Bastille Day (2016)


Director: James Watkins

Cast:Idris Elba, Richard Madden, Kelly Reilly

Review Author: Adam

Rating: 2/5 cans of seriously light beer.

Hello ReelTimeDublin! It’s Adam…the guy who used to write more…and feels bad about his absence. Work has been beyond busy and it’s been eating into my drinking time severely…well actually it’s been eating into my hangover time which is when I do most of my writing. But!! I’m back writing and drinking and being bitter, oddly charming and cynical and all of the other characteristics that seem to have brought some success to this site. We do have some really cool stuff on the schedule though with a guest writer dropping in an astonishing article on Mulholland Drive next week and a totally objective look at Civil War falling out of Tony over the next few days!

To the matter at hand. Last week at the behest of the girl I was with, I saw Bastille Day. A movie that looked, on the outside, to have a lot of potential. The thing is, I’m slowly coming around to Idris Elba, I loved him and all 58 words of dialogue he had in Thor, I think he has a cool voice…other than giving Luthor a fighting chance to hold my burnt out attention I haven’t seen much else of him. So I went into this on the fence about him and was promptly kicked off it.

He’s one of those ‘Jack of all trades; master of none’ artists who is branching out just that little bit too far to really nail down anything solid in my book. The man is a DJ, a singer, in shows, movies, stage pieces…pick one and get good at it. With his rise to stardom and his tough guy roles it’s no surprise the internet is fangirling themselves over the thought of him being the new Bond when Daniel Craig hangs up his PP7 and his Tom Ford suit. So with that in mind when I saw him playing an CIA agent in a spy/action thriller I thought to myself, ‘Right, ok, this is the audition’.

Much like Daniel Craig in Layer Cake, the role that landed him the famous three digits in my mind I assumed this was him flexing his one man army capabilities on camera to show the world why he deserves a tuxedo and an exploding watch.

The basic plot actually follows a method of storytelling perfected by Matt Stone and Tre Parker of South Park of: ‘This happens, but this happens…therefore this happens’ as the sequence of events that fuels the movie; rather than the more childish and one dimension ‘this and then and then and then’ model prevalent in most popcorn flicks these days.

The plot unfolds as a pickpocket living in France steals the handbag of a volunteer terrorist bomber who is having second thoughts on her mission to blow up a Government building, after taking the phone and money from the bag and wandering back down the road to continue his life as the handsome and badly cast Richard Madden the bomb concealed in the bag explodes after he dumps it in a heavily populated tourist area. Becoming now the main and confused suspect in a terror attack the day before Bastille Day. Cut to a CIA operative, under the guidance of a captain who’s had enough of this maverick agent and stuck her neck out for him and every other superior officer stereotype you can think of, setting out to catch the suspect.

After a gripping chase scene and a rather entertaining ‘prove yourself to me’ pissing match between the two, Edra’s character believes his story or circumstantial innocence and it’s at this point that all professionalism of the agent goes out the window as they set out to ‘get to the bottom of this’. Unfolding a terror plot, a mole operation, a terror group in France and even a bank robbery the two embark on what is essentially a buddy cop story similar to BulletProof by the thing that got possessed by modern day Adam Sandler.

Now, it actually starts quite strong with a very well paced plot that unfolds into a pleasant snowballing shitstorm that is actually believable. Act one lays the groundwork for a complex and fun cat and mouse game. Then it’s as if the writers stopped, looked at each other and yelled through their beards and soy lattes “WE NEED MORE CHEESE UP IN THIS THANG!!!!”. It then proceeds to do a 180 on the nice although overdone character story they presented and take a bumpy descent down the template model.

Every stereotype in the book comes out and despite one scene very similar to that of Ocean’s 11 it just takes the safe route to a Wednesday night empty screen flick.

Just when you think it won’t take any more of the safe and boring bets it takes templates right out of every other heist/standoff movie…ever, and just becomes a film that if you blurred the faces of the main character could literally be any other from that genre.

Just for fun I thought I’d rattle off a quick score card of stereotypes for the spy/cop-movie/one man army genre that this film uses.

  • Brilliant and gruff agent who doesn’t get along with anyone.
  • Mission briefing that he only half listens to and condescendingly solves in front of superiors.
  • Calls other captain from different organisation an ass hole.
  • ‘I stuck my neck out for you!’
  • Gets the mission anyway.
  • Parkour chase scene.
  • Handsome foreign anti-hero, fish out of water.
  • Shaky cam fight scene.
  • Criminal with a heart of gold.
  • “I work alone” “Aw shit really?” “…Ok maybe just this once”
  • Dumb henchmen.
  • Admittedly sweet ass hallway fight scene.
  • ‘It was actually me the whole time!’.
  • The leak is coming from within the organisation!?
  • Main villain with moustache.
  • “Stay Here and don’t help me!” *Leaves area to help and gets in trouble*
  • Suddenly- Girl power!!
  • Main villain explains plot to low ranking henchman for exposition.
  • Thing that happened at the start kind of happening again at the end.
  • Bank stand off.
  • ‘Drop your gun…No, you drop YOUR gun!’
  • Scene where two become friends even though he should arrest his ass.
  • Fake ending to catch secondary villain we all forgot about 45 mins in.
  • Two main characters walk away into the distance talking shite while the audio stays as if they were right next to the camera.
  • Idris Elba songs is main credit tune, with the title of the film as the chorus.


If you did enjoy it, which I did, like, it’s watchable, just not amazing and definitely not a compelling reason to cast Idris Elba as Bond, you’ll really enjoy ‘Focus’ (2015). I’ve dropped the trailer in below.

On that note, who should play Bond next?? Let us know who you think it should be below and Tony and I will argue with you.

Bastille Day poster

Author: Reel Time Flicks

Passionate about film and writing since 2015.

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