Bastille Day

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Bastille Day

Michael Mason (Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden) is a US pickpocket working the streets of Paris. When he inadvertently steals a bag containing a bomb that – after he unknowingly discards it – explodes in a crowded plaza, he becomes part of a cat-and-mouse game between a band of terrorists and rogue CIA agent Sean Briar (Idris Elba). While Briar punches out pretty much everyone, the terrorists stir up anti-police feeling on the streets – in part via social media (“send out the final hashtag” says one bad guy, which is not quite as threatening as the film seems to think it is).

It’s clear they’re more than just a small-scale terror group, but can Briar and Mason uncover their plan before Paris tears itself apart? Putting real social tensions in this kind of trashy action movie gives the otherwise fairly generic story some edge, but director James Watkins (The Woman in Black) does a good job with the many action sequences (a rooftop chase is legitimately gripping). Madden’s character spends a little too much of the film freaking out, but his supernatural pickpocket skills are always fun. Elba’s one-note badass is gruffly entertaining and convincingly threatening to all around him. More action movies in his future, please.

Reviewed by Anthony Morris