From Paris With Love (2/10)
by Tony Medley
Run time 95 minutes
Not for children.
In 2006, French director
Pierre Morel directed a film called “Taken,” starring Liam Neeson. It
wasn’t released in the United States until January of 2009 and it was a
sleeper hit. Morel liked the response and the result is this thing that
is alleged to be a thriller.
Well, even Babe Ruth struck out, and Morel strikes out here. The first
hour is one of the most ridiculous hours of film I’ve had to sit
through. Charlie Wax (John Travolta) is an over-the-top, violent
psychopath. Wax shoots more bullets in the first hour, and kills so many
people in Paris
that it’s hard to believe anybody is left alive. The violence is so
pervasive it becomes like white noise.
Although James Reese
(Jonathan Rhys Meyers) has a plum job in Paris as a personal aide to the
U.S. Ambassador in France and a beautiful French girlfriend, Caroline (Kasia
Smutniak), his desire is to become a CIA operative. He does some
clandestine stuff and then is told to pick up someone at the airport.
That person turns out to special agent Charlie Wax.
Wax is a trigger-happy
maniac, a loose cannon who’s been sent to Paris to stop a terrorist
attack. The result is an absurd shooting spree through the Parisian
underworld. James reluctantly tags along but then he realizes there’s no
turning back…and that Wax himself might be his only hope for getting out
alive. Exacerbating the idiocy of the story is the performance of Rhys
Meyers, who sometimes sounds like he’s making a bad audition on
Suddenly, after the first
hour, however, the film gets interesting. That only lasts for 20
minutes, though. Then it becomes just as ridiculous as the first hour.
The sad part of this is
that with a reasonable story it could have been an interesting film.
There is a mystery, after all, but we don’t learn about it until after
the first hour’s mayhem. Too bad Morel didn’t clue us in to this fact
before the source of the mystery is discovered, and we finally learn
about its existence.
Well, there is a mystery as
to what Wax is up to, also. But that’s not the real mystery. I can’t
tell you what it is because it would be a spoiler, although, truth be
told, there’s nothing here to spoil. There is a dénouement that solves a
problem that isn’t made clear until it’s almost solved. When the issue
is finally raised by Wax, I was unaware that it existed, and I was
watching the film closely, trying to determine what in the world was
If you want to see guns
being fired, save your money and go to the firing range. This
incoherent, poorly written, directed, and acted, profanity-laden outing
is agonizing to sit through.
January 28, 2010