From Paris with Love [Blu-ray] Pierre Morel

From Paris with Love [Blu-ray] Pierre Morel
Of the many things that could have been modified in Pierre Morel's surprise hit and guilty pleasure, Taken, making the subtext more overt wasn't one of them. But his follow-up, From Paris with Love, does just that, removing the father-daughter anxieties and replacing them with American C.I.A. operatives running around Paris blowing the shit out of absolutely everything in the name of national security. Working a cover job as a personal aide to the U.S. Ambassador in France, James Reece (Jonathan Rhys Myers) is overjoyed to learn of a senior-level task for his real gig as a C.I.A. agent, picking up the somewhat less presentable Charlie Wax (John Travolta) at the airport. Everything up until this point is just establishing white noise for a film that's essentially one expertly choreographed shootout after the next. In their efforts to bust a crime cartel for terrorist funding, they destroy a Chinese restaurant, dispose of bodies in stairwells, have a shoot out in a mannequin warehouse and drive down freeways with bazookas. It's more of the same incomprehensibly irresponsible, but highly entertaining, insanity from Taken, only with the misfortune of John Travolta constantly mugging and smirking. Smug and lippy just isn't the best replacement for Liam Neeson's cool and humourless killing machine approach. Regardless, the constant action and chaos may seem familiar, but it delivers exactly what it promises, which is more than most films can say. As a bonus, the Blu-Ray is loaded with features, from an in-video commentary track with Pierre Morel to interviews with ex-C.I.A. officers who candidly discuss the realities of their job. Also included are featurettes on Charlie's gun locker and the International Spy Museum, along with a trivia game that can be played throughout the entire movie, tossing out a new question every minute. It requires paying attention to very specific details, such as license plate numbers and body counts. It's actually kind of fun. (Maple)