Chess playing James Reece (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) is an aide to the US Ambassador in Paris, and does secret missions on the sly for an unknown voice at the end of the phone, enticed by an offer to 'help his country' and climb the ladder of success. One evening he is called and told to pick up an agent from the airport: Charlie Wax (John Travolta) has been detained and is kicking up a fuss with the customs officials. Wax needs Reece to take him round Paris, where he is led on a rampage of destruction as they take out anyone who looks vaguely foreign on the premise that they are linked to hard-drugs, and terrorism too. What will happen to the chess grand master?
Our Rating: 7/10 - The obvious twist --- that never happens! Genius!!
Watchability: 8/10 - Actually, Travolta is a good action star!!
Contributed By: WB
Tagline: Two agents. One city. No merci.
- Country: France
- Language: English | French | Mandarin | German
- Runtime: 132
- Budget: $52,000,000
- Revenue: $23,979,741
- Production: Europa Corp
After Wax and Reece eliminate the very last member of the various terrorist cells and darkness approaches they must meet Wax's handlers to deliver the intel. (At this point you're thinking -""finally, here it is, the most obvious 'twist' in a movie where John Travolta turns out to be a bad guy..."")
Wax tells Reece to wait behind while he meets them alone. They exchange the intel and Wax is handed a brown paper bag that looks to contain money, or drugs.
He returns to Reece and finally they relax a little. Wax tells him that it was a good day as they've saved countless more lives, but will not get the recognition they deserve or something like that. He opens the bag - and gives a Pulp Fiction homage as his extra pay was just ... a 'Royale with Cheese' burger.
Reece invites him back to his apartment for a meal.
At Reece's apartment Charlie Wax is typically outspoken and always going to offend. Caroline, Reece's partner, has her friend round as well. Wax tries to make a call, but there is a reception problem in the room as he moves around.
During the meal, the friend answers her mobile - but then after a pause tells them it was a wrong number. Wax picks up his gun and shoots her in the head!
The others freak out. Wax explains to Reece that the apartment is bugged - and the friend's name was listed with intel in all the terrorist cells they had attacked. Caroline asks Reece to choose who to believe ... and then picks up a gun and starts firing, catching Reece in the arm. She dives out the window and evades Wax.
Later, Reece is inconsolable when he realises that it was all a setup while a special team is round to debug the apartment.
He tries to figure out what Caroline is after and finally realises - his access cards to the big conference where his boss will be attending.
Wax is charged with stopping a hit on one the of the US Premiers in a moving convoy. They are following a car holding Caroline and her handler as it gets nearer to the target. Before he takes it out with a rocket launcher, Reece is on the phone to tell him to check the passengers as he thinks Caroline is going to the Ball instead. Wax gets closer - and the handler is alone. Caroline bailed. He calls it in - but the US target won't budge her plans.
Meanwhile, Reece races over to the Ball, and at first is not allowed inside as he still looks banged up. The Ambassador finds him just in time and allows him in. Reece hunts around the building for his ex. Finally he finds her hiding in a burhka, wrapped in a bomb-vest.
She apologises to Reece, and then is about to pull the trigger. Reece has no choice but to shoot her dead.
Wax and his driver race to the top of a flyover - Wax jumps out and takes aim. As the enemy driver races towards the US convoy, Wax fires the rocket launcher, and luckily hits gold first time. The car flips and explodes, and the convoy safely pass by.
It's a job well done. Later Wax and Reece meet at a little jet to take the American away for his next job, and Wax wants him to go with but Reece is going to remain in Paris. He gets out a chessboard, turns out Wax is actually a pretty good chess player too. And he's still one of the good guys!!