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Film / From Paris with Love

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Wax: Nice work, Reese.
Reese: (covered in blood) What's so nice about it?
Wax: How 'bout he's dead and you're not?

2010 action film produced and co-written by Luc Besson and starring John Travolta and Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

James Reese (Meyers) is the personal aide to U.S. Ambassador in France. Unbeknownst to either the Ambassador or his beautiful French girlfriend Reese is leading a double life as a low level CIA operative. He juggles his responsibilities until he is ordered to team up with brash, trigger-happy, loose cannon Charlie Wax (Travolta).

Very violent Hilarity Ensues.

Tropes this film follows:

  • Awesomeness by Analysis
    Wax: How long do you think it'd take to run down nine flights of stairs?. . .Fifty-four seconds. Five seconds to cross the lobby… and four to get to the car.
  • Berserk Button: Charlie and the Chinese restaurant not having good egg foo young.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The Chinese restaurant in which cocaine is stored in the ceiling is called "Les Lotus des Neiges'', which means "The Snow Lotus" in French.
  • Bittersweet Ending: All of the terrorists are dead but Caroline —who had been one of the terrorists all along— is killed by her own boyfriend, turning Reese into a Heartbroken Badass..
  • Bond One-Liner: "Wax on, Wax off". (Doubles as a Shout-Out to The Karate Kid, written by Luc Besson's writing partner Robert Mark Kamen.)
  • Boom, Headshot!: The famous dinner scene. It wound up being a meme.
  • The Chessmaster: Reese's opening-scene game with his boss defines his character from the get-go. It's implied that this is the characteristic that lands Reese his big break. Wax is also a speed chessmaster, bordering on Clock King.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: Happens repeatedly, but does get subverted once: Wax fires his pistol at a mook who's hiding safely behind a wall. Then he runs out of ammo, grabs an assault rifle and proceeds to shoot the mook through the wall.
  • Diplomatic Impunity: Downplayed. Reese has to get agent Charlie Wax past French customs, but Wax refuses to do so without several cans of energy drinks he's trying to smuggle into France (which actually contain the disassembled pieces of his favorite handgun). Charlie suggests bribing the customs officer, but Reese compromises by simply slapping a "diplomatic mail" sticker on the bag.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • "Maybe you should ask your girlfriend what she was doing in this part of town."
    • "I swear, that girl is gonna get you killed."
  • Family-Values Villain: Wax and Reese pull a gun on a triad boss while he's attending a children's play and try to blackmail him to give up the location of his cocaine suppliers. When he proves too recalcitrant, Reese adds "think of the children" to get him to comply with their demands.
  • Gadget Watches: Wax gets one that can direct a satellite.
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: The leader of the Muslim terrorist cell receives no characterization beyond being an imminent threat for Reese and Wax to take out. He only appears for a few moments, doesn't have any dialogue, or even a name. Caroline just describes him as "a man who opened my eyes to his faith".
  • Guile Hero: Wax manipulates everyone around him and loves to keep his partner James in the dark about his plans or intentions, but ultimately he's clearly on the side of good and trying to stop a terrorist attack.
  • High-Heel–Face Turn: Played with, but ultimately averted. Caroline really loves Reese, but she still reaches for the bomb trigger at the climax, forcing Reese to kill her. The way the bomb is designed, she may have been reaching to disarm it, but Reese just couldn't take that chance.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Wax's silenced guns barely make a click and a whistle when they fire.
  • I Call It Mrs. Jones: Wax's gun, which he smuggles into France in dozens of cans of energy drink and sings to.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The only reason Wax manages to stay alive.
  • It's Snowing Cocaine: Wax shoots up a Chinese restaurant which is a front for a Triad drug smuggling operation, then has Reese carry a huge ming vase full of cocaine they collected around Paris with them. They later visit a local drug dealer who is only willing to sell them a quantity that would be reasonable for personal use, pointing out that they're not in Bogota. Wax then destroys the vase to cause every gangbanger in the area to flee, since all of them know what kind of criminal charges would befall them for being found in possession of 5 kilos of cocaine.
  • It Was a Gift: The ring Reese receives from his girlfriend and wears in subsequent scenes is later revealed to contain a transmitter, outing her as his Love-Interest Traitor.
  • Jerkass: The red-haired ambassador, who despite being told of a possible assassination attempt, and actually seeing a suicide bomber's car explode in front of her, is unable to understand the concept of "security breach" and blames the entire affair on Reese.
  • John Travolta Is About to Shoot You: Wax on the poster. With a rocket launcher.
  • Large Ham: Wax is hammy even by Travolta's standards.
  • Love Redeems: Averted; Caroline still reaches for the trigger even after Reese tries to talk her out of it by reaffirming his love for her.
  • Mood Whiplash: The dinner scene. It starts out innocently enough with Wax joining Reese, Caroline and her girlfriend. Then the friend receives "the call (he) was waiting for" and *BAM!*.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer make it seem the movie was a Buddy Cop comedy like Rush Hour. The actual movie have more in common with John Woo than with Chris Tucker.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Mostly averted, but used for style and emotional impact, at the climax.
    • And to avoid a huge explosion.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Averted; Wax has no problem shooting a female terrorist without turning evil. When Reese shoots Caroline at the end he isn't demonised either - it's sad he had to do it but the film is clear he had no choice.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Was Caroline reaching for the trigger on the suicide bomb, or was she trying to deactivate it?
  • Scaramanga Special: Wax smuggles his pistol "Mrs. Jones" into France via concealing the pieces inside of energy drink cans. Reese points out that they could have easily arranged firearms for him without having to bother with customs; Wax is just very attached to the weapon.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Mrs. Jones is a reference to the song "Me and Mrs. Jones" by Billy Paul. Wax even sings the opening chorus while introducing the gun.
    • Wax gets himself a royale with cheese.
    • And "Wax on, Wax off".
    • After beating the snot out of a group of tongs, Wax comments to Reese if that isn't some "impressive Shaw Brothers shit" he just saw.
  • Terrorists Without a Cause: We never really get a clear cut answer on why Reese's fiance is plotting to suicide bomb an African aid summit other than saying she was looking for a purpose and a man she met six years ago explained things to her. Arguably parodied because Wax explains a bit during the early part of the film, but Reese (and, since we're viewing the scene through his eyes, the audience) is too high on cocaine to understand it.
  • The Triads and the Tongs: Wax and Reese have a run in with the Snakeheads.
  • Was It All a Lie?: Caroline says it wasn't, even if her feelings aren't enough to stop her trying to push the trigger on her bomb. Possibly — as we see a few seconds later when Wax disconnects it, the cord to deactivate the bomb was right above the trigger. It's never made clear which she was reaching for- the trigger, or the cord. Which would turn it into Suicide by Cop - she must've known she'd get shot if she moved her hand anywhere close to the trigger.
  • Wham Line: Wax: "That's the call we've been waiting for." *BANG*
  • Wok Fu: There is a cross between a gunfight and fistfight in a Chinese restaurant.
  • You Are Already Checked In: The assistant to the American representative at the conference gets stopped at the checkpoint for being already checked in, even though he's the real guy. The person who used his ID before was his fiancée, the terrorist who tries to blow the conference up.


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McDonald's As Featured In Meal

McDonald's is so ubiquitous in pop culture that they can make commercials consisting of nothing but references to, parodies of, and product placements for the fast food corporation and its products. This August 2023 commercial is for their limited-time "As Featured In" meal based on these references and also serves as a cross-promotion with Loki's second season (note the "Streaming October 6 on Disney+" message) as well as Palace Skateboards, who started a collaboration with McDonald's at the same time. (Palace doesn't have a TV Tropes page; we don't cover lifestyle brands.) Note that, as of the uploading of this video, the 30 Rock episode "St. Valentine's Day" does not have a Recap page here yet. Also, the commercial doesn't mention the episode title for The Office (US) episode used in the ad ("Hot Girl").

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