Bastille Day Review 

Director: James Watkins 

Starring: Idris Elba, Richard Madden, Kelly Reilly

The Overview 

After pick-pocket Michael Mason (Madden) is mistakenly identified as a terrorist, he must work with CIA Agent Sean Briar (Elba) to uncover the real terrorist plot. 

The Good
This non-stop action flick set in Paris certainly had the potential to be good, especially with the two promising leads in Idris Elba and Richard Madden. It doesn’t deliver in all aspects but there’s a lot to like in a trier. There’s plenty going on and you certainly won’t be bored. 

Some of the action scenes were pretty great, if a little “by the numbers”. The rooftop chase over Paris is particularly cool. There’s also a great fight scene in the back of a van; let’s face it, watching Idris Elba beating the crap out of two guys in a confined space is always great.

I particularly liked the use of shaky cam in the action sequences, and the dynamic camera movements certainly helped to create tension and excitement. 

The Bad
For a start, this film is ludicrous. It’s not as offensive or unashamedly trashy as London Has Fallen, but it’s certainly big dumb fun which places more emphasis on the dumbness than the fun-ness. 

The humour fell a little flat for me; it really felt like it was trying too hard to generate laughs. Nearly all attempts at humour failed apart from the “terrorist” saying, “the hashtags will tip it over”, in complete earnest which probably wasn’t supposed to be funny but made me laugh. Those darn hashtags. 

The plot is an absolute mess and the character motives are flimsier than a wet paper bag. Sometimes action films can get away with a wafer thin plot, but this film felt like it was trying to do something more layered but it couldn’t quite decide how it wanted to do this. It makes a couple of hamfisted attempts at criticising how the law enforcement agencies racially profile suspects, and also feels like it is trying to make a point about disenfranchised youngsters and their desire to protest against the system. It’s a bit slapdash in how it presents these issues though and with so much going on, it always feels a little uncertain about the point it is trying to make, and the plot suffers as a result. 

The Verdict 
I saw this movie so you don’t have to. Bastille Day is completely ridiculous, good fun in places, but not worth writing home about. The plot is messy and disjointed, and it constantly feels like it isn’t sure what sort of film it wants to be. Give it a miss. 

Agree with everything I’ve said or am I a completely misguided idiot who has got it all wrong? Let me know in the comments below! 


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