From Paris With Love

My friends, it is time to talk about this great land of ours, America or “‘Murka” to our brothers and sisters in the red states.  Our country has taken quite the shellacking over the past few years.  As a result, I think it’s wonderful when a film comes along to remind us about everything that makes this country great and today that film is From Paris with Love.

Jonathon Rhys-Myers breaks out the twerpiest American accent in his repertoire to play James Reece, a low-level assistant to the American Ambassador to France.  However, Reece has dreams of getting his wetwork on and becoming a full-fledged member of the C.I.A. field operative club.  So, when the shady voice on the other end of his mobile phone says that he’s about to have his first real audition, Reece jumps at the opportunity.  The audition turns out to be driving super-agent Charlie Wax (John Travolta).  They meet, exchange pleasantries, and then for the next 80 minutes, John Travolta GOES AMERICA ALL OVER FRANCE’S ASS!

I would go into more detail about the plot and other characters but to be honest, after watching the movie three times, I still have no clue what it’s about.  You see, this film is not so much about story so much as a vehicle for John Travolta to try out yet another “interesting” hair and goatee combination, experiment with new and exciting combinations of foreign words and “motherf***er,” and chew more scenery than Homer Simpson in a theater made of chocolate.

Director Pierre Morel introduces Travolta as a loudmouthed, over-confident American jackass and, within five minutes of his first appearance, Travolta has single-handedly killed an entire Chinese restaurant, stolen a vase full of cocaine, and is following a lead to break a drug cartel/stop terrorism/fight crime/whatever-the-hell-this-movie-is-about.  Here’s the confusing aspect though: the movie never stops entertaining!  This movie is gold from start to finish and I think I figured out why.

The film is the ultimate piece of fan-service for people that love American military action in foreign countries.  Charlie Wax, our surrogate for America, goes into France (because America always has to save France) to protect it from a terrorist threat (since we’ve pretty much taken care of all of ours) and proceeds to solve every one of France’s problems with his trusty Sig Sauer.  He goes where he wants, shoots every other person he meets, and is never wrong when he thinks someone is a drug dealer or terrorist …and shoots them in the head … never misses.  He has a wristwatch that has an uplink to a super secret satellite (that can track anyone), rocket launchers, and crashes through windows to save the day in the nick of time.  He is every single thing we wish we were when go into other countries to “help.”

I’d say that the film was insulting to Americans in portraying us as gun-toting Rambo-esque jackasses if it weren’t for one thing: the movie’s just awesome and keeps the dream alive that one day God will bless the U.S. will have the pure victory we had in World War II.  That, and it’s much less insulting to our intelligence than the History Channel.

Taken

Liam Neeson will come to your country and kill EVERYONE.

Well, okay, he need's a little provocation first.

Neeson plays ex-CIA Super-Ninja Brian Mills. Mills retired to be closer to his teenage daughter, Kim (the 26-year-old Maggie Grace) who lives in Los Angeles with her mother Lenore (Famke Janssen), who married some rich scumbag named Stuart (Xander Berkley, who's made a whole career out of playing these sorts) who can get Mills' daughter a pony, but is fairly useless when it comes to anything outside of being a rich guy.

Lenore is the classic movie ex-wife stereotype: bitchy, unforgiving, uninformed and hypocritical. All the trouble begins when she bullies Mills into signing some sort of release to let their, go on a trip to Paris. He signs off on this whole Paris trip only to find out, too late, that his daughter is actually going to follow U2 on tour.

U2 is an Irish band, and-well-Jesus, what good have the Irish done? I mean, aside from giving us good beer, music, culture, and Liam Neeson?

Mills waves goodbye at the airport, then worries and worries about her. He keeps calling her cell, only to find every parent's worst nightmare realized: hearing her on the phone as she's about to carted off by smarmy foreign slave traders.

Without Neeson, this movie would be total crap. But when he decides it's time to turn it up to 11 , by GOD-does he ever. Mills is a one-man wrecking crew, tearing Paris apart brick-by-brick. He will shoot, beat, chase, or (only as a last resort) even pay anyone to get his daughter back.

At it's core, this is a combination flag-waving "go America!" propaganda film, with a little parental revenge fantasy thrown in for spice. If you look closely, you realize that Mills was an absentee father, and is making up for in spades by killing at least four different members of varying ethnic groups to get his kid back. Unfortunately, there's a dour quality to the whole affair, and while Neeson can sell anything-here he's selling a stone cold killer who will kill people all kinds of dead in all kinds of ways. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

One last note: why is it a Hollywood convention to have very corpulent men always require two or three girls to sleep with? I mean, it's not like these guys are word-class lovers. Or else they'd be thinner, right?

Pair this off with another movie in need of a good ribbing, like the dreadfully self-serious Fast & Furious , and you could have fun mocking all the furrowed eyebrows and growled line delivery. Otherwise, you can go all revenge happy with any of the Death Wish series.