Movie Review: From Paris With Love

For what could have been a pretty forgettable ‘spy/action’ movie, From Paris With Love is saved by one thing – John Travolta’s performance.  I have always maintained that he is at his best playing the bad guy.  For some reason, I think he excels at this.  From Pulp Fiction to Face/Off – he chews the scenery better than anyone else – while at the same time being believably over-the-top.  He’s even good in the remake of Taking of Pelham 1-2-3, which was a pretty lame movie.

And he does it again here with his character ‘Charlie Wax’, who isn’t really a bad guy – but he’s a foul-mouthed, sharp-tongued, charming, coke-snorting, killing machine special ops good guy – who just happens to have a first-time handler – Jonathan Rhys-Meyer.  The plot was fairly predictable, but it was Travolta’s presence and relentless Wax that kept you engaged for a pretty quick ride.  What I loved was that we were rooting for him the whole time, and could feel good about it because he was one of the ‘good guys’.
Like I said, everything else was fairly derivative – even the climax… actually, especially the climax.  And the ‘delegation’ seemed like a throw-away, particularly for an AIDS summit.  But it didn’t matter, because no one will remember what this movie was about anyway.  They’ll just remember Travolta’s performance.

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