Posts Tagged ‘action’

by Brendan Wahl

“From Paris With Love”

Jonathan Rhys Meyers as…James Reece

John Travolta as…Charlie Wax

Kasia Smutniak as…Caroline

Just like “The Wolfman”, this was a film that I did not expect to be the cure for world hunger or poverty, but I thought it had the potential to be entertaining enough and I enjoy John Travolta for the most part (there are exceptions. I’m looking at you, Battlefield Earth).

The plot of the film seems pretty simple to begin with. Low-level CIA operative James Reece (Meyers) is sent on his first major assignment because of the lack of agents (I guess the CIA has those problems, huh?). The only downside to that is that he is paired with an insane American agent, Charlie Wax (Travolta), who compliments Reece at being an absolute opposite to how the young lead operates within this world.

I should also mention that before watching this movie, I heard a lot of reviews talking about how big, stupid, and dumb a lot of this movie was and that it was all brawn and no brain. Well…

What’s wrong with that?!

I guess the first thing to discuss would be the balls-to-the-wall level of the action in this flick. I mean, it barely let up for a second. After taking about 10-15 minutes to really get going, the film sucked me in for its entire 95-minute run-time. The action set pieces range from exhilarating and fun to quite simply: ludicrous. But you know what? It’s all in good fun. A good example of the ridiculous nature of some of the action in the film is to note how Wax disposes of several thugs as they escape a building. He figures out in his head how long the thugs will take to travel down each floor of the building, times their escape into the getaway car and then uses that time to set a bomb and drops it at the perfect time to dispatch of said villains.

That’s another thing. Charlie Wax is somewhat of a revelation for John Travolta. Just look at that bald bad-ass with a wicked beard and tell me he doesn’t look like one of the cooler anti-heroes Travolta has ever played (in fact, I can’t really think of any terrific anti-heroes he HAS played — no, Pulp Fiction doesn’t count, he was a villain!).

Charlie Wax is a brash, rude, crude, possibly racist, violent sumbitch. Upon first meeting Wax, he is yelling at a French customs officer for taking his energy drinks from him at the airport. After Reece saves the day, we learn that it wasn’t just about the cans and Wax wasn’t being a whiny bitch. I am a firm believer in the fact that this man would’ve capped the customs officer if Reece hadn’t been there to cool things down and let better heads prevail.

Not to say that James Reece isn’t one cool-ass character as well helped in great deal by Meyers’ fun performance. But seriously…



I think the choice is obvious.

So aside from the acting and the ridiculous set pieces, the story is about as good as you can expect from a film like this with a decent twist that I actually didn’t see coming (rare for this kind of film!) and an ending that didn’t suck either. What was especially great was that Wax never changed to fit the story. He remains a bad-ass for the whole thing and doesn’t hold back when it comes to the F-bombs or shooting Asian gangsters.

For a popcorn-crunching, soda-slurping great time at the movies, this is definitely worth peepin’ and I give it a:


PS: It should be noted that Polish actress Kasia Smutniak is absolutely gorgeous. Her acting? It was aight.

“I don’t believe in God.” — Bob (Dennis Quaid)

As I was looking through all of my archived reviews (a whopping total of three if you count The Tonight Show), I came to the conclusion that I am going to start looking like a movie fan-boy if I just constantly see what I want and shell out praise for classics of the past. Granted, Night of the Living Dead (1990) was by no means a classic, but it was still fairly enjoyable as was Youth in Revolt.

So I thought to myself, “Brendan…can I call you Brendan?” To which I responded, “No, that’s Mr. Wahl to you.” I then shuddered in fear at my own power over myself and responded, “I apologize, Mr. Wahl. Anyway, how are you going to write a negative review if all you do is watch good movies?” I then said, “Well, maybe I’ll go see one at the theatre that could go either way.” And as I was wheeled out of the pink-padded room, I thought that it would be a good idea to go see the film Legion.

I’ll never live that one down.

So if you don’t know the story, it basically comes down to this. I’ll even give you the official plot summary right off

“An out-of-the-way diner becomes the unlikely battleground for the survival of the human race. When God loses faith in humankind, he sends his legion of angels to bring on the Apocalypse. Humanity’s only hope lies in a group of strangers trapped in a desert diner with the Archangel Michael.”

Upon reading this I thought it might be entertaining like the movie Feast or perhaps like The Mist. With the R-rating I thought, well, at least if it sucks there will be some decent blood and gore. Well, here’s the issue with that. This movie treats itself 110% seriously.

The first problem with the movie lies in the acting. When Tyrese delivers the best performance in a film, it’s time to seriously stop and consider what we’re witnessing here. Now I’m not saying that I expected Academy Award-winning performances or anything but almost everyone in the movie was chewing the scenery like it was beef jerky!

I never expected to dislike Dennis Quaid in a film, but he takes the cliche line, “I don’t believe in God” and overplays it to the nth degree. We get it, you’re an atheist which is ironic because the whole thing is about angels trying to attack and blah blah blah, you might reconsider your faith in the end, blah blah.

The other actors are nothing special either (as mentioned before, except for Tyrese). Lucas Black overdoes his southern drawl as much as he can to remind the audience that “gosh-darn it, he’s a good ole boy! Yee-haw!” Paul Bettany plays the lead (I guess) and plays an unemotional angel like…well, an unemotional human. I usually like Bettany in most things, but I think his problem here was the opposite of everyone else’s. He underplayed it too much.

Acting aside, the visual effects were pretty good for the most part with Doug Jones in particular (you might know him as Abe Sapien in Hellboy) looking really bad-ass as a crazy angel-possessed ice cream truck driver. Sometimes, the effects didn’t work so much at all though. For instance, in a scene I’m sure everyone has seen in the trailer, an old woman enters the bar and it turns out she is also possessed by an angel and starts to crawl all over the ceiling. This is the most laughable scene in the film where it’s supposed to be played for sheer shock value and scares. It just doesn’t work.

I think that’s all I can stomach in regards to this film so let’s just pull this review train to a stop. I can say vehemently that this film is DEFINITELY NOT worth peepin’.


Note to Self: IMDB is not to be counted on for ratings. 5.9/10 for this mess? Yeesh.