FROM PARIS WITH LOVE. Europa Corp., 2010. John Travolta (Charlie Wax), Jonathan Rhys Meyers (James Reece), Kasia Smutniak, Richard Durden. Bing Yin, Amber Rose Revah, Eric Godon, François Bredon. Director: Pierre Morel.


   A movie from the director of Taken, a movie I really liked. In this one, low level intelligence agent James Reece (he does stuff like change the license plates on cars in parking lots) is the only person available to help top agent Charlie Wax (John Travolta with a shaved head) who has just arrived for a special operation in Paris.

   Mostly Reece is a driver, and he is appalled when Wax starts killing massive numbers of people in a HK director John Woo-inspired slow motion ballet. There’s a lot of action, but the first half of the movie left me cold. Travolta, who has a great deal of charm, is a very unlikeable character in this one, and he starts killing people right from the start without our knowing the reason — is there method behind the madness, or has Travolta’s character gone psycho?

   Halfway through the movie turns in another direction and becomes not just a shoot-em-up but a darker thriller — and at that point I started getting drawn in. The last half of the movie is good, and it packs a dark and surprise ending.

   The movie also features a great car chase. In French movies (and even though this movie is in English, it was a French production, with a script by Luc Bresson) they drive really fast, they don’t crank the camera speed to make it look fast like they do in a lot of American TV shows. If you can get through the first half you might like this movie.

Rating:   B minus.