Review: From Paris With Love DVD

STUDIO: Lionsgate | DIRECTOR: Pierre Morel | CAST: John Travolta, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Richard Durden, Kasia Smutniak
RELEASE DATE: 6/8/2010 | PRICE: DVD $29.95, Blu-ray $39.99
BONUSES: commentary, featurettes; Blu-ray adds picture-in-picture commentary, digital copy
SPECS: R | 95 min. | Action thriller | 2.35:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1; DTS Surround Sound | English and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

At once a nod to the international espionage associated with the early James Bond thrillers and a celebration of the joyful killing machine that is an angry American abroad, From Paris With Love is a gleefully high-octane action-thriller-comedy (that’s right—it’s funny, too!).

A chrome-domed, enthusiastically scenery-chewing John Travolta plays Charlie Wax, a U.S. Special Agent who arrives for his assignment in Paris with a satchel full of guns and a difficult-to-discern mission involving an Asian drug syndicate and Pakistani terrorists. His contact in Paris is the low-level C.I.A. operative James Reese (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), whose cover finds him working for the U.S. ambassador to France (Richard Jurden) when he’s not going ga-ga over his luscious, too-good-to-be-true Euro-girlfriend (Kasia Smutniak). That’s really all you need to know before Reese and Wax get a skirmish at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport upon Wax’s arrival in France. From that point on, it’s away we go!

As he proved in his earlier Luc Besson-produced outings, 2008’s Taken and the parkour-infused District 13 from 2004, director Pierre Morel knows his way around extended, breakneck action scenes. And he rises to the occasion for nearly a dozen of them in the From Paris With Love, including a few of hand-to-hand fights, a couple of furious car chases and a bunch of over-the-top shootouts. One such bullet-ridden encounter finds Meyers sprinting and firing his away across a Chinese drug den while toting a large vase brimming with cocaine, as Travolta empties his automatic weapon at a bunch of baddies ascending a spiral staircase. Like many of the vignettes within each action scene, it’s utterly ridiculous but deliciously fun to watch and technically proficient. Actually, that’s the perfect way to describe the whole movie…

 

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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.