Bastille Day (2016)

Stars: Idris ElbaRichard MaddenKelly ReillyCharlotte Le Bon

Director: James Watkins

What we have here is what, no doubt, Idris Elba’s agent thought would be the perfect vehicle for his client which would put him in the driving seat (ahem) to be the next James Bond.  This would look, from the outside, to be a good move.  It is a good move, unfortunately the film just isn’t that good and anyone already familiar with Elba will not have seen anything here to enhance his credentials.  That’s not to say that he’s poor, he isn’t, just that he is worthy of better in terms of what he appears in.  The same could be said for Game Of Thrones’ Richard Madden.  His expert pickpocket Michael Mason is just a flakey King Robb, despite his opening scenes suggesting he may be a deeper character than he actually turns out to be, which is a cowardly thief in the wrong place stealing the wrong bag.

So what’s wrong here? In terms of the plot Mason (Madden) is a pickpocket stalking the streets of Paris when he spies a distressed girl with an expensive shopping bag.  Mason steals the bag and after finding nothing of value he dumps the bag in a busy area of the city.  Seconds later the contents of the bag explode killing four people and injuring more.  Mason flees the scene and Sean Briar (Elba) is brought in to track him down.  The girl who lost the bag, Zoe (Le Bon), had been meant to leave the explosives in an empty office but panicked when she saw people were still in the building and fled the scene.  So the would be terrorists were after her to show their disappointment and when Briar catches up with Mason they too need to locate the girl to try to prevent further attacks on the city.  Charlotte Le Bon is the film’s real saving grace.  She’s quaint yet passionate, distressed yet unrelenting.

Of course, these terrorists are not what they seem to be and authority and relationships are called in to question as we move on.  It was just hard to stay focussed on the film as it descended it to a low quality buddy movie.  I note from the titles it was made in conjunction with Amazon Prime Home Video.  Likely that is where it will get its bigger audience judging by the numbers at this showing.  There’s some half decent action, some ass-kicking from Idris, car chases and the odd gun fight and that’s about it really.  I can’t recall whether I was hoping for better and in the end I stopped caring.

Verdict: Stay behind after school for extra practice, you can do better

2/5 Stars

Bastille Day on IMDb



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