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From Paris With Love

A 2010 action film directed by Pierre Morel.

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Charming and Funny; Simple-Minded and Flashy.

  • Nov 12, 2010
 **1/2 out of ****

While somewhat limited to a lack of ambition in both its story-line and its intelligence, "From Paris with Love" is a film that I find oddly enjoyable; a less than generic action flick. Sure, it has a good amount of the typical action-film-clichés that we all despise, but it's also got a flat-out endearing supporting performance from John Travolta. With enough humor, action, and solid performances, I'd say that "From Paris with Love" achieves decency for sure. Perhaps it is not great, but then again a movie like this could not be anyways. Critics have given the film its share of criticism for its mindlessness, although most would agree that it does not go without its own little charms. One of the biggest "charms" would be Travolta's immensely likable performance, which the film pretty much needs to be semi-good. If it could be called that. None the less, I'm one of the few people to actually like the film, which isn't as surprising as it should be. This rated R action flick is soaked in violence, profanity, and whatever else it decides to include in its content. But I like it because it never goes particularly over-the-top with any of those things. What's at fault here is the story, which is at its worse when something's actually going on. Or trying to go on, at least. But...when nothing "important" is happening, the film is fun and care-free enough to pass as a pretty decent action flick. Contrary to whatever else released this year, I'd say that "From Paris with Love" is a pretty big step up from all of those films. This is a non-pretentious actioner that manages to be ridiculous without being ridiculous; a thing which until now I thought was pretty much impossible. The only thing ridiculous in this film are the twists, which are often times bland, predictable, and annoying. But when the twist comes into effect, the film picks itself up again and brings us along for the rise, making "From Paris with Love" an entertaining but admittedly flawed action film. And this year doesn't see a whole lot of those, making this film more special than the other actioners (most of which made more money). That doesn't surprise me one damn bit.

"From Paris with Love" is all action and no story-telling. If it had a plot, then it would be a pretty absurd one. A personal aide to the U.S. Ambassador in France takes a job with a ridiculously obnoxious sidekick in order to get a good promotion. He's tired of life as it is even if his personal life is fine as it is. He lives with his beautiful fiancé in Paris, France and owns an apartment which they share. But when he meets his new sidekick, things get out of control. The assignment is to investigate a drug ring. That means that the main character will run around Paris holding a flower vase full of coke while John Travolta does all the shooting. Pretty cool, huh? Yeah, it is cool, but then again it's ONLY cool. Instead of trying to have some sort of philosophical meaning, "From Paris with Love" skips straight to the action. Of course, none of the action makes for a particularly amusing plot, but the experience is made very watchable due to the likability of the characters and the appeal of the film itself. The action was fun and so was the movie. The biggest sin committed is that it's not very well written. Or perhaps it's the fact that the film often times tries to have some sort of emotional value. No dice on that one, since this film is about as heartless as any other action flick. And in many ways, it IS "another old action flick", but with the exception of consistently pleasing dialogue and good performances making up endearing characters. Since the experience is all "fine and dandy", I can totally kick back, relax, and enjoy the mindless but fun entertainment.

I am not the biggest fan of John Travolta, but I must admit that his performance in this film makes me want to see more of him. He's not one for branching out, but he's good at playing immensely endearing characters that are likable because they're assholes. In "From Paris with Love", Travolta is as charming as ever. His over-the-top performance makes him all the more fun to watch on-screen, from the moment he appears to the moment he departs. What I liked so doggone much about Travolta was the fact that he was both funny and entertaining, so in his own little ways he makes this movie work. Jonathan Rhys Meyers is also pretty good as the main character of the film (since Travolta is more of a secondary character). He's nothing special, and he doesn't make the movie like Travolta does, but he's still genuinely entertaining to watch. At least he's been checked for clichés, and he pretty much passes the test. If I could ask for anything more out of this film, it would be that the filmmakers add more celebrity cameos. I wanted to laugh a little bit more at some kick-ass cameos, but no luck. The rest of the cast is basically let out to dry. All except for Richard Durden, of course.

This is not a truly aspiring action flick, and it's not going to draw attention due to style, but "From Paris with Love" is a better film than most action films of this year. It's somewhat smart because of its actors and its humor, but a little less smart because of its story and its overall absurdity. The film's absurdity, in my image, is not its flaw but rather its style. The film flows well with the ridiculous action sequences, which is why it is fun whenever it wants to be. The action is not completely unrestrained, but this is still a rated R action flick. It's not overly violent for what it is, and it supplies a solid amount of mayhem, but it could have been a tad more creative. Like I said, it's somewhat limited to a lack of ambition, but what it lacks in intelligence and creativity it makes up for in action and humor. I smiled several times in this movie as there are several good laughs. There's nothing along the lines of hilarious, but I laughed and smiled a good dozen times throughout. The film, like most action movies, it genuinely well shot and tries to enhance its action with style. That adds a little more of a generic flavor to the overall film, but I kind of have to forgive it when it's all over. The scenery is sort of interesting although it does little to make Paris, France look any more interesting. "Amelie" did it better. The music is scarce and thankfully doesn't play a big part in the film's entertainment. The same can go for the ignorance of the thing as a whole, which puts a pretty large dent in this fun but troubled flick. But it's as I said. I can forgive the thing as long as its fun.

"From Paris with Love" is a film that should have been made years ago, as it may have worked better back then. Its many kinds of films rolled into one; it's a comedy, an action film, a thriller, a car-chase film, an explosion exploitation, a violent movie, and an actor's showcase. Luckily, Mr. Travolta is more than up to the challenge, offering a fine performance which adds a hell of a lot of wit to a film that should have by all means sucked. But it doesn't, and that's why it works. For a good portion of the time, at least. It's a fun, violent action film. It's not necessarily a guilty pleasure, but it's not a particularly good movie, but it's not particularly a bad one either. It goes a little beyond mediocrity, never achieves any sort of "art" status, and goes on its way to please those who open up their minds to it. Believe me, it's completely forgettable, but it's also well executed. I can't say that director Pierre Morel is one to look out for in the future, since he lacks true craft, but the man is capable of putting together a solid movie with a solid cast and solid action. It builds upon its promises well, and that good since all is well and ends well. I can totally get into that.

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December 13, 2010
Nice review on a movie with one of my favorite actors - Travolta. I can't believe how he looks in this one; I barely recognized him in the previews. This is a movie I can't wait to see. Thank you!!
More From Paris With Love reviews
review by . December 11, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I really enjoyed this movie that moves at breakneck speed. Reese is an attache for the government stationed in Paris. His main bit of intrigue occurs when he is asked to change license plates for government agents. On the night of his engagement he is asked to help a government agent clear customs. That agent is Travolta who is one of the most non-conventional people he has ever met.    After a big scene in customs, Travolta takes Reese on a non-stop ride throughout Paris where …
review by . February 07, 2010
From Paris With Love is a movie about James Reece(Jonathan Rhys Meyers) who is a US Ambassadorand how getting paired up with Charlie Wax(John Travolta) changes his life and what he thinks is real in the world he is accustomed to living in. The movie introduces you to Reece as a guy who doesn't seem to have much excitement in his life while at the same he's called upon to place bugs in the offices of high government officials or change liscence plates on cars of people they intend to track. The set …
review by . December 15, 2010
I got one question for you, want to see something go boom? Well that's what you get in "From Paris with Love", the next movie from the director of "Taken". I sat in my seat to this movie thinking I'm just going to "watch John Travolta blow some shit up." Don't get me wrong he does plenty of that in fact the movie even makes a joke out of it, "What's the body count like 1 an hour?" What really surprised me is that this action movie had some …
review by . June 11, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
FROM PARIS WITH LOVE is an odd title for this 93 minutes of slaughtering in the name of smoking out Terrorists. But then it is an odd movie, too, one that fans of John Travolta's screen chewing side will love. There is so little story that it doesn't need summary. Two guys - one Special OPs wannabe James Reece (Jonathan Rhys Meyers with an American accent) is assigned to partner with an infamous spy called Charlie Wax (John Travolta in top edgy comedic form) to first uncover a cocaine ring of Chinese …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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From Paris With Love is an upcoming action film starring John Travolta and Jonathan Rhys Meyers and directed by Pierre Morel. The screenplay was co-written by Luc Besson.

In Paris, a young employee in the office of the US Ambassador hooks up with an American spy looking to stop a terrorist attack in the city.
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Director: Pierre Morel
DVD Release Date: June 8, 2010
Runtime: 92 minutes
Studio: Europa Corp, Lionsgate
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"From Paris With Love"
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