Film Review – Bastille Day

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Something is awry in modern day Paris as the city prepares for the annual Bastille Day Parade.

A disgruntled gang with an axe to grind seek to disrupt the proceedings with a series of orchestrated bombings designed to create chaos.

Caught in the middle of this confusion is Michael Mason (Richard Madden), an American pickpocket and Sean Briar (Idris Elba) a surly CIA operative not good at taking orders.

With these familiar ingredients Bastille day cooks up an edge of the seat thrill ride to rival the best Bourne films, with terrific action sequences across rooftops, realistic hand to hand fighting and some neat stunt driving through the city’s famous streets.

Elba and Madden make an enjoyable pair to watch as they band together to try and solve the puzzle of who exactly is behind the mayhem.

Elba particularly feels authentic as a black Bond/Bourne character and this performance could perhaps be seen as his audition for the role of 007.

Madden’s Mason feels slightly less fleshed out, but when he has to put his conman shtick into action to propel the story he is convincing enough.

The film flounders a little in some of the dramatic moments with exchanges like “This is crazy, I don’t work for the CIA!” – “Well you do today”, and “The hashtags will tip it over!” straight out of the action movie playbook, albeit the latest version post Arab Spring.

Why a Brit (Elba) and a Scot (Madden) are putting on US accents is anyone’s guess, I imagine it is so the film has a chance of playing in the States.

But given the use of the native tongue of the marvellous French cast requiring a not insignificant amount of subtitling, I’m not sure this can compete with the buffoonery of last month’s London Has Fallen.

For those thirsting for a Denzel Washington-esque Equalizer or Training Day, this will fit the bill.

A fresh take on what an edge of the seat action thriller can look like. 3 Stars.

 

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