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From Paris With Love - Blu-ray Review


From Paris  With Love

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The action genre, like many others, cannot so easily be pigeonholed, should one wish to examine its entries closer. While the main consensus of required ingredients needed—explosions, guns, hand-to-hand combat, good guys vs. bad guys etc.—are almost always present, the approach and tone employed to tell the story will always relegate it to some sub-genre in some way...

On the heels of the highly successful ‘Taken’, French director Pierre Morel brings us his version of the buddy-cop action story in ‘From Paris With Love’. With the first decade of a new century behind us, the action genre has more often than not decided to go serious, presenting thought-provoking themes along with the fighting, and grounded action anti-heroes like Bourne and the revised James Bond. This year, with films like ‘The A-Team’ and others, as always, there are attempts to present a different flavour to sink our teeth into. With such a lack of originality in Hollywood these days, this is a welcome trait to continue. But is this Travolta-starring switch in tone worth a look?

Telling the story of a highly accomplished Embassy employee (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), who longs to become a spy, ‘Paris’ begins with the ambitious young agent being sent on a simple mission to retrieve another agent (John Travolta) from the Paris airport. As soon as he lays eyes on his new partner, mayhem and destruction ensue. As the duo traverse the seedy underworld of Paris, a sinister plot unravels that forces our eager young agent to re-examine his whole life, come to terms with it, and then help his new partner to save the day.

As written there, it doesn’t sound so complicated, nor particularly hard to follow. But it is the choice of tone—or rather the lack of consistent tone—throughout this film that makes it hard to digest. On the one hand, ‘Paris’ is violent, merciless, and frenetic: a good combination for a foreboding, tense action thriller; on the other, it tries to imbue Lethal Weapon-type moments of comedy/action, witty repartee between the two leads, and action set pieces that belong in a Rush Hour movie. It’s not a pretty mix, I’m afraid. All elements, picked apart and viewed singularly, are adeptly handled, but their combination is a schizophrenic, mind-numbing jumble of a movie soup.

John Travolta, no stranger to a crap movie or two, certainly surprises with his wildcard performance, but the world his character inhabits, coupled with the lack of back story he is afforded, reduces all his good efforts to a cartoonish presence. Rhys Meyers is another fine actor wasted in the jumble.

The action is, as previously mentioned, first class in its execution, but is so frequent and tacked onto a seemingly underdeveloped script that is looses any effect and becomes monotonous.

This film deserves at the very least the compliment of trying to provide something different. They are not riding on the coattails of what is the IN thing to do in action right now. But what they have provided, while unique at times, really doesn’t appear to have been thought through enough before they actually did it. You want to like this movie, you can see what they were trying to accomplish, but ultimately ‘From Paris With Love’ presents as a failed experiment.


Component Grades
Movie
DVD
2 stars
3 Stars
DVD Experience
2.5 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - June 8, 2010
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, Spanish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD); Digital copy (on disc); Bonus View (PiP); BD-Live; Social network features

Fairly generous, if unimaginative, extras, including the seemingly obligatory featurette where crew and cast alike wax lyrical on how wonderful and professional everyone is, and how awesome Paris is, and everyone and everything is the best experience ever... banal.

Also a featurette on spies and the history of them (very similar featurette on the Mission Impossible disc), a weird five-minute advertisement (of sorts) on the Spy Museum, loads of trailers, commentary.

Supplements:

Commentary Track:

  • Bonus View: Audio Commentary with Director Pierre Morel

Featurettes:

  • From Paris with Love Making-of (1080p, Dolby Digital 2.0, 26:42 min)
  • Spies, Spooks and Special Ops: Life Under Cover (1080p, Dolby Digital 2.0, 16:06 min)
  • Secrets of Spy Craft: Inside the International Spy Museum (1080p, Dolby Digital 2.0, 4:26 min)
  • Friend or Foe Trivia Game (1080p)
  • Charlie Wax's Gun Locker Featurette (1080p)

Trailers: From Paris with Love, and an Also-from-Lionsgate collection of clips.

{pgomakase}

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