from paris with love Action; Starring John Travolta and Jonathan Rhys Meyers
>BY MARK EVANS
What is it with John Travolta playing the same kind of character all the time? He was the charismatic military nut in Swordfish. The charismatic gun-toting nut in the Taking of Pelham 123. Now he's the bazooka-toting nut in From Paris with Love. Produced by Luc Besson, you could be forgiven for expecting this Paris-based movie to be the new Ronin. Hell, it's barely the new Rush Hour.
A strange mix of laughs and some very dark, violent scenes (especially the ending), it's the unbelievable tale of James Reece (our own Jonathan Rhys Meyers), a personal aide to the US ambassador to France.
On the side, jazz-loving Reece is a low-level CIA operative and a would-be James Bond and he's got a lovely local girlfriend who wants to marry him.
But the agency wants him to sort out some terrorists and gets him to team up with the incoming best of the best, wisecracking agent Charlie Wax (Travolta). Soon they're blowing up more of Paris than even Team America: World Police could manage. From an opening machine gun shootout in a Chinese restaurant to blowing up a block of slum flats, they kick ass around the city of light, with Reece, for whatever reason, having to cart around a vase filled with cocaine on Wax's orders.
And it all goes a bit Training Day at points with Wax breaking all the rules, and even getting Reece to snort coke on a lift filled with tourists going up the Eiffel Tower. Travolta is watchable, but there's a feeling you've seen his character before, while Rhys Meyers is more believable as the civil servant who's in way over his head.
There's a decent twist that you might see coming, but this isn't about plot. If you want bad guys getting whacked and things getting blown up, look no further. Just don't expect to engage your brain.
DVD EXTRAS: Audio commentary, theatrical trailer, making of and two documentaries, featuring former CIA spooks, looking at the role of spies.