The true story behind The 15:17 To Paris is about the only selling point this movie has to offer. In the context of the film, however, this incident would be considered a spoiler, so… spoiler warning, I guess. But, what we deal with here are the true-life stories of Spencer Stone and his two best friends Alek Scarlatos and Anthony Sadler, all played by the real-life people. Why? Probably because no self-respecting actor would’ve read this script and thought to themselves “yep, this is a movie I want to be a part of.” The three were all aboard a train to Paris while on vacation when, suddenly, a member of ISIS pulled out a gun and starting shooting.
Right from the opening scene, I knew this was going to be a rough 95 minutes. It opens with our three protagonists sitting in a car in a poorly framed, over-exposed Go-Pro shot with laughably generic narration from Anthony Sadler, who doesn’t even go on to become the main character. We’re then flung back a number of years to these men as children, forced to endure an impossibly bad twenty minute prologue that’s not only cheap looking, unbearably acted and all-round lazy, but it’s literally not relevant to anything that follows.
So, we’re now halfway through the movie, having achieved literally nothing, and by this stage, people in the theatre had already walked out. But the good news is that Spencer has finally convinced his BFFs to travel to Europe with him, and through a series of insanely poor editing choices featuring some of the worst acting ever put to screen, we montage through their trip… FOR HALF AN HOUR. Did we need to see a three-minute scene of them choosing what Gelato to eat? Of course not. Do we get it anyway? Of course we do. Literally every scene is like that, serving no purpose whatsoever.
Plus, once we do get to the actual incident, it’s the most underwhelming moment of the film. There’s no suspense or buildup whatsoever, all valuable screen time wasted on the dumbest choices imaginable, right before the shirtless terrorist comes out with guns blazing. I’ve spoilt enough, it’s impossible not to when literally nothing at all happens in this entire movie, but the reason they’re able to actually stop this man… ooft. It’s bad writing, if there even was any writing involved. Two lucky coincidences saved the day; these men just took it upon themselves to make sure it stayed that way.
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