The trouble I face with the trailer for the new movie, “From Paris with Love,” is the same trouble I face with most mega-hyped action thrill ride yadah yadah yadahs nowadays. It is that question of questions: How seriously are we supposed to take this? “Paris,” which stars John Travolta bald as a billiard and John Rhys-Meyers with an unflattering mustache, is featured on the same row of the Apple movie trailers website as “MacGruber,” the new sketch-cum-film attempt starring Will Forte as his signature ingenious/inept adventurer.
It could just be a coincidence, but when the trailer features such lines as, “What do you think this is about? This is about terrorists!,” it seems like (or at least I’m hoping) that they’re joking. The film, which hits theaters February 5, is the third film for director Pierre Morel, who has been rubbing elbows with Luc Besson, arguably one of the most inconsistent people working in Hollywood today, for a long time. Besson directed the brilliant “La Femme Nikita” (1990) and the zany classic “The Fifth Element” (1997), but also brought us the “Transporter” series, a bunch of films I thought were dead upon arrival. He is credited with the story of “Paris,” so we’ll see.
The trailer itself is pretty standard action movie fare. The deep, throaty voiceover says things like, “The risk has never been greater,” etc. Shit blows up and magazines drop stylishly out of pistols that glide through the air in slo-mo. The main characters say “witty” lines like, “That’s how I do things!”
It looks like a buddy cop framework, with Myers playing the suit-and-tie, by-the-book agent and Travolta playing the nutcase. I’m keeping my expectations low, but only because I’ve had my heart broken too many times. A truly great action movie in my mind is a smart one, which is to say, one that is both aware of the stupidity inherent in the genre and clever in its presentation of new ways to injure people and make things explode.
At the very least, I’m keeping my eye on this one. Let’s hope that “Paris” is worth of our love.