Yeah, it’s dumb. It’s really dumb. It’s so dumb that if it was a person From Paris with Love would be placed in a facility to prevent it harming itself or others. It has some painfully bad dialogue, a plot that waffles between borderline incoherence and shameless predictability. And these are actually some of its finer qualities. What makes this witless concoction succeed as passable entertainment is that it doesn’t pretend to be intellectually capable of much more than scratching its name in the dirt with a stick. Running a brisk 92 minutes, From Paris with Love is a fairly generic odd-couple buddy movie. The normal character is James Reece (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), assistant to the U.S. ambassador (Richard Durden) in Paris and a wanna-be CIA operative. For reasons the film never actually makes clear (perhaps because it doesn’t understand them either), Reece occasionally gets low-level spy stuff instructions from a voice on his cell phone (is this really how spies are recruited?). Having successfully bugged the office of some French bigwig, he’s “rewarded” by being partnered with a singularly improbable agent named Charlie Wax (John Travolta). Mayhem and a good deal of enjoyable scenery-chewing by Travolta follows. There’s not much plot — the film follows the duo around Paris as Wax bullies, blasts, bludgeons, and bombs his way through a variety of endlessly expendable extras — and what little there is rarely makes sense. But Travolta is amusingly over-the-top and the film’s action set pieces are nicely done — if you don’t mind violence of the splattery kind.
Director: Pierre Morel
Writer: Luc Besson and Adi Hasak
Producer: Luc Besson and India Osborne
Cast: John Travolta, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Kasia Smutniak, Richard Durden, Melissa Mars, Amber Rose Revah and Farid Elouardi