Welcome To The Punch * * 1/2
Director: Eran Creevy.
Screenplay: Eran Creevy.
Starring: James McAvoy, Mark Strong, Peter Mullan, Johnny Harris, David Morrissey, Andrea Riseborough, Daniel Mays, Jason Flemyng, Daniel Kaluuya, Elyes Gabel, Ruth Sheen, Steve Oram.
This film marks the start of a trilogy of UK ventures from actor James McAvoy in 2013. It was released practically back to back with Danny Boyle’s “Trance” and an adaptation of the Irvine Welsh novel “Filth” will complete McAvoy’s year. Let’s just say that he hasn’t got off to the best of starts with this one.
During the pursuit of master criminal
Jacob Sternwood (Mark Strong), doggedly determined policeman Max Lewinsky (James McAvoy) is shot in the leg which allows Sternwood to escape. Now disgraced within his precinct, Lewinsky believes he will never get the chance bring Sternwood to justice. That is, until Sterenwood is forced out of hiding to return to London from his Icelandic hideaway and hunt down the man responsible for shooting his son. Lewinsky is given the perfect opportunity to rescue his reputation but he also uncovers a deeper conspiracy involved.
I’ve said it countless times before but I’m afraid I’m going to have to say it again; I’m not a massive fan of the action genre. I find it all a bit hollow and the story and logic always suffer for the sake of set-pieces and excitement. This has that very same problem. The reason I went into this was for the actors and the curiosity of how a British made movie, in this genre, could compete in terms with the U.S. At least, on both these accounts, I wasn’t disappointed. McAvoy, once again, proves his leading man credentials with fine support by Mark Strong and British character actors like Peter Mullan, David Morrissey and Johnny Harris. The film’s, near futuristic, look and gritty feel is also perfectly fitting and for a change, a British action movie handles itself just as well as any other. However, it’s ultimately no different from the mind-numbing, generic dross that this genre so often delivers and the plot, as expected, has holes aplenty. In fact, they are so wide, they are actually quite offensive. Despite it trying to play clever and keep it’s cards close to it’s chest, it’s all rather predictable and leaves you with the feeling that you’ve just wasted your time. Eran Creevy does well, in the directing stakes and conducts his action set-pieces with impressive ease but his script has more creeks and holes than his protagonist’s dodgy knee. If it wasn’t for the committed actors and the neon-infused cinematography by Ed Wild, this would be a complete write-off.
With a better script and more respect for the audience this could have been a lot better. Sadly, it has neither of these and carries so much self-indulgence it would be more aptly titled… Welcome to the Paunch.