The Luc Besson-backed explosion of middle-aged Hollywood actors seeking to reclaim former glories has also been dubbed “the Liam Neeson effect”, with many of the Taken star’s contemporaries hoping to reinvent themselves as grizzled badasses, and John Travolta was quick to hop on the bandwagon when From Paris with Love landed in February 2010.
Set in France? Check. Pierre Morrel behind the camera? Check. Besson producing and helping crack the story? Double check. Academy Award-nominated leading man? Yep, that’s all the boxes ticked. Unfortunately for Travolta’s stab at late-career action heroism, From Paris with Love turned out to be a crushing critical and commercial disappointment.
Rotten Tomatoes has only deemed it worthy of a 37 percent score, while the action-packed romp just recouped its $52 million budget at the box office by a few hundred thousand dollars. On the plus side, it did manage to shift $20 million worth of home video copies in the United States alone, so a profit ultimately would have been turned, even if the film itself was relentlessly mediocre.
That hasn’t put off iTunes customers, though, with enough of them checking out From Paris with Love to propel it onto the platform’s global charts, as per FlixPatrol. Travolta is admittedly good value as rogue CIA agent Charlie Wax, with Jonathan Rhys Meyers on fish-out-of-water duty as the rookie operative, but there’s nothing to be found in any of the brief 92 minutes that hasn’t been seen and done countless times before, although that can often be enough for a Friday night or lazy weekend watch.