3.5 out of 10
Release Date: 15th March 2013
Director: Eran Creevy (Autobahn / Shifty)
Cast: James McAvoy, Mark Strong, Andrea Riseborough, Peter Mullan, Daniel Mays, Johnny Harris, Natasha Little, Daniel Kuluuya, Ruth Sheen, Elyes Gabel, Jason Maza with Jason Flemyng and David Morrissey
Writer: Eran Creevy
Trailer: WELCOME TO THE PUNCH
I thought I’d review this film before I forgot everything that I’d seen. Welcome To The Punch is a workman-like, competent but ultimately anonymous Britpic. Operating with a higher budget it’s been noted in the press material that director Eran Creery‘s main influence was the Hong Kong actioner Infernal Affairs. As mentioned in my review in for The Tournament, it’s good that the UK film industry is finally delivering on a promise to deliver the sleek thriller that Hollywood produces in its lunch breaks. Slick, unproblematic, well-cast and breath-taking. So what’s the problem with Welcome To The Punch.
The problems don’t lie with the cast, which is made up of some of the biggest talents at work today, it’s the storyline. A train journey would be less predictable, Welcome To The Punch never deviates from the standard ‘cops and robbers’ road map. James MacAvoy (TRANCE) plays a cop committed to taking down Mark Strong’s (THE EAGLE) conflicted bank robber. After scuppering an opportunity to bag his quarry years before, McAvoy is now the department by-word for burn out. When Strong’s son, (ELYES GABEL – EVERYWHERE + NOWHERE) is shot, he returns incognito to London, where McAvoy and an assortment of cops with their own agendas await there chance to put him behind bars.
What ensues is a glossy parade of shoot outs, foot chases, car chases and conversations on top of skyscrapers (much like in Infernal Affairs). Only once does the film throw us quirkers a bone, when Ruth Sheen (ANOTHER YEAR) shows up as a hitman’s mother who goes onto serve tea and biscuits for Strong and his oppose. One wishes that the makers had bothered to get jazzy a few more times but it never happens.
A lot of fine actors are wasted and lost in the shuffle at the expense of the story template. No one is afforded a back story and there’s about the same amount of character development in your average Paul WS Anderson movie (RESIDENT EVIL, EVENT HORIZON, DEATH RACE etc), so whilst it won’t task the brain cells, it’s a wasted opportunity at giving as a long overdue expose on the Police force. But instead we have a film that even struggles to out style, out interest and out run Nick Love’s recent crack at The Sweeney. At least that had characters we gave a monkeys about. Eran Creery‘s debut Shifty remains one of the best indies of the last few years, so it’s a shame to see him boil his personal stamp down to little more than a competent wheel house man.
3.5 out of 10 – Disappointing but for all the unpredictable reasons. A real Hollywood-style thriller that is so anonymous and unwilling to play a risky game. A good cast are utterly squandered. A completely empty experience. I’d recommend the similar All Things To All Men, which didn’t mind getting it’s hands dirty.
READ JOE PESCI II’s review wayyyyyyyy below in his hairy dungeon…..
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- James McAvoy: Split, X Men 5, Victor Frankenstein, X Men 4, Filth, Trance, Arthur Christmas (voice), X Men- First Class, Gnomeo & Juliet (voice), The Conspirator, The Last Station, Wanted, Becoming Jane, Atonement, Starter For 10, Penelope, The Last King Of Scotland, The Chronicles Of Narnia- The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, Shameless (TV), Inside I’m Dancing, Wimbledon, Bright Young Things, Regeneration, The Near Room
- Mark Strong: Grimsby, Kingsman – The Secret Service, The Imitation Game, Before I Go To Sleep, Blood (2013), Zero Two Dark, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Kick Ass, The Guard, John Carter, Black Gold, The Eagle, Robin Hood (2010), The Green Lantern, The Way Back, Sherlock Holmes (2009), Rock-N-Rolla, Body Of Lies, Young Victoria, Flashbacks Of a Fool, Sunshine (2007), Stardust, Scenes Of a Sexual Nature, Revolver, Syriana, The Long Firm (TV), Heartlands, The Martins, Elephant Juice, Fever Pitch, Hotel (2001), Our Friends In The North (TV), Captives
- Andrea Riseborough: Mindhorn, Nocturnal Animals, Birdman, Oblivion, Shadow Dancer, W/E, Brighton Rock ( 2011), Resistance, Made In Dagenham, Never Let Me Go, Happy Go Lucky
- Peter Mullan: Hector, Sunset Song, Sunshine On Leith, The Liability, The Man Inside (2012), War Horse, Tyrannosaur, Neds, True North, Children Of Men, Criminal (2004), The Magdalene Sisters (director), On a Clear Day, Young Adam, The Claim (2000), Orphans (director), Miss Julie, My Name Is Joe, Trainspotting, Shallow Grave, Riff Raff
- Daniel Mays: The Limehouse Golem, Star Wars – Rogue One, Dad’s Army, Victor Frankenstein, Byzantium, Tintin (mo-cap), Made In Dagenham, Nanny McPhee 2, The Firm (2009), Shifty, The Bank Job, Atonement, Vera Drake, All Or Nothing
- Johnny Harris: Jawbone, This Is England ’90, Fortitude (TV), Monsters 2, Last Days On Mars, Snow White & The Huntsman, Huge, This Is England 86 (TV), This Is England 88 (TV), Black Death, Dorian Gray, London To Brighton
- Natasha Little: Blood (2013), The Boys Are Back, Mr Nobody, Another Life, Greenfingers, Kevin and Perry Go Large, The Clandestine Marriage
- Daniel Kuluuya: Get Out, Johnny English 2, Chatroom, Cass, Skins (TV)
- Ruth Sheen: Mr Turner, Another Year, Heartless, All Or Nothing, Vera Drake, The Young Poisoner’s Handbook, High Hopes
- Elyes Gabel: Spooks – The Greater Good, A Most Violent Year, Interstellar, World War Z, Hostage, Everywhere + Nowhere
- Jason Maza: Brotherhood, #Legacy, Angel (2015), #Legacy, The Hooligan Factory, Traveller, Little Deaths, Get Lucky, The Knot, Truth or Dare, The Man Inside (2012), Outside Bet, Demons Never Die, Anuvahood, Ten Dead Men, KickOff, Fit, Fish Tank, Shifty, Hush Your Mouth, Rise Of The Footsoldier, Life and Lyrics
- Jason Flemyng: Eat Local (dir), Gemma Bovery, Top Dog, Sunshine On Leith, I Give It a Year, The Great Expectations (2012), Wild Bill (2012), X Men-First Class, Hanna, Solomon Kane, Kick Ass, Ironclad, Dead Cert, Jack Falls, The Riddle, Shifty, Clash Of The Titans, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Mirrors, Stardust, Rollin With The Nines, Transporter 2, Layer Cake, Below, Mean Machine, The Bunker, Snatch, Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels,The Red Violin, The Hollow Reed, Deep Rising, Spice World, Alive & Kicking (1996), Deep Rising, Stealing Beauty, The Jungle Book (1994)
- David Morrissey: The Ones Below, The Walking Dead (TV), Blitz, Nowhere Boy, Centurion, Is Anybody There?, The Reaping, The Other Boleyn Girl, Derailed, Basic Instinct 2, Hilary & Jackie, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Born Romantic, Some Voices, Fanny & Elvis, Waterland, Drowning By Numbers