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From Paris With Love
Click for full sized poster

From Paris With Love

Starring John Travolta and Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Screenplay by Adi Hasak
Based on a story by Luc Besson
Directed by Pierre Morel

IN SHORT: A frenetic and frequently silly shoot-em-up. [Rated R for Strong Bloody Violence Throughout, Drug Content, Pervasive language and brief sexuality. 95 minutes]

As we were finishing our college years, one classmate apparently applied to join our government's foreign service. Don't know which one. Do know that the CIA swarmed the Northwestern campus for a couple of days. The student -- a classmate in our particular curriculum and a guy no one ever paid any attention to -- immediately developed one helluva mystique. Of course, that was real life back in the days of the cold war (c.1978)

Imagine the fictional spy wannabe in the new century. In this case his name is James Reese (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) and his "official position" is that of personal assistant to our Ambassador Bennington (Richard Durden) in the City of Lights. Paris, France, if you haven't figured it out from the film title. Reese dreams of the CIA life and has a blisteringly hot girlfriend, Caroline (Kasia Smutniak) who supports his dream of the undercover life (as well as supporting his other undercover life nudge nudge wink wink). Every once in a while, his cell phone rings with a mysterious undercover "spy - type" assignment. It's all grunt work every time. Changing license plates in seedy parking garages. Real glamorous stuff.

Oh, does Reese wish for a big time spy stuff gig. In the meantime, though, there's some big conference coming up for which the ambassador will need constant support.

Well of course this is when the call comes! First, Reese is to engineer the release of one Charlie Wax (John Travolta) from French immigration agents who are preventing Mr. Wax's entry into the country. From there on out, there's a lot of foul language, fast car driving, and heavy weapons fire. All of it to set up a simple revenge story -- seems that the daughter of a cabinet Secretary (Commerce, we think) snorted something really nasty and bad guys must be made to pay. That means searching out the distributor of the coke and taking no prisoners in the process.

We think that's the reasoning. Travolta's character makes Meyers' character sample some of the captured coke along the way and, once Meyers is seeing double and hearing gobbledegook from the high, only then is the mission explained. The film messes with the sound and picture and, sorry folks, that's as close as you will get to figuring the logic behind the mission.  There's not much more we can tell you about From Paris With Love other than a lot of nasty boys getting their innards blown out by guns of many sizes. And, of course, there's at least one plot twist towards the film's end that we wouldn't tell you about anyway.

Travolta does the film equivalent of "chewing the scenery" and it is a blast to watch. Even the screenplay, which tosses in references to Tarantino movies -- you'd best to remember Pulp Fiction before watching this one -- is in on the act.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to From Paris With Love, he would have paid . . .


From Paris With Love is all violent, foul-mouthed fluff. But it's a heckuva lot of fun to watch.

amazon com link Click to buy films by Pierre Morel
Click to buy films starring John Travolta
Click to buy films starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers

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