From Paris with Love Blu-ray Review
PictureFrom Paris with Love comes to Blu-ray with a solid 1080p High Definition rendition in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of widescreen 2.35:1. Detail is generally very good – but not quite exceptional – the presentation restrained somewhat by both the filmmakers’ stylistic choices, and by the slight hint of softness that pervades the piece. Grain is also prevalent, but it feels intentional, and does lend the movie a certain filmic quality, and there are no noticeable defects – like edge enhancement. The colour scheme has got a slightly odd tint to it, again probably from stylistic decisions, which leaves few tones boasting any natural qualities. That said, it looks perfectly suitable for the material, even if it does not make for a particularly demo-worthy package. Black levels are solid, and that, together with some excellent contrast separation, rounds off a solid but far from amazing rendition of a fairly recent mid-budget actioner.
SoundOn the aural level we are afforded a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track that really is top notch. Dialogue comes across clearly and coherently throughout the proceedings, largely dominating the frontal array wherever appropriate, but this movie really isn’t about anything beyond the action – so the one-liners get some precedence, but otherwise just sit back and enjoy the bullets whizzing around your head. And they really do, bringing the surround channels alive, and offering up some superior dynamic range. The movie is peppered with frantic bullet-ridden scenes, and the consequent surround action seldom lets up, even bringing a little bass to the forefront, the explosions helping no end in that respect. The score is incidental; also getting keen presentation despite the fact that it is distinctly generic. It neither detracts nor enhances the movie, other than reminding you that the action hasn’t quite stopped yet. Overall this is a powerful track, bringing to live some boisterous, bombastic material.
ExtrasFirst up we get a Video Commentary with Director Pierre Morel, who sits in the bottom corner of your screen and discusses the production, offering up what is quite a dry contribution which mostly focuses on the more technical side to the production. Perhaps if paired with Besson or, more importantly, Travolta, this could have been quite engaging but, as is, this is one of those skip-it commentary tracks.
The Making Of From Paris with Love takes the best part of half an hour to look at the production as a whole, with plenty of behind the scenes footage, interview snippets from the cast and crew and clips from the final film thrown into the mix. It isn’t particularly substantial, but it is better than your average EPK Featurettes.
The Spies, Spooks and Special Ops: Life Under Cover Featurettes offers up 16 minutes of interview clips from real-life CIA spies (obviously retired) and historians, who discuss the nature of espionage as if promoting this kind of line of work for recruitment purposes. Secrets of Spy Craft: Inside the International Spy Museum is a 5 minute Featurette promoting the museum itself by means of a virtual tour.
Charlie Wax's Gun Locker is a silly little extra which will provide a fair amount of fun for the right kind of viewer, allowing you to select one of the various different weapons he uses in the movie and get a bit of background technical detail, as well as the relevant clip from the movie where he uses it. We also get a Friend or Foe Trivia Game which actually plays across the movie, asking you nearly a hundred questions along the way. Finally there is a Theatrical Trailer for the main feature.
VerdictFrom Paris with Love, if taken with a huge chunk of salt, is a fun brainless action romp. Thoroughly silly, with an almost incomprehensible plot and some typically trite dialogue from the now massively formulaic Luc Besson, the only really surprising facet of this generic action instalment is that they didn’t make the characters particularly likeable. Still, Travolta manages to just about shine through, despite playing an extremely abrasive and overly flamboyant (even by his standards) stereotypical rogue maverick anti-hero. And the action is so relentless that eventually you simply have to submit and accept the fun of it all.
On Region A-locked Blu-ray we get decent video and fantastic audio, as well as a few limited extras, making this a reasonably worthy package for fans to pick up. Newcomers who expect this to be another Taken will be disappointed, but if you go into this with lower expectations, you may find enough fun to be had for the duration. Rent first to test the waters.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.79
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