By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
If the United States had an army of guys like Charlie Wax, the terrorists would’ve been wiped out a long time ago.
Wax (a bald-headed John Travolta) never misses a shot, and every hunch leads to a nest of evildoers in “From Paris With Love.”
Travolta gets top billing, but our hero is James Reece (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), a low-level intelligence official who longs for more exciting assignments.
In a case of be careful what you wish for, Reece gets the call just as he and his girlfriend (Kasia Smutniak) are about to enjoy a romantic night.
Business is business, so Reece meets Wax at the airport, and the thrill ride begins.
For much of the movie, Reece is the jumpy bureaucrat to Wax’s wild man. Will he learn to embrace his partner’s erratic but effective style?
“From Paris With Love” was directed by Luc Besson, who also oversaw last year’s “Taken.” Besson understands how to keep the action moving, but this movie lacks the emotional depth of “Taken,” which starred Liam Neeson.
It would be easy to compare Neeson and Travolta’s acting ability, but it would be wiser to compare their ability to select scripts. Based on Besson’s story and Adi Hasak’s script, “From Paris With Love” plays out like a video game.
On the plus side, the movie delivers old-fashioned American know-how and firepower. There are satisfying moments when terrorists and the drug dealers who finance them are judged, sentenced and executed within the time it takes Wax to pull his trigger.
I twisted in my seat several times. This is an action movie, but it’s not a thriller. I figured out the film’s big secret within five minutes of the opening credits. It was so obvious that I thought the filmmakers were going to pull a switch on me, but it never happened.
I give “From Paris With Love” a C minus.
It’s showing at Malcos in Tupelo, Oxford, Corinth and Columbus, as well as Hollywood Premier Cinemas in Starkville.
Look for movie reviews in Scene on Thursdays, and listen each Tuesday morning on Wizard 106.7 between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m.