Isn't It Too Soon For From Paris With Love to Exploit the Underwear Bomber?

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Or maybe the better question is: Is it ever not too soon? Like some of America's greatest efforts of Marketing Jingoism -- say, Lego's exploitation of 9/11, or Chevrolet's exploitation of Vietnam, Hurricane Katrina and 9/11 -- Lionsgate's new mini-trailer for From Paris With Love is both curiously timed to a month before its release and 11 days after a Nigerian terror suspect attempted to blow up a jetliner in Detroit. That's a little late for a trailer (and early for a commercial), but right on time to take full advantage of all the violent, terror-busting goodness within. Sure, we're dealing with Lionsgate, which knows well where its genre bread is buttered. But can I just be the first to say: Eww?

We already passed on John Travolta's goateed anger bear last fall, when the first Paris trailer promised all the tough-guy/buddy-movie hegemony reinforcement American audiences could possibly handle. And it's not as though the story has changed since then: Travolta plays Charlie Wax, a bald, bescarfed FBI agent on the trail of terrorists plotting to lay waste to the City of Light. Apart from being armed with an arsenal double that of the French Army (I know, I know -- what Army?), Wax's necessity in Paris seems cosmetic at best. He swears a lot, has a knack for exquisite slow-motion combat, and turns junior bureaucrat Jonathan Rhys Meyers into a stone-cold anti-terror force. Unlike accused "underwear bomber" Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, al-Qaeda won't be claiming responsibility for Wax's foes, punching bags whom Wax drops by the dozen. U-S-A!

But they aren't the real threat anyway. Watch out instead for the swarthy, scowling dude beneath the voiceover, "There's a suicide bomber inside the Embassy!" Followed naturally the narration: "The risk has never been greater." Then comes Wax reminding us in full bellow: "What do you think it's about? It's about terror!" (emphasis really his) and the disclosure that Wax's "methods aren't exactly regulation." (Oh, and did you hear that Fox News recently aired poll results suggesting a majority of Americans want Abdulmutallab waterboarded?) And if you were Wax, with only one rocket-launcher shot in the end to save the day, would you not pull the trigger? Why didn't the producers of 24 think of this?

Slow clap, Lionsgate. Oh, and apropos of nothing: That new Dune adaptation is in fantastic hands with Pierre Morel directing. Who'll be the first to exploit that massacre? (Besides Paramount, that is.)

VERDICT: Get off my monitor.



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