I didn’t go see this movie in the theater because you just never know what you are going to get with Travolta. Sometimes life is good and you get a Pulp Fiction or a Swordfish. Sometimes life is really bad and you get a Battlefield Earth. (Which, if viewed as a comedy about midgets vs. giants, is really quite funny.)
To be honest, I have rarely seen Travolta pull off one of my favorite characters: the bad ass. Every time I think of Travolta kicking someone’s ass, Look Who’s Talking pops into my head. Oh, John Travolta verse five gang members, maybe he will sham-a-lam-a-ding-dong them to death. It is just very hard for me to put him in the tough guy persona.
But then Travolta shot up an Asian restaurant and forced Jonathan Rhys Meyers to lug around a vase full of cocaine for the next 30 minutes. My fears went away.
But I am getting ahead of myself. From Paris with Love is the story of James Reese (Meyers). He is a diplomat’s assistant who is doing some low level covert activities for the CIA, but he keeps telling his handler that he can do more. Said handler gives him his chance by teaming him up with Charlie Wax (Travolta). Wax is a take no prisoners, special ops, one-man army.
Wax introduces Reese to his world by blowing guys heads off, snorting cocaine and boinking hookers. He does all of this while on the job. Here I give Travolta huge credibility for not making him a caricature, and letting me believe that Wax could actually be like this. Are there over the top, impossible action scenes? Absolutely. But what film written by Luc Besson doesn’t have those? Honestly, I would be severely disappointed if there were none.
Wax and Reese are trying to take down a terrorist ring. They slowly unravel what the terrorists’ plot is as they quickly decapitate the cell with their bullets. The great part about these two characters for me was their dichotomy. Wax is a shoot first, ask questions later gunslinger. Reese is a chess player who has gotten himself into a world he is not prepared to enter.
This pairing makes for some great scenes. You get to watch as Reese learns the lesson of listening to Wax when he tells him to shoot people. Because Wax stands back for a moment while Reese gets his ass handed to him by the people he was supposed to kill. It is a strange feeling to be giggling to yourself as you watch a man get pounded on.
You also get to watch Reese run around for a good third of the movie with a giant vase filled with coke. Trust me, it is hilarious.
My one gripe about the film was that I saw the twist coming from a mile away. Normally that is not a terrible thing, but they gave zero motivations for why this character did the things that they did. All of a sudden, they were the bad guy. They were going to go off to do bad things. No explanation. No background. This is just the way that it is because then the movie could blow your mind. However, it was so obviously choreographed that I called it 20 minutes before it happened.
I had a lot more fun with From Paris with Love than I thought I was going to. The action was good. The laughs were consistent. The characters were entertaining. I would absolutely recommend it for an afternoon when you just want to be entertained with pure fluff. It will get the job done.
Have you seen From Paris with Love? What did you think of it? Let us know in the comments below.