James Reece (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers), personal aide to the U.S. Ambassador to France, is secretly moonlighting as a low-level CIA operative. Looking for more action, Reece accepts a job that teams him with wise-cracking special agent Charlie Wax (John Travolta), a trigger-happy loose cannon sent to Paris on a mission of international importance. Now, Reece finds himself on the wildest ride of his life as the new partners pull out all the stops to annihilate the enemy in this explosive, white-knuckle, non-stop thriller.
An uncomplicated, moderately entertaining action film, From Paris With Love offers an enthusiastic performance by John Travolta as a just-this-side-of-crazy agent and Jonathan Rhys Meyers (The Tudors) as the low-level operative newly partnered with him. Outwardly an aide to the U.S. Ambassador in France, James Reese (Rhys Meyers) is also a low-level CIA operative, tasked with generally mundane duties. Then his inside contact offers him a high-level assignment that could lead to a promotion to full agent. All Reese has to do is drive CIA agent Charlie Wax (Travolta) around Paris on an undisclosed mission. But Wax is a shoot first, don’t bother with questions kinda guy, and the straitlaced Reese quickly finds himself riding shotgun to a killing-spree through Paris’ underground drug sub-culture. The drugs lead the obviously opposite duo to a hidden terrorist cell, and they race to stop the suicide bombers’ plot. Wax’s wise-cracking, one-on-many fight scenes are adequately entertaining–especially when he flings bad guys down a curving staircase, as Reese tries to avoid getting hit by the bodies–but the action generally leaves you wanting more. An undesirable characteristic in an action movie. Based on a story by Luc Besson, (The Fifth Element and The Transporter movies), one can’t help wonder if the complexity of the story and characters could have been improved if he’d written the screenplay himself. However, the simplistic story offers a few surprises and laugh-worthy one-liners. The climactic final chase scene–Agent Wax hanging out the window of a speeding Audi, armed with heavy artillery and a driver with nerves of steel, as he attempts to stop one phase of the planned attack–is as impossible as one could hope for in this kind of movie. And hearing Travolta call his burger a ?royale with cheese? is almost worth the rest of the movie. –Jill Corddry
Stills from From Paris with Love (Click for larger image)