Director: James Watkins
Cast: Idris Elba, Richard Madden, Charlotte Le Bon, Kelly Reilly
Plot: When a pickpocket unknowingly steals a bag containing a bomb that subsequently kills four people, he is wrongfully suspected to be a terrorist. He is forced to team up with a lone CIA agent to clear his name and stop the real terrorists from tearing up Paris on France's independence day.
Review: With the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, one would think that this film's timing couldn't be better, or worse depending on how you look at it.
In Bastille Day, an American pickpocket named Michael Mason steals a bag belonging to Zoe, who is a bomb mule. He doesn't know there is a bomb in it, until it goes off mere seconds after he dumps the bag. CCTV cameras capture his image and now the authorities think he's a terrorist. Enter CIA agent Briar, known to be insubordinate and reckless, who must find Mason and find the real bombers together. As they go along they discover that the perpetrators wear police badges.
On the surface, it is easy to dismiss Bastille Day as yet another Bourne clone set in Europe that follows many other films of its kind in the last few years. But there are times when one can simply enjoy a good action film for what it is, and in that regard, Bastille Day delivers. Director James Watkins, who also co-wrote the script, keeps the pace sharp so the film is never boring. Watkins also deserves credit for shooting the action sequences very well, unlike most directors these days who seem to fail making their scenes look good. We have hand-to-hand scraps, shootouts and a neat rooftop chase sequence at the beginning. All of them perfectly filmed.
Cast wise, Idris Elba makes a good action hero as Briar, and its no wonder he's being touted as the next Bond. I do admit he looks a little bored here though. Game Of Thrones' Richard Madden is solid as Mason, with a passable American accent. Charlotte Le Bon rounds up the cast as Zoe, who makes a good case as a manipulated pawn in a large plot by the villains. Kelly Reilly is slightly wasted as Briar's boss.
Now, while I had a great time watching this, I won't pretend that Bastille Day is a masterpiece or anything. The plot is familiar, the twists are predictable and it lacks a proper climax. But I gotta say, I had a lot of fun with this movie. In the wake of recent Euro thrillers like Aaron Eckhart's The Expatriate, Milla Jovovich's Survivor and John Cusack's The Numbers Station, Bastille Day stands tall over them.
If you want something fun and action packed to kill ninety minutes, this is a good choice. (7/10)