Movies: From Paris with Love * *
(16, general release)
From the very start of his long career, Luc Besson has traded in flashy, ultra-violent and decidedly un-French thrillers, and even though he didn't direct From Paris With Love, his fingerprints are all over it.
He produced and co-wrote this daft and thoroughly nonsensical schlock thriller that stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers as a personal aide to the US ambassador to France whose relentless ambition lands him in big trouble. James Reece wants to be accepted as a CIA field agent, and his wish comes true sooner than he might have liked when Charlie Wax (John Travolta) comes to town.
Assigned to meet Wax at the airport, Reece is immediately embroiled in a series of set-piece gun fights as Wax sets out to uncover a terrorist plot that may be targeting the Embassy. As the bodies pile up and a long day wears on, Reece's beautiful girlfriend Caroline (Melissa Mars) begins to wonder where he is, but she's about to be dragged into Wax's violent world as well. All of this unfolds in the glib and cartoonish style we've come to accept from Besson, and would be downright risible were it not strangely entertaining. This is due in part to Mr Travolta, who hams it up in no uncertain manner and has himself a high old time.