Luc Besson is someone I had a lot more time for then other directors who specialized in the action genre. In part because he cared about character amidst the carnage, and while it could be trite at times, it was always genuine, he meant it, and as a consequence he had a distinctive voice. Something that is very fucking rare in the action genre. But while his directorial career ended somewhat unceremoniously ( casting Milla Jovovich as Joan Of Arc and all that), his reformed identity as the Jerry Bruckheimer of the euro-action movie seems to be going quite well. After Taken's unexpected box-office haul, this follow up offers more of the nostalgic same.
And do you know what. In a very simplistic, basic way, I had fun. Its a solid, entertaining action movie. Its not Shakespeare or anything, but viewed as 90 minutes of something that exists solely to give you a superficial and disposable good time, the film works. Sure, its very stupid, often hackneyed and if there's a more wooden and awkward performance then the one Jonathan Rhys Meyers ( who I have liked on occasion) gives here, then the world is very much a frightening place. The movie, much like Taken, pitches its chances on the charisma and draw of its star. And to my immense surprise, Travolta comes through for this movie. Now I've seen Broken Arrow and Wild Hogs, and know how bad this guy can be. And that's very, very bad, ladies and gentleman. We don't see Pulp Fiction Travolta here though, but we do get Face/Off Travolta, and that's so much better then what could have been. He goes over the top without being irritating and mostly does it only when its appropriate (Although I could have done without seeing Travolta saying 'Yeah Boi!'. That was certainly embarrassing) and kicks severe amounts of ass convincingly (Maybe the editing gave him a fair assist on this one, because he remains a little on the heavy side). Maybe its the Stone Cold Steve Austen look shrewdly deceiving, but this is probably the best he's been this particular millennium, which is a poignant insult I suppose. But yeah, he entertained me and shot a hell of a lot of people, which is what I want from my action stars. The plot of this movie was a pretty irrelevant to itself, a by the numbers terrorist thing that could have been rejected off 24. It makes absolutely sense, but the action is swiftly handled by director Pierre Morel, who does have some aptitude at this kind of thing and doesn't give you enough time to realize how retarded everything is.
For all its faults, and there are many, it can be enjoyed, which is something that can't be said about many a bigger budget action movie. And also John Travolta literally eats a Royale with Cheese in this film, so, you know. That happens.