Film Review by Clayton Barnett
A young con artist and former CIA agent embark on an anti-terrorist mission in France.
There’s been endless discussion on Idris Elba as a potential 007 replacement for Daniel Craig, and entertaining actioner Bastille Day is a damn decent audition tape.
He’s the classic old-school cop – or CIA agent here – who doesn’t follow the rules, and after practically handing in his badge he’s great entertainment breaking down the bad guys. And his gritty nature bounces brilliantly off the suave Richard ‘Rob Stark’ Madden, the pair’s natural charisma and humour lifting the straightforward plot.
Sean Briar: You ran, innocent people don't run
Michael Mason: Have you seen yourself... you'd run too
Director Andrew Watkins (who also co-wrote) made a name for himself with U.K. thrillers Eden Lake and Woman in Black, and for his first hand at action does an admirable job. While pretty conventional and cheesy at times, Watkins can still crank up the action – there’s a vertigo-inducing rooftop chase, some brutal close-quarter combat in the back of a van and a classy slight of hand sequence in a bar that all help the movie tick along nicely.
The downside is you can tell Watkins stretched the budget as far as it could go, and the use of hashtags and viral videos to rally the terrorist threat comes across a bit naff. Plus I just kept on seeing all these Brits actors as Brits and not buying their American accents. At least Elba won’t need an accent for Bond.
Bastille Day might come off a bit Taken-lite, but this Paris set thriller still packs an entertaining punch with Bond-hopeful Idris Elba leading the charge.
Releases: 12th May 2016
Rating: R16 - Contains violence, offensive language and nudity
Duration: 132 minutes
Starring: Idris Elba, Richard Madden, Charlotte Lebon, Adele Exarchopoulos
Director: James Watkins (The Woman in Black, Eden Lake)
Adèle Exarchopiulos was originally cast but dropped out in order to do The Last One. Charlotte Le Bon replaced her instead.
This will be Kelly Reilly's second collaboration with director James Watkins. They first worked together on Eden Lake (2008).
Pierre Morel was previously attached to direct the film.