After 2008's Taken, Pierre Morel's 2010 film From Paris with Love is building a nice little niche for this Besson protégé of carting over unlikely American male leads to wreck havoc in a culturally generic Parisian setting. Taken, in its own way, was reminiscent of what a cleaned up, hackneyed Vertigo might have been like, divorced of the psycho-sexual baggage its tale of pursuit and obsession suggests. Depths left unplumbed, it nevertheless avidly took American genre staples and our contemporary horror-driven Euro-xenophobia and modified them into a stripped, expert piece of chase continuity. That being said, the same pleasure can mostly be absorbed by Taken's trailer, though skipping the film does disservice to the efficiency of Morel 's plot movement.
If being inspired by torture-porn resulted in a surprisingly honed and subdued action film—anchored by lion hearted Liam single-mindedly helping no stranded young teen in slavery-ridden Europe but his own—Morel's new film flashily leaps closer to the filmmaker’s original American target. The trailer has a non-star-vehicle purity to it that is usually only attempted when advertising what passes as American B-films, like the recent Armored. No need for plot, no need for exposition. All we need to know is that John Travolta seems to have left the set of Tony Scott's smart Pelham remake having shaved his head but kept his archaic punk costuming intact, this time with a bazooka, martial arts abilities, and apparently Jonathan Rhys Meyers in tow.
The trailer reveals a film as single-minded in tone, looks, and physical-oomph as Taken, with a marked focus on extravagant violence over chase-bursts. Like his previous movie and despite the new film’s title, Morel seems to have zero interest in portraying the city of lights and love he's literally shooting in, further muddying the weirdness of carting over American styles and standards. The movie instead looks to focus Morel's keen genre eye on the no-nonsense simplicity that's been the model for most of Luc Besson's 2000s production efforts. Abstracted mayhem channeled through European production methods trying to emulate American conventions should result in something of note, and hopefully fun note at that. Expect a barely 90 minute run time and somehow the French out-doing Americans for steady-handed, fluttered-pulse genre.