Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Bastille Day (4½ Stars)


This is a film that follows the well-established formula of two unequal buddies teaming up to fight together. In many cases it's two policemen from different cultures, in this case it's a policeman and a criminal. Another film that I watched recently that follows this formula is "Shanghai Noon". Am I criticising the film for following a formula? Not at all. If it works, don't break it.

Idris Elba plays Sean Briar, a CIA surveillance agent stationed in Paris. He's not good at following orders, but he gets the job done. Richard Madden plays Michael Mason, an American pick-pocket trying to steal enough to finance his medical degree. Their paths cross when Michael steals a bag from a woman he sees crying in the street. He takes the mobile phone from the bag and discards the bag at the side of the road, not realising that there's a bomb hidden in a stuffed toy. As he walks away the bomb explodes, killing four people. The CIA identify Michael in CCTV footage. Sean is sent to capture him to turn him over to the French police, but he follows his instinct and realises Michael isn't a terrorist. He teams up with Michael to hunt for the real terrorists.

All that the French authorities know is that a big attack is planned on Bastille Day, two days ahead on July 14th. As Sean and Michael work together they discover a conspiracy involving high ranking officers in the French police force. The CIA is working with the French police, so Sean is forced to go undercover and work against the CIA. The following story is full of surprises, keeping us guessing to the end what's really happening. Idris Elba is the perfect action hero, putting lesser actors like Liam Neeson to shame. He's even more impressive being paired with Richard Madden, a man of slight build who acts shiftily and insecurely in the film.

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