Movie review: Pierre Morel's From Paris With Love starring a bald John Travolta and Jonathan Rhys Meyers


The trailer for From Paris With Love played to the movies strengths, in the sense that all of the good parts are in the trailer. Meyers’ Reece starts out as a low-level errand boy for some secret organization (the movie never really says which), before this agency drops a new partner in his lap. Travolta's Wax is Reece's polar opposite, blowing away bad guys in between snorts of coke. Travolta is a pleasure to watch as he hams-up his lines and takes the role way out there, but Meyers’s character is extremely flat and boring, hardly going on much of a journey.

The movie tried for plenty of action, but followed a simple formula of always cutting from Travolta looking serious, to a stuntman, back to Travolta, and then — wait for it — there’s the stuntman again. At one memorable point, Travolta’s character is one flight of stairs ahead of Meyers’ character as they ascend into a building. As Meyers climbs, he watches as body after body is thrown over the stairs and comes crashing to the floor. The scene is funny and over the top, but, like the rest of the movie, it'll be quickly forgotten.

Another big weakness of From Paris With Love is you’re not quite sure whether Meyers and Travolta are after drug dealers or terrorists — or even who the “they” are. The threat just doesn’t seem that threatening. Toward the end, the movie really starts to unravel as it tries to turn more serious, with characters coming apart emotionally when others are shot. Meanwhile, I'm sitting there wondering why no one in Paris outside the movie's plot seemed to care that two guys were running amok in their city, blowing up stuff all over the place.

Overall, From Paris With Love is worth a Netflix rental if you’re bored — or if you just want to see a bald Travolta say “Royale with cheese” one more time.

Director Pierre Morel’s second action-packed movie, From Paris With Love hits theaters this week. The Taken director decided to completely change the formula of his last movie, remaking the hero from a calm, cool and collected Liam Neeson to an explosive, bald, F-bomb dropping John Travolta. From Paris With Love is a buddy-cop type movie that pairs the feisty Charlie Wax (Travolta) with the calculating, cool and slightly anal James Reece (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) as they shoot their way through Paris in an attempt to uncover a plot of drugs, or terrorism, or something.

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