From Paris with Love (Blu-ray)
A low level CIA operative who has yet to pop his mission cherry is suddenly teamed up with a bad-ass Vin Diesel XXX type agent whose crass tactics are not only as lethal as they get but at least a hundred times more entertaining. What starts out as a reluctant partnership takes an unexpected turn when evidence of a cover-up even closer to home suddenly changes everything.
I’m all about the action, an adrenaline junkie if you will, so what better way to start this pairing up than with an angry Travolta arguing with Paris customs over bringing a carry-on bag full of energy drinks into the country. This flick didn’t get much advertizing and I’ll admit to not being blown away by the premise when it hit theatres. I should have known better though as Luc Besson doesn’t put out too many duds. FROM PARIS WITH LOVE may not be TAKEN (but it does have the same director which is a bonus), however I couldn’t help but find myself immediately overtaken with glee by what these boys are selling.
Travolta as a villain (or in this case anti-hero) is just my game. I don’t remember the guy for LOOK WHO’S TALKING or MICHAEL, I worship the man for character driven flicks like PULP FICTION, FACE/OFF, BROKEN ARROW and SWORDFISH. Travolta is a lot like Anthony Hopkins, both men are destined to dance with the devil and we love them for it. In XXX Sam Jackson joked about the idea of dropping another mouse in the snake pit or sending in their own snake to get the job done right, Travolta IS that snake and man does he love to bite. Meyers isn’t a bad actor, nor does he do a bad job here but this particular setup makes him look like Robin with Travolta of course being Batman. And when it comes to Robin, he’s good for an “oooh or ahhh” here and there but you don’t really need him when Batman’s around which is exactly how their relationship plays out.
The story’s not half bad for a “shoot first, ask questions later” flick with Travolta bringing the pain at every turn. His persona is epic and his dialogue pure gold from start to finish (reminding me a lot of his character from THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123). Having Meyers carry around a vase full of cocaine was almost as funny as how they ended up with it in the first place, then we’ve got hookers, bazookas and my personal favorite, a “royale with cheese” shout out. There were enough winks and nods of pure genius in this film to keep my smile ear to ear for the entire hour and a half. I did put two and two together with the ring and what not when the plot started to thicken but I’m not complaining as this is nowhere near the connect the dots flight a lot of action films charter these days.
FROM PARIS WITH LOVE may sound a touch cheesy but rest assured if action is your game this will have you hooked in a heartbeat. Travolta still has a couple aces up his sleeve and makes for a hell of a good action star when he’s not making buddy comedies or kid flicks (OLD DOGS was pretty rough). The R rated action flick seems few and far between lately but it’s nice to see decent actors still able to get the job done. This flick caught some flack (like most action vehicles do) but for those of you who haven’t seen it, I urge you to forget what you’ve heard and check it out. For those of you hating, I suggest you calm down and appreciate these films for what they are: mindless action escapes. It’s not supposed to make sense people it’s supposed to be fun and trust me, it was.
Video: 2.35:1 Widescreen in 1080p HD with AVC codec. I’m not much for Paris, but the city looked lively here with lavish over the top visuals that can only be found on Blu-ray.
Audio: 5.1 DTS-HD in English and French with the same (as well as Spanish) subtitle options. Travolta’s dialogue was insane and I loved every minute of it.
Commentary with Pierre Morel: Director Pierre Morel gives us a surprisingly bland play by play for a flick so ripe with intense action. Where the hell was Travolta for this sit down!? I was totally hoping to hear things from his point of view.
From Paris with Love-Making-of (26:42): This feature has the production team reeling over Morel’s work with TAKEN and shows us how excited Travolta was to create yet another one of his off the wall characters. I’d love to see more Charlie Wax in the future.
Spies, Spooks and Special Ops: Life Under Cover (16:06): Here we get the inside scoop on the life and function of CIA agents straight from the mouth of former operatives. How in the hell these guys can walk away from the life and not end up being paranoid wrecks is beyond me.
Secrets of Spy Craft: Inside the International Spy Museum (4:26): Here we get a quick tour of Washington DC’s Spy Museum and all its sweet toys and gadgets. I’ve always wanted a pair of info red goggles.
Friend or Foe Trivia Game: This cool little game has you answering movie based questions for “intel” so you can determine which of the three characters they show is out to kill you. I dug it.
Charlie Wax’s Gun Locker Featurette: Another cool mini game that lets you test out all of the weapons used in the film. You can also fast forward to the scene in which they are used. Getting to shoot a bazooka is always fun.
Previews: There’s a theatrical trailer, a slew of Lionsgate trailers, a Blu-ray commercial, some BD-LIVE content for hooking up to the net and a Digital Copy of the film.