In typical Luc Besson fashion, From Paris With Love is filled with a cross section of cultures harnessed into a cinematic rig built for action. There’s something really special about Besson’s vision and as a producer he’s brought so many wicked movies to audiences around the world that aren’t easily duplicated and all (despite having different individual directors) unite somehow stylistically. Movies like Wasabi, District 13, the Transporter films, Kiss of the Dragon, Unleashed and Crimson Rivers all fall into some new hybrid genre collective. they bring hip hop styles and martial arts together, or simply the novelty of french action movies filled with parqour running scenes. Each movie has a special flavor and the question becomes whether or not we can add From Paris With Love to the pile.
Well, the movie is a buddy-cop-type flick with John Travolta being a reckless CIA professional teamed up with Jonathan Rhys Meyers; a rookie in the field as they attempt to bring down a drug trafficking operation through a series of car chases and gun battles. The movie has a definite comedic edge between the two characters and has the audience chuckling through out. The action is good fun and the plot (logical or not) moves along at a swift clip, keeping things very entertaining.
The problem is some of the acting and dialogue, most specifically by Meyers who is better seen in Mission Impossible 3 but best seen in Bend It Like Beckham. Here he doesn’t seem to know when to tone down the overacting. Some lines are cringe inducing and the entire emotional climax of the movie is laughable.
But here’s where it gets good. John Travolta hasn’t been as likable since Pulp Fiction! His shaved head look is a stroke of brilliance, giving new life to his already well known face. This also allows Travolta to explore his new character who (for Travolta at least) has some new moves we’ve never seen before.
Good action, funny bits, great character actor and a touch of Luc Besson and we’ve got a pretty damn cool flick. Sure, for many this will pale in contrast to Unleashed let’s say, but despite being an obvious stab at trying to be more commercial, this movie is just another shade in Besson’s magical paint box.
Movie posters are usually pretty sweet. Below is a gallery of alternate versions of the poster art. Very cool.