Armed men hijack a New York City subway train, holding the passengers hostage in return for a ransom, and turning an ordinary day's work for dispatcher Walter Garber into a face-off with the mastermind behind the crime.
An undercover cop infiltrates an underworld subculture of Los Angeles street racers looking to bust a hijacking ring, and soon begins to question his loyalties when his new street racing friends become the prime suspects.
James Reece is an ambitious aide to the U.S. Ambassador in Paris, doing little jobs for the CIA and hoping to get into black ops. On the night he and his girlfriend, Caroline, become engaged, he's told to pick up Charlie Wax at Orly. Charlie is an unorthodox government employee - large, bald and bearded, foul-mouthed and eccentric. Charlie immediately takes James on a wild ride of murder and mayhem, through ethnic enclaves. As bodies pile up, the purpose remains opaque to James. Caroline, unhappy that James has been out of touch for a day, tells him to bring Charlie for dinner. Charlie can be charming - where will it lead? Does the chess-playing James have what it takes? Written by
(at around 48 mins) When Wax bursts into the terrorists' apartment through the window and shoots the first terrorist, we hear only one gunshot from Wax's gun but two bullet holes appear on the first terrorist's torso. See more »
Thank you, Cindy.
African Aid Summit prep meeting with the Foreign Minister tomorrow at noon, Summit Conference on Wednesday, G8 Undersecretary conference dinner on Thursday, and a reception for the Secretary of State Friday, sir.
Can't you see we have more urgent matters to consider, Reece?
[moves his queen]
Of course, sir.
[counter moves his queen]
Must you always be so methodical?
[...] See more »
James Reese (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), an assistant to the US ambassador in France, is working covertly as an operative in Paris with a secret "voice" or control officer to give orders on the other end of a phone that he never meets. They're starting him out small as they want to see what he's capable of, such as planting a microphone in the conference room of the Foreign Minister to gather intelligence. He eventually wants to become special ops and his next assignment might give him all the experience he'll need after picking up his new partner Charlie Wax (Travolta) at the airport.
Right from the get-go you realize both are nearly polar opposites: Reese is step-by-step and methodical with a studied background in politics and foreign language, and Wax is spontaneous and unpredictable with know-how for combat and weaponry, not to mention a humorous slang for every situation he encounters. He's a man who doesn't turn his back to vices but like Jack Bauer from "24" or William James from "The Hurt Locker," he's able to cast his own feelings aside to get the job done at whatever the cost. Wax, being the loose cannon he is, takes his new partner on a series of misadventures through the city from drug dealers leading to gang members leading to pimps leading to terrorist cells and more spies.
Wax is an American operative who's supposed to be covert but instead tears up the shady areas of Paris to demand the info he needs because their mission is time sensitive. The audience gets to experience all these over-the-top scenes through the eyes of a new man on the job who signed on to something more dangerous than he initially expected to get himself into. Reese maintains an unsure trust with Wax but also tags along with a glued fascination to see what's around the next corner while his pretty and caring French girlfriend Caroline (Kasia Smutniak) stays at home with no idea that they're spilling copious amounts of blood and racking up a substantial body count. She just proposed to him that night with her father's ring, and now he has to make a sacrifice for the woman he loves when she gets wrapped up in the operation.
This is a rapidly moving action film with secrecy and espionage that barely has time to stop and take a breather, so it can be a little spoon fed at points and exaggerated for effect to keep things looking forward and never back. This results in some plot holes glazed over so things can conveniently line up, but, on the other hand, this manages to take serious stuff like protecting national security and turn it into a fun and wild ride more so than a couple of stiffs negotiating official business. There are car and foot chases, shoot outs, some quick hand to hand combat and then fast paced music over top to give it all charge. The viewer's perspective is through Reese, so events seem to happen so quickly that it feels like a dream sequence only to be remembered in pieces and snippets, but for the moment a massively diverting one at that. John Travolta plays the character Wax as brazen, brash and belligerent, and is able to keep you guessing about him by making you wonder if he's formulating decisions on the fly or has a game plan already in place--maybe both. "From Paris with Love" is basic entertainment in the end but an experience that feels energizing, steadily paced and ultimately unpredictable. (Also submitted on Cinema Freaks, http://docuniverse.blogspot.com)
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