each scene. His muscular physique and remarkable fitness lends a sense of realism to "From Paris with Love."

The action in "From Paris with Love" is nonstop and geared toward the preferences of modern audiences. Travolta takes center stage in every action sequence, but he is rarely shown for long. Instead, the film cuts to the younger and more agile actors who play the drug dealers and terrorists, and the magic of CGI fills in the rest. As a result, viewers may feel that there is something missing. Fortunately, the sheer force of Travolta's personality and power compensate for the lack in realism. In fact, the movie has a slight fantasy element that serves to move the action scenes faster and make a bigger impact.

Director Pierre Morel chooses a camera style that brings realism to "From Paris with Love," even during the most improbable action scenes. The camera work is shaky at times, creating a sense of out-of-control actionthat keeps viewers riveted . The result is a stylized rendering in the traditional style of the "James Bond" franchise. Audiences are likely to find that the camera work keeps them focused on the action and adds an element of suspense. Morel, who was also the director of the action film, "Taken," which starred Liam Neeson, exhibits his remarkable ability to build suspense and keep audiences glued to their seats with excitement.

The supporting cast members of "From Paris with Love" perform admirably, when they have the chance to break past Travolta's screen-time monopoly. Rhys Meyers is characteristically riveting, particularly in the opening scenes before Travolta's character arrives in Paris. Kasia Smutniak is lovely, providing a welcome touch of femininity to an otherwise masculine film.

Overall, "From Paris with Love" is an exciting, fast-moving action film that is sure to delight fans of the genre. The extended periods of violence are not suitable for children, but the movie is an ideal choice for adults and older teenagers. The energy and constant action are certain to get viewers' adrenaline up and leave them breathless.