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Review: From Paris with Love

Written by: K.J. Ging, Special to CC2K

A royale with cheese of a movie.

ImageI liked this movie the first time I saw it when it was called Shoot ‘Em Up but you know what? I think I actually liked it better the second time around when it was called From Paris with Love.

Although the premise differs radically from Clive Owen’s outrageous action thriller, From Paris with Love delivers beaucoup action and (if you can believe it) some down-to-earth characters. The set-up is simple: A bright-eyed, ambitious Jonathan Rhys Meyers is working as personal assistant to the U.S. ambassador to France when he gets called in for his final interview. That "interview" sparks the rest of the movie's action.

If you're running late for this movie, don't run any red lights because it takes about 20 minutes for Taken director Pierre Morel to get the action started, although there is some intrigue: Rhys Meyers receives a mysterious phone call. The caller instructs him to accomplish a series of ambiguous tasks so he can work his way up some kind of invisible ladder. Once he completes enough tasks, Travolta shows up looking like Danny Zuko after a couple decades in the gym and on the juice. Once he shows up, buckle up.

Travolta's character – an American spy working against the clock – exudes that same brash confidence we've come to expect from his modern action performances, and his presence adds some welcome hustle to a lagging movie. Travolta's got some good lines to work with, too, including a refreshing series of post-action-scene one-liners that deliver the message: Life’s too short to take seriously. There's also a Karate Kid reference to keep the geeks who remember when that movie came out (like me) happy.

I went into this movie knowing nothing about it, but I have to admit I was thrilled with the pace, story development, cool expository scenes, aggressive profanity and violence as well as all the twists and turns in between. I think Travolta has stepped up his game in the action movie genre and after seeing this movie, I can only hope the Hollywood gods get together and make one last Die Hard movie pairing Travolta with Bruce Willis.

OK, maybe that’s a stretch – but we can hope, can't we? If you adore Travolta as much as you adore unrealistic action movies, this one's for you.