Thursday, July 8, 2010

From Paris with Love - DVD Review


Starring John Travolta, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Kasia Smutniak and Richard Durden.
Directed by Pierre Morel.

First of all, it's jarring to hear the very British actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers use an American accent. It's fine; he is better at it than Ewan McGregor, but he doesn't bury it the way Gary Oldman can. His "R"s almost sound like he's mocking the American tongue, but that might be because I've watched him for four years on The Tudors. Then when we learn his character grew up in New York, well, permit me to plant the smirk back on my face.

There we go.

This movie took two years to make it to US theaters. (Travolta made this before he did The Taking of Pelham 123). Maybe they hoped it would have the same surprise success that Taken had, since it's from the same director. While Taken had a primal, straightforward appeal, this was more of a generic buddy-cop movie, albeit in Paris. In fact a lot of it felt like a parody of American action flicks, with John Travolta as the overtly violent Charlie Wax, a man who's really good at what he does, and what he does involves leaving a lot of dead bodies all over the place as he hunts down a terrorist cell. Shoot first, and questions never come up later. Rhys Meyers is James Reese, the more straight-laced one, thrust into the new situation to follow Charlie around.

One pet peeve I have is self-referential jokes. When John Travolta whips out a "Royale with Cheese" I groan inside.

The action is quick and breezy. There are worse ways to kill time. There are also better.

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