Director: James Watkins
Cast: Idris Elba, Richard Madden, Kelly Reilly, Charlotte Le Bon, Anatol Yusef
Runtime: 1 hr 32 mins
Rating: NC-16 (Some Nudity and Violence)
Released By: Shaw
Opening Day: 21 April 2016
Synopsis: Michael Mason (Richard Madden, ‘GAME OF THRONES’) is an American pickpocket living in Paris who finds himself hunted by the CIA when he steals a bag that contains more than just a wallet. Sean Briar (Idris Elba, ‘LUTHER’, PROMETHEUS), the field agent on the case, soon realizes that Michael is just a pawn in a much bigger game and is also his best asset to uncover a large-scale conspiracy. Going against commands, Briar recruits Michael to use his expert pickpocketing skills to help quickly track down the source of the corruption. As a 24hr thrill ride ensues, the unlikely duo discover they are both targets and must rely upon each other in order to take down a common enemy
Let is be known that English actor Idris Elba is one actor not to be messed with. Most people would know the 43 year old actor as Heimdall, the all seeing and all hearing guardian sentry of Asgard who stands on the rainbow bridge, always ready to take on any foes who are planning to attack Asgard. Yup, we are talking about the tall and overbearing dude who has appeared in Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Thor films.
Elba has gone on to take on roles in big Hollywood titles like Prometheus (2012), Pacific Rim (2013), and most notably, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013) where he played Nelson Mandela. He has also done some impressive voice acting jobs in this year’s Zootopia, The Jungle Book and the upcoming Finding Dory. If you have been active on the worldwide web, you would also know that the London born actor will be the main villain in Star Trek Beyond, slated for release a few months later in July.
And this is a timely opportunity to check out Elba as an action hero in James Watkins’ movie. He is a no nonsense field agent tasked to investigate a case involving a pickpocket, a bomb explosion and terrorist attacks. His on screen star is Scottish actor Richard Madden, who you may recognise as Robb Stark in the popular TV series Game of Thrones and Price Kit in Disney’s live action version of Cinderella (2015). Oh, we almost forgot that the film is set in France, and as the title suggests, the French National Day holds a significant meaning for the movie.
While there’s nothing to shout about the plot of this 92 minute action thriller (originality isn’t a big thin in the movie making business these days, anyway), the filmmakers manage to deliver a fast paced story which doesn't dwell on unnecessary side plots. The sequences are executed the way viewers would expect them to, and are appropriately engaging to keep you interested throughout its very welcoming runtime.
There are scenes of cars chasing each other down busy streets, people chasing each other on rooftops, people shooting each other with huge ass guns and of course, explosions going off. There is even a story twist towards the end of the movie. It may not be exactly the most novel thing to include, but its serviceable enough for us to overlook this attempt to spice things up a bit.
The real gem here is Elba’s on screen charisma. Watch him take down enemies one by one - we get the feeling he is the next Denzel Washington to watch out for (extra doses of Man on Fire, Unstoppable, The Equalizer, anyone?). At the same time, Elba makes time for truly charming banter with Madden - it’s almost like seeing a new kind of bromance ala Lethal Weapon’s Danny Glover and Mel Gibson forming on screen. It also helps that Madden, as sneaky as he is as a pickpocket, is suave and easy on the eyes - who cares if you do not have a build like Chris Evans? The chemistry between these two men allows the movie to easily keep you entertained for one and a half hours.
(The premise of the movie might be cliched, but the entertaining action sequences, as well as Idris Elba and Richard Madden’s on screen chemistry make this 93 minute action flick a fun watch)
Review by John Li