John Travolta has been known as the "comeback king." This is both a tribute to his natural acting talent and charisma. It is also an indication of his poor choice in roles. After the horrid, putrid, unfunny as a polyp comedy "Old Dogs," Travolta is due one of his come back turns. Is his role in this action film, "From Paris With Love" that role?
Not to say that Travolta isn't having fun here, or that we the audience aren't being entertained. I most certainly was. But this was Travolta in ham mood. He eats the scenery like a herd of fat people at an all you can eat buffet. The director Pierre Morel, who was the cinematographer for "The Transporter" is probably wise to just back off and let Travolta strut (and he does strut boys and girls like a cock at dawn on PCP and red bull.)
The story, as the title's playful call back to James Bond implies, is that of espionage. But it's definitely a post 9/11 world. Our hero is Johnthan Rhys Meyers who is playing a diplomatic aide in France who wants a bit more. He wants to be a spy. He is given his big break when he is made partner with John Travolta who plays Agent Wax.
Partner is a bit strong really, the relationship is more like someone holding the leash on tiger. Under the definition of "loose cannon" in the dictionary there's a picture of Travolta's character. He kills with lawn mower effeciency and grace. Things get goofy crazy from the get go as cocain literally rains from the ceiling in one scene. Meyers character is left alternately holding the bag (or vase of cocaine) or trying to get in touch with his girlfriend to explain things as if he was in a screwball relationship comedy.
There are a lot of fun scenes (including one where Travolta loves his "royale with cheese"), but really this film falls squarely in the tradition of a guilty pleasure.