IT CAME FROM NETFLIX! From Paris With Love

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You should never be afraid to seize an opportunity when it appears. The next big idea that changes your life may come out of somebody else being a dick. You may walk into a room without any intention of meeting somebody new, and the next thing you know you're taking wedding vows. It's the old adage of never looking a gift horse in the mouth. So with that in mind, here's a review of a movie I found by the side of the road.

Courtesy Lionsgate

From Paris with Love begins by introducing us to James Reece, an intelligent and methodical assistant to the American ambassador to France. He's got a cushy apartment, a beautiful girlfriend, the works. However, he's also a low-level field operative for the CIA, which is what he's really passionate about. He's just itching for his chance to prove himself and be a real boy agent, but the assignment his handlers give him doesn't just involve a dangerous plot undertaken by some mysterious terrorists to... do something... but an equally dangerous partner: sarcastic, trigger-happy, go-for-broke professional crazy gunman Charlie Wax.

Charlie Wax, or at the very least John Travolta, tries pretty damn hard to save this movie. He provides a lot of the guilty-pleasure charm audiences might get from seeing a complete douchebag be the hero of the story. And pairing him up with Johnathan Rhys-Meyers' somewhat officious and eager-to-please Reece seems like the stuff of buddy-cop movie legends. But where Sherlock Holmes got it right in making the buddies equals, Reece is pretty much the straight man and punching bag for Wax's antics. It's completely lopsided, with Travolta swiping most of this movie away from pretty much everybody else in it. And it isn't like Travolta is so much better than everybody else: he's just good enough to be mostly watchable while everybody around him struggles to be mediocre.

Courtesy Lionsgate
Label on can: May contain bullets.
Label on Travolta: May contain ham.

Part of the reason a movie like Flash Gordon remains such a fan favorite is because there's a whole lot of ham in it. Same goes for a few of the Star Trek films, including the latest one. And John Travolta's definitely hamming things up here. In fact, rumors abound that Charlie Wax is hammy even by the standards of Travolta, and this is the gentleman responsible for the decidedly unsafe-for-vegetarians-and-Xenu-loyalists Battlefield Earth. But I was willing to overlook that, and the fact that he smuggled his gun Mrs. Jones into France in a rather improbable manner, because it seemed to be going in a relatively fun direction. It was after Wax asked for a 'royale with cheese' that I realized what was bothering me about From Paris With Love.

This is a shameless action cash-in flick. Like the beefy, roided-out, too-dumb-to-live juggernaut of this years' summer, The Expendables, From Paris With Love is pandering to the folks heading to the movie theater to get something relatively bland and familiar. Thankfully, it was only in theaters for 5 weeks, and in DVD sales it came in behind Shutter Island. But its existence is still kind of sad. It's cookie-cutter action scenes, lackluster dialog and flimsy premise combine to make it a cavalcade of mediocrity. I couldn't even bring myself to say I hated this movie, it just kind of made me nauseous.

Courtesy Lionsgate
"Ready to drop this bomb on the box office when you are, pretty boy.

The disc I found stopped working about halfway through the movie. "Good," I said to myself, "I can stop watching this because I know how it ends." Reece will discover his idyllic Parisian life was actually more dangerous than he thought it was, he'll have to do something like kill his boss or try to talk his girlfriend out of being evil, and he'll end up being Wax's partner at the end in such a way that'll promise a sequel. Looking at plot synopses on the Internets I can see I wasn't far off my prediction. I should've written it down and sealed it in an envelope. In any event, there really isn't much more to say about this lackluster, tasteless and pandering waste of time.

From Paris With Love was co-written by Luc Besson, the genius behind The Fifth Element and Leon (or The Professional if you prefer). Its director was Pierre Morel, who brought us the surprisingly good Taken. What the hell happened, guys? How did your writing and directing chops come together to make something less than fantastic? I don't know. In a way, I don't think I want to. It probably involves wine, baguettes and at least one very unfortunate mime.

I realize this week's review is a bit short and I apologize for that, but even if the DVD I rescued from the sidewalk hadn't crapped out, there wouldn't be much more to say. Even reviewing From Paris with Love, like watching the movie itself, is wasting your time, and you really should be doing something better with yourself. Like going to see Inception. Or listening to the Classholes Podcast. Or playing with a stray dog. Or putting Michael Bay through a wood chipper.

Josh Loomis can't always make it to the local megaplex, and thus must turn to alternative forms of cinematic entertainment. There might not be overpriced soda pop & over-buttered popcorn, and it's unclear if this week's film came in the mail or was delivered via the dark & mysterious tubes of the Internet. Only one thing is certain... IT CAME FROM NETFLIX.

Even though there are a lot of things I disagreed with in your review, it's still a good one. Like, really good one.
Still, I really liked the Expendables and I really liked that one Michael Bay movie so I can't put him through a wood chipper, so I don't know, I might have liked this one if I ever saw it.

Also, is it just me or do the pictures not work?

EDIT: They do now, no worries.

I think I'm developing a sixth sense where I can tell just from the trailers whether a movie or game will be good or not. Your review of this movie is making me think I'm not crazy. Nice review!

I don't have the energy or the soberity to read your review so i'm just gonna agree with whatever you said

Putting Micheal Bay through a woodchipper...

I was about to say something, but now my mind is full of images of him suffering his well-deserved fate.

Sir-jackington:
I don't have the energy or the soberity to read your review so i'm just gonna agree with whatever you said

That's what the audio bar is for. Hit play, lean back and enjoy your booze.

Wow, a film which couldn't think of an original title is bad? If they can't think of an original title, then they can't come up with a comprehensible movie.

This is why I should direct a terminator film and remind people what action is. Or James Cameron.... Or someone with a good brain.

Calumon: Mr Alchemist sir... I like your hat.

Jack and Calumon:
Wow, a film which couldn't think of an original title is bad? If they can't think of an original title, then they can't come up with a comprehensible movie.

This is why I should direct a terminator film and remind people what action is. Or James Cameron.... Or someone with a good brain.

Calumon: Mr Alchemist sir... I like your hat.

Good luck finding anyone having a brain AND being a succesful filmdirector with knowledge of his or her audience.

The problem is, action is IMO a worn out genre. Directors know it'll sell to the majority of people so they usually stick to the bland faceless concept that action is.

However, it's supposed to be combined with other genres. On it's own, it doesn't have alot to stand on other then 'alot of ass is going to be kicked'. You have to admit, Terminator had alot of action but used enough humour to not make itself look plain.

And yes Calumon, he has a very, very nice hat.

Jack and Calumon:

Calumon: Mr Alchemist sir... I like your hat.

Segadroid:
And yes Calumon, he has a very, very nice hat.

Thank you both, for the support and compliments.

BlueInkAlchemist:

Courtesy Lionsgate

I think that image shows everything anybody ever needs to know about this film. I am not sure if that is more a complement to the marketing department or how very little this film has beyond Travolta's guncrazyness.

 

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