Saturday, February 6, 2010

"From Paris With Love": a crazed Travolta makes for brainless fun

From Paris With Love (2010)
95 min., rated R
Grade: B -

Far off from a James Bond picture as can be (that was From Russia With Love), From Paris With Love is a stupid, over-the-top action pic as subtle as a bazooka.

But was it really trying to be subtle?

The movie doesn't bother to make much sense or pretend to care about plot, although it does involve some Asian drug dealers and Middle Eastern terrorists. But what it does have is a bald-pated Monsieur John Travolta badassing his way through the role of Charlie Wax, a rogue spy who would rather blow up a suspect and just ask questions later. His hyperactive, gypsy-looking bad-guy chews up the scenery with such campy-cool gusto that he even comes with a bag full of energy drinks (you got a problem with that?) and a Pulp Fiction inside-joke about “royale with cheese.”

Wax and his new partner, a comparably uptight American ambassador's aid (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), tote around a vase full of cocaine from a Chinese restaurant (don't ask why) and deliver up a hefty body count (“26 bodies in 24 hours”) at the expense of director Pierre Morel's bloody shoot-outs and explosions.

From the Luc Busson arsenol of French excess, From Paris With Love is a wildly violent, indefensible guilty pleasure that offers no highbrow stimulus whatsoever, but isn't bad at what it does and goes down entertainingly quick before it gets too obnoxious.

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