Richard Madden (Cinderella) plays a highly skilled pick pocket who steals a bag which unbeknownst to him, contains two pounds of Semtex and when he ditches the bag he unwittingly kills 4 people. The CIA send Sean Brior (Idris Elba, The Jungle Book) to France to hunt him down and get to the bottom of this terrorist plot.
Director James Watkins follows his 2012 horror, The Woman In Black, with this action heavy, counter terrorism, Parisian thriller. Idris Elba plays a "reckless and irresponsible" CIA agent who tracks and eventually allies with a pick pocket (Richard Madden) as a terror charged anxiety starts to arise in the run up to France's Bastille Day.
The plot is simple, lazy, absurd and rather messy but it avoids the xenophobic stereotypes that made their way into this year's London Has Fallen. What makes Bastille Day watchable is the action, which is pulled off quite competently. The action is brutal, entertaining and Idris Elba's screen presence and build makes it all rather believable.
Elba and Madden have chemistry on screen and whilst their characters aren't all that likable (the hokey American accents don't help) they make the proceeding's feel less unbearable than they would be without them.
Perhaps the most laughable and ridiculous aspect of Bastille Day is the reliance on the power of today's social media. Terrorists use hashtags to rally chaos within the country, a lazy effort of trying to update the fairly old fashioned story for a modern audience.
Bastille Day is an uneven blend of a French setting, American characters and British cast and crew. The story is boring and messy but the action is well done and the chemistry between our two leads makes it all pretty watchable. I'm giving Bastille Day a 5.4/10.