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Welcome To The Punch - DVD Review

Welcome To The Punch

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

HAVING impressed with his gritty, socio-realistic film debut Shifty, Eran Creevy now looks to prove you can replicate American and Hong Kong-style action movies in London with Welcome To The Punch.

The resulting film impresses on a technical level but let’s itself down in terms of script, which fails to make the most of a genuinely impressive cast.

The plot follows a gutsy cop named Max Lewinsky (James McAvoy) as he obsessively attempts to hunt down a career criminal named Jacob Sternwood (Mark Strong), who shot him in the leg before fleeing the country following their first encounter.

When Sternwood returns to the UK to investigate the shooting of his son, Max soon picks up his trail and both men find themselves becoming involved in a much bigger conspiracy involving corrupt cops, shady politicians and a disgraced ex-soldier turned arms dealer (Johnny Harris).

To be fair, Creevy’s movie has plenty to keep you occupied in spite of the flaws in its script and plotting (which lacks the sophistication or intelligence of a Michael Mann piece).

The cast is great with McAvoy and Strong two worthy adversaries, Harris a typically chilling psychopath and the likes of Daniel Mays, David Morrissey and Peter Mullan shining in limited roles.

The action, too, is thrilling and high in intensity, capably paying homage to the filmmaking styles that Creevy freely admits influenced him, including the work of executive producer Ridley Scott, his late brother Tony and Hong Kong action cinema.

He also manages to make London look extremely sexy and has deliberately chosen to shoot a lot of the action at night to heighten this effect (another nod to film’s like Mann’s Collateral).

It’s just unfortunate that some of the film’s shortcomings prevent it from making the leap to British classic.

As mentioned, the plotting is sometimes routine and predictable while the dialogue is often weak. It’s not as clever as it thinks it is. Certain characters also get too little to do, with Andrea Riseborough particularly poorly rewarded in a thankless role.

Creevy, though, does emerge with reputation enhanced while the film as a whole does entertain. Hence, while not quite managing to land a knockout blow for British action cinema, Welcome To The Punch does still manage to deliver some impressive hits.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 115mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: July 29, 2013