Welcome to the Punch – Film Review @welcome2punch

14 Mar

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Eran Creevy ups his game tenfold following his impressive micro budget debut with Shifty. Now backed by executive producer Ridley Scott, and with a considerable amount more money behind him, Creevy demonstrates what he can do when he’s playing with the big boys, in an impressive but not quite perfect classic cop chase style film.

Welcome to the Punch stars James McAvoy as Detective Max Lewinsky a man on a three-year hunt for ex criminal Jacob Sternwood (Mark Strong). After hiding in Iceland, as you do, Sternwood is forced back to London when his son gets involved in a heist gone wrong. The East End battle begins.

The opening of Welcome to the Punch shows London in an impressive light, a drawn out motorbike chase through the back drop of Canary Wharf atScreen Shot 2013-03-14 at 11.08.51night, makes London look like its had the $10 million Hollywood effect sprayed across it, and I have to say, it looks stunningly beautiful and certainly sets the tone for this fast paced, well acted and glossy film.

McAvoy is strong as the lead character, and once again shows off his versatility as a disgruntled, scarred and determined officer, focused on nothing other than to get his man. Mark Strong is a fantastic counterpart to McAvoy’s good guy, he’s understated and calm, so you can’t ever quite read him correctly, and this plays out for the audience who spend the majority of the film trying to work out if he’s a “bad guy gone good”, or if its just one big double bluff?! On the filp side, rising Screen Shot 2013-03-14 at 11.10.19star Andrea Riseborough is sadly one of the more forgettable characters in this film, as one can’t help but feel that she is under-utilized throughout. She’s a supporting character, but sadly with not a huge amount to do or for us to care about, which does not bode well three quarters of the way through, and is perhaps one of the biggest shames about this film.

On the upside, however, There’s a fantastic array of dark humour throughout and the use of well known cameos such a Jason Flemyng and Jason Maza who have no more than a few minutes on screen, still throw is back to Creevy’s Shifty days and provide a warm and nostalgic reminder that this is a great British film.

Another great point about this film is that although the setting and style of delivery is very much London in feel, you can’t avoid seeing Creevy’s influences from much further afield. His love of Hong Kong cinema and John Woo can be picked up easily in the fight sequences, particularly the Screen Shot 2013-03-14 at 11.10.58hotel gun shooting scene, and this is a refreshing move forward for this film, it widens the field and its homages remind us of some great films that have come before it, and that Welcome to the Punch is paying a considerable tribute to them all.

Overall, this is a strong offering from Eran Creevy. Having major acting players like Mark Strong and James McAvoy involved does take this film up a notch, but Welcome to the Punch has managed to break a number of barriers in terms of British police based film making and visually looks as stunning as a multi-million dollar Hollywood film, but maintains the level of dark British undertones and humour which helps it to stand out from the crowd. It may not be perfect, but its enjoyable and very much worth a watch.

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