Idris Elba gives his best audition for Bond, playing an all-action CIA agent in this Euro-charged b-movie. Co-star Richard Madden (Robb Stark from Game of Thrones) teams up with Elba to form an unlikely duo, with Madden playing an even more unlikely and extremely well groomed pickpocket, the duo combining after fate brings them unwittingly together to conduct an anti-terrorism mission in France. The film steers clearly away from real-world politics in so far as making the terrorists white anti-fascist protestors. Apart from the odd dramatic set-piece, including a particularly extravagant and enjoyable rooftop chase sequence, there isn’t enough to make up for the weak script and the lack of real chemistry between the leads. Madden’s fluctuating accent and pretty boy looks fail to provide the grit to make his streetwise petty crook convincing.
There’s an odd subplot regarding the role of Twitter in creating social revolution, which manages to be both underdeveloped and overstating the real world impact of #hashtags. The film features numerous big punch ups, without as much as a cut or a spot of blood befalling our leads. It’s not tongue in cheek enough to get away with it either, feeling fairly serious despite the increasingly ridiculous plot. Whilst Idris Elba’s presence is instinctively weighty and reassuring, with stakes this low, it’s hard to get too excited.
Review by David Rank
Bastille Day is out now in the UK. Certificate 15 (UK). Running time 112 mins.