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Gavin Grades The Movies

From Paris with Love

There are some movies that are made that make you HATE Quentin Tarantino.  He didn't have anything to do with these movie directly, but was the reason why they are so bad.  That reason is because Tarantino made the cinematic opus Pulp Fiction - the film that relaunched John Travolta's career.  If it wasn't for Pulp Fiction being so good, John Travolta would've continued to drift away into obscurity and Scientology and we would never have to sit through another crappy Travolta acting job again.  Just think about how nice it would be if Old Dogs, Wild Hogs, Taking of Pelham 123, and now From Paris with Love either didn't exist or had someone else cast in those roles.  Ah, that's a nice thought.  In all honesty, From Paris with Love is much better than I expected.  I prepared to sit down with my friend Dan and watch a cliche, cookie-cutter action movie about the uptight, by-the-book partner and the crazy, by-his-own-rules partner shoot and kill their way to a solved mystery.  That's exactly what I got but it was more enjoyable than I thought it would be.  Movies like that are like a warm security blanket to most guys.  It's why the Lethal Weapon series did so well and Bad Boys, Men in Black and even Sherlock Holmes triumph.  You know what it feels like, you know what to expect and  you know it'll all be the same but you like it that way.  This particular story was created by Luc Besson, who was the French action guru behind The Fifth Element and The Messenger.  Sadly, he didn't direct this though and only came up with the story.  Instead he handed the directing off to Pierre Morel, who last gave us Taken, which was a shockingly great movie.  He also cast Jonathan Rhys Myers in the film, who usually gives a halfway decent performance when he's not modeling Calvin Klein and some kind of awful cologne.  The problem with the film comes from Travolta.  I'm just not a fan of his.  I don't like him when he's an angel walking through middle America granting wishes and I don't like it when he's a foul-mouthed killer that either looks like Elvis or scary Curly from The Three Stooges.  For some reason, watching John Travolta swear is like hearing your grandmother swear, it's uncomfortable and you don't know why.  There's no reason why she shouldn't swear but it just sounds weird and stilted coming from her mouth...same with Travolta.  He is, however, 100% of the charisma and funny lines of this movie, but it's still weird to watch.  As far as the story goes, I actually thought it was good.  My friend Dan liked it too, but he said it was predictable since he foresaw a plot twist that I totally didn't see coming.  Either he's a genius that should be writing screenplays or I'm too stupid to see glaring predictability in this film.  Either way it still serves its purpose; I expected violence, guns, swearing, one-liners, violence, killing, car chases, violence, drugs and of course violence and that's exactly what I got.  The fact that I chuckled occasionally and didn't see the (possibly obvious) plot twists coming makes it all that much better. From Paris with Love (Rated R) Gavin Grade: C+

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02/04/2010 5:14PM
From Paris with Love
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