Michael Mason, a pickpocket living in Paris, steals a bag with a teddy bear in it. Not realizing the toy contains a timed bomb, he tosses it aside on a busy street. A few seconds later it explodes, killing four people. CCTV footage reveals Mason's face and the French police tag him as a terrorist threat. The explosion, although botched, was set up by a select group of the French Interior Ministry as a decoy so they can make a half billion dollar digital transfer from a bank (closed on French National Day) -- hence the title Bastille Day. In a separate CIA investigation the unruly agent Sean Briar discovers the real story behind Mason's "terrorist attack". The two men, on different sides of the law, collaborate to bring the corrupt members of the Ministry down.Written by
Star Idris Elba describes his character of Sean Briar as "a CIA veteran, he's been around for a long time and the posting in Paris is a step down for him after the high profile covert work he was doing before. He's an army guy who just wants to get the job done and go home. His boss, Karen, instructs him to go and get Michael, who's the prime suspect . . . but Briar believes that there's more to the story than that. So he has to follow his hunch even though he's disobeying orders. These two characters - Briar, and Michael - make for an unlikely duo of heroes. They're thrown into a drama and they are forced to team up and navigate their way through the twists and turns of the story. It's not just action for action's sake. It's an action-packed film; but at the heart, there are characters that you care about and there's a very compelling story-line." See more »
MId-way through the film, one of the 'newscasters' refers to the 'Bastille day procession' - it's not a procession, it's a military parade. See more »
In recent years, Idris Elba has been mentioned as a possible candidate to play James Bond, but after watching Bastille Day, I think that the role of Jack Bauer would suit him better. What that means is that Bastille Day feels like an extended episode of 24, with echoes of Die Hard and a weak political message to simulate relevance. Nevertheless, I found it an entertaining film, with an interesting screenplay full of complications for the main character to overcome in order to obtain information which will take him to the terrorist group which planted a bomb. But, was it really a terrorist group? The answer is complicated, and that's the only thing Bastille Day has in its favor in order to be differentiated from uncountable action movies with a similar style and manufacture. And we also have Elba, who displays conviction and an imposing presence in the leading role, helping us to overcome the improbable situations in which his character gets constantly involved, as well as the forced coincidences implemented by the screenplay to ease or obstruct his mission. The performances from the rest of the cast are adequate, and Bastille Day makes a good use of the Parisian locations, adding a European taste to season the Hollywood formulas exploited without any shame. On the other hand, I don't see the sense of hiring an English and a Scottish actor (Elba and Richard Madden, respectively) to play North American characters. It would have been better to employ European agencies, instead of the worn-out presence of the CIA and its well-known intrusions in foreign territory. But, well... Bastille Day is co-produced by Amazon, so I comprehend the necessity of reinforcing the idea of the United States as a worldwide police which doesn't obey rules, but obtains results. In conclusion, it isn't a very memorable experience, but I can give a moderate recommendation to Bastille Day as a vacuous entertainment with the adequate doses of action and suspense to justify the investment of our time.
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