Bullets are sprayed around with abandon but it’s the plot that’s riddled with holes when Idris Elba’s maverick CIA agent teams up with an expat American pickpocket (Richard Madden, Game of Thrones’ Robb Stark) to save the day in this Paris-set action thriller.
Made by and starring Brits, Bastille Day is clearly a wannabe Bourne movie and, to be fair, director James Watkins (The Woman in Black, Eden Lake) does pull off a dizzyingly vertiginous rooftop chase early on as Madden’s shifty thief, Michael Mason, tries to evade Elba’s relentless Briar.
Mason has been put in the frame for a terrorist outrage. We know he’s innocent, having seen him unwittingly pinch a bag containing a bomb being transported by conscience-stricken French activist Zoë (Charlotte Le Bon, The Walk, The Hundred-Foot Journey). But when the identities and motives of the real culprits emerge, Bastille Day loses its grip.
It’s flimsy enough that Blair should join forces with ne’er-do-well Mason and hapless patsy Zoë to foil the bad guys, but the acting isn’t entirely convincing, either. Madden’s American accent is shaky and Elba, playing that standard-issue character type, the “reckless and irresponsible” field agent, is not at his best. If this is his Bond audition, it’s not a very convincing one.
Certificate 15. Runtime 92 mins. Director James Watkins