You’ve seen this sort of film before many times. It could be a 2010 Liam Neeson outing, or even a Jean Claude Van-Damme straight to DVD effort. It’s not groundbreaking or game-changing, but it’s not the worst of these sort of by-the-numbers action films.
Yes it’s set in Paris (as all these action films seem to be of a certain ilk) and it features the American secret service taking on a European problem. We have roof-top chases, car chases, tight fist-fights in limited space, shoot-outs, a few twists and some non-watered down violence and language. All in all, it gives us a 90min excuse to turn the brain off and have some fun.
Idris Elba needed a transition to the big screen being the man of the moment. Blending his characters from ‘The Wire’ and ‘Luther’, he makes the leap to the big screen to show he’s not got what it takes to be the next James Bond, but for being the next Jason Statham – churning out the action films with basic plots but enough testosterone to keep you happy if you’re into that sort of thing.
He’s a tank of a man – thundering across roof-tops and hallways to take out the bad guys minus the one-liners. He’s not a man to mess with, and Elbra isn’t a bad actor at all, dishing out the pain here in a very likeable way that makes this look like a walk in the park for him. With the usual comedy sidekick, who’s actually not that annoying as side-kicks go, in Richard Madden who can do anything because “he’s a top pick-pocket”, which makes acquiring things so easy in this film, the two form a good enough partnership to enjoy without it being irritating.
The shaky-cam is back, the editing is a little sloppy and the bloke in charge of the sound production was enjoying himself too much – every punch and kick is accentuated by the same OTT noise of fabric moving and fists hitting faces and walls that makes it sound like a nasty over-dubbed kung-fu films in places. They try a little TOO hard to make Elba out to be the total badass.
But we’ve got a good story, pretty dark in places with some mature levels of violence to boot, so it’s not a watered down action film for sure, and there are a couple of nice twists in there that I didn’t expect once the cards are on the table.
Like I say, 90mins for a loud and well-acted action film isn’t a chore to sit through at all, and while it’s not very memorable, you get what you expect and can’t really complain once the credits roll.