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Emmys 2017
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From Paris with Love

Posted on

HE'S LEFT HOLDING THE BAGS John Travolta, Melissa Mars, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers are dressed for action in From Paris with Love
Rico Torres

From Paris with Love

Current Status:
In Season
95 minutes
Wide Release Date:
Jonathan Rhys Meyers, John Travolta
Pierre Morel
Lions Gate Films
Adi Hasak

We gave it a C

From Paris With Love is a ”fun trash” movie that’s more trash than fun. Its key attraction is seeing John Travolta cackle and badass his way through the role of Charlie Wax, a rogue American spy with a shaved head, a matching goatee and beetle brows, a passion for saying ”motherf—er,” and a tendency to blow away suspects first and not bother to ask questions later. Travolta lets it rip, the way he did in Face/Off (1997); he might almost be playing a psychotic gypsy hitman. The actor, who keeps slipping into dated, look-how-cool-I-am urban street dialect, looks happier here as a freak enforcer than he did as a freak villain in The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3. All in all, he seems to be having a far jollier time than the audience.

The movie has been fashioned in a crudely hurtling style that barely pretends to make sense. On the trail of a terrorist, Wax and his partner, an American ambassador’s assistant (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), tote around a vase of cocaine (why? Because it seems like a nutty-hip thing to do), and the director, Pierre Morel (Taken), tosses scenes together as though he were making a bouillabaisse. The movie has a preposterously multiplying body count, yet Morel is a brutally unclever action filmmaker: When Travolta shoulders a bazooka and leans out the window of a speeding car, we can tell each time the film cuts to a stuntman shot. From Paris With Love is so nonchalant about violence, and everything else, it’s downright slovenly. C

See all of this week’s reviews