At the Cinema | From Paris With Love – John Travolta & Jonathan Rhys Meyers shoot up the French capital

From Paris With Love - John Travolta, Kasia Smutniak & Jonathan Rhys Meyers star in the action movie

Luc Besson protégé Pierre Morel, maker of District 13 and Taken, has teamed up again with his mentor to make slam-bam action movie From Paris With Love. The filmmakers are French and the story takes place in Paris, but the stars are Anglo-American – John Travolta and Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

They form one of those mismatched buddy teamings beloved of the genre (see 48Hrs, Rush Hour et al). Rhys Meyers is Reese, a US embassy official in Paris who wants to get into the spy game. But he gets more than he bargained for when he teams up with Travolta’s visiting CIA agent Charlie Wax, a loose cannon whose pursuit of a Pakistani terror cell is soon racking up an impressive body count.

The goatee-sporting, shaven-headed Travolta throws himself around with gusto, and the action is bruising and bloody, but it wasn’t the violence that left me reeling. To a viewer on this side of La Manche, the film’s casually racist attitude to its non-white characters was shocking. If the PC police catch hold of Morel and Besson, I reckon they’ll be in for a spot of diversity training.

On general release from 26th February.

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