2/7/2010 6:00:00 AM Reel Watchers: From Paris With Love
First the bad: This movie has some pretty stilted dialogue. It's no worse than most action fare, but Jonathan Rhys Meyers still has to slog through some brutally ham-fisted lines about love and relationships. John Travolta doesn't help as he spends most of his screen time chewing the scenery, then going back for seconds.
Throughout the film it feels like this role doesn't quite fit him. It always seems like he's trying a little too hard to capture the kind of cool he became known for after Pulp Fiction, and the callbacks to that film don't do him any favors.
Now for the good: The cringe-worthy aspects of Travolta's performance actually kind of work, in a weird way. You really feel for Meyers' character because Travolta makes you uncomfortable just looking at him. Meyers is a good cinema straight man to Travolta's wacky, frantic super agent, and when both hit their acting stride they make for a really good pairing.
With a story by Luc Besson and direction by Pierre Morel, both natives of France, there are definitely touches of that European action film edge, but that shouldn't scare of the Franco-wary: This is an American action-comedy through and through, and it feels much more Lethal Weapon than The Transporter. That said, the fight scenes and action sequences have just enough peculiarity and little details that they feel fresh without being totally alien.
I like this movie for what it is, a fun, strangely innocent, romp through Paris with all the staples of the genre: car chases, explosions, and shoot-outs aplenty. It may not be From Russia With Love, but From Paris With Love is worth the money if you're just looking for a movie to enjoy without having to think too hard. For that it gets a solid 3 out 4 Miners.