Tuesday, February 9, 2010

From Paris with Love (2010) – Review

From Paris with Love is action packed, has character based emotion (be it veiled) and is fun, but attributes aside it feels phony. The action is that of video game sequences John Travolta’s Charlie Wax kills like an expert player clowning around on easy in the amoral world of (many) fps games. It is an odd contrast, action versus the world it takes place in. The film exists in what could be called the real world, as issues that face our world today are those in the film, yet Charlie Wax is not of this world. Everything about his character and his interaction with the world is like a rift between our world and that of the silly outlandish and obtuse much like Toons interacting with people in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? And yet, given the character having no real place in the world, Travolta brings onto him the affections of the audience (at least those not pondering how he escaped Toontown). The bigger issue that his character creates through his own complete emotional detachment is a similar detachment of the audience. Jonathan Rhys Meyers does good work here, and is the viewer’s emotional anchor, however even he is warped and transformed by the tearing of reality. The dramatic journey that he goes on is completely destructive, and few would recover from it, which makes his turn in the final scene (at the airport, not the embassy) completely ludicrous. And there is the flaw, where Pierre Morel succeeded with Taken, blending action with emotional stake in the characters; here he has even more over the top action, which he does try to blend again with the viewer’s stake in the characters (in their journey), but in From Paris with Love  the audience never quite connects. Thus, the film is fun, full of zany Travolta and outrageous action, but lacking the drama, the feeling, the quality that takes it from merely being entertainment to a piece that resonates with its viewers while entertaining them. However, again the film is fun and entertaining and another in the long line of Luc Besson action films. Kasia Smutniak is also good in the film, which is crucial to Rhys Meyer’s character connecting with the audience. Overall, come for the fun, for the action and for Travolta’s lunatic character. 6/10

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