Francesca Rudkin is an entertainment reviewer for NZ Herald.

Movie review: Bastille Day

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Bastille Day directed by james Watkins with Richard Madden and Idris Elba. Photo / Jessica Forde
Bastille Day directed by james Watkins with Richard Madden and Idris Elba. Photo / Jessica Forde

Some think Idris Elba is auditioning for the role of James Bond, others that he's muscling in on Jason Statham and Liam Neeson's action hero patch.

Whatever Elba is doing in Bastille Day, at least he does it well, which is more than can be said for many others involved, who struggle with the lacklustre script.

Scene from Bastille Day. Photo / Jessica Forde
Scene from Bastille Day. Photo / Jessica Forde

Bastille Day is an international affair, with a Paris setting, English director James Watkins, and English actors staring as Americans, with Elba playing ruthless CIA agent Sean Briar and Game Of Thrones' Richard Madden pickpocket Michael Mason.

They meet when Mason is identified as the prime suspect in a terrorist attack in Paris, and Briar, aware something's not right, scoops up the hunted Mason before the French RAPID squad get to him.

From this point, it's the Briar and Mason show as misfits from different sides of the law attempt to uncover who is threatening to disrupt the impending Bastille Day parade.

The "odd couple" relationship between Briar and Mason aims for humour, but never gels, instead delivering lazy dialogue, such as "You don't know me I've got plans", which makes you sink a little into your seat.

There are twists and turns aplenty, some of which thankfully you don't see coming, but it's Elba's cool and shoot 'em up approach, which generally involves shoving a gun into people's mouths, that makes viewing bearable. As do well executed action sequences, which are at times tight and thrilling, especially when racing across the Parisian rooflines.

It's just a shame that when the action stops, someone says something stupid.

Scene from Bastille Day. Photo / Jessica Forde
Scene from Bastille Day. Photo / Jessica Forde

Bastille Day wants to be part of The Bourne Identity and Die Hard gang, but it's not funny or smart enough to qualify. Filmed before the Charlie Hebdo/Bataclan tragedies the subject matter is close to home, but thankfully not inappropriate or offensive.

It would have to be more believable to draw any real parallels.

Review: Bastille Day

Cast: Idris Elba, Richard Madden
Director:James Watkins
Running Time: 92 mins
Rating: R16 (Violence, offensive language, nudity)
Verdict: Great action, terrible script.

- TimeOut

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