Taken was one of my favourite films of 2008, and one of the best action movies I had seen in years. From Paris with Love has the same director (Pierre Morel), and Luc Besson worked on both screenplays, so needless to say, expectations were high.
Unfortunately, From Paris with Love is not even close. It tells the story of James Reese (played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers), a personal aide to a US Ambassador in Paris, who is drawn into a wild terrorist plot thanks to his crazy new partner Charlie Wax (John Travolta).
Well, From Paris with Love has some fairly good action scenes, but it’s far too loud, noisy and repetitious. It’s all guns blazing, fast cars, explosions, and f-bombs. However, most of it is wrapped in humour, and because of that, it lacks that edginess that Taken had.
Like Taken, the film is totally preposterous, but at least in Taken, you could allow yourself accept the reckless carnage because Liam Neeson was a man on a mission to save his daughter. But in From Paris with Love, Travolta’s Wax just comes off as an over-the-top nutjob who simply wants to kill everyone.
I don’t know what the deal is. Travolta as Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction was perfect. He was cool, charming, and likable. But for some reason, being a gun-toting, wise-cracking bad ass in his two recent films, From Paris with Love and The Taking of Pelham 123, just doesn’t work for Travolta. Perhaps it’s the dialogue or the appearance – either way, Travolta feels obnoxious and looks like he’s trying too hard.
That said, From Paris with Love is not all bad. Some of the jokes do work, and there is occasional excitement. Plus Jonathan Rhys Meyers is excellent as always, making Reese’s relationship with Wax an enjoyable focus of the movie. But none of that really makes up for a sub-par film.
2.5 out of 5 stars!