- Running time:
- 92 minutes
- John Travolta -
- Charlie Wax
- Jonathan Rhys Meyers -
- James Reese
- Kasia Smutniak -
- Richard Durden -
- Ambassador Bennington
- Bing Yin -
James Reese (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), the personal aide to the U.S. Ambassador in France, is about to have a hell of a day. He’s been working as a low-level operative for the CIA and hiding the fact from his live-in girlfriend (Kasia Smutniak). But the secret won’t stay quiet for long when he’s asked to work with rowdy American special agent Charlie Wax (John Travolta) to uncover a terrorist threat.
The buzz: Director Pierre Morel and producer Luc Besson collaborated on last year’s Euro-set surprise hit, “Taken.” And that’s about the only reason anyone might get excited for this otherwise routine looking thriller with one star (Travolta) whose career is on a downward slope and another (Rhys Meyers) whose career never really took off. More bad news: the movie is written by Adi Hasak, who hasn’t had a screenplay produced since the laughably awful Charlie Sheen thriller “The Shadow Conspiracy” in 1997.
The verdict: What a dopey excuse for an action thriller. Without the over-the-top trash charm and marketable father-on-a-mission hook of “Taken,” Morel reveals himself as just another action hack. “Paris” delivers plenty of bloody shootouts (In a Chinese restaurant! In a fashion warehouse!) and the requisite explosions, but it’s completely lacking when it comes to brains, purpose or good old-fashioned star chemistry. Rhys Meyers’ forced American accent renders his character bland as can be, and Travolta chews the scenery on auto-pilot. He probably hoped to add bald badass Charlie Wax to his list of iconic characters. But it’s all too obvious how far Travolta is from “Pulp Fiction,” even before Charlie reveals his love of a “Royale with cheese.”
Did you know? Morel claims Travolta’s fight sequences were choreographed more like a dance, to help the actor ease into the process.
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