After sustaining a horrendous leg injury while working and failing to bring down top heist man, Jacob Sternwood, Detective Max Lewinsky finds that he has a second chance three years later when Sternwood’s son is arrested. While investigating the circumstances of his son’s arrest, Sternwood and the detective on his tail both find that the case goes much further than either could have expected.
When we British decide to put a reasonable amount of money into a production you can pretty much bet on it being a period based drama or a cops and robbers thriller, a smattering of each coming out most years, usually to risible success.
This year in British cinemas we were dished out two crime thrillers over successive weeks and both starring James McAvoy, the second overshadowing the first by some degree owing to the fact that it was a Danny Boyle film. While it must be said that Trance, Boyle’s outing, was a superior film (read the review), the former, Welcome to the Punch, has much to recommend it.
First of all, it’s the better looking of the two films. Not since Layer Cake has a director striven to drag London out of the grim and show it as an altogether more cinematic aspect.
Second time director, Eran Creevy, has turned London into a shinny utopia of glass and metal in beautifully framed shots that save a plot that, while entertaining, is no more trailblazing than the average procedural TV drama, twist and turns and all.
This is also true of the action; where many British TV productions are happy to let grander twists be the pivot of the suspense, Welcome to the Punch provides these along with some cracking chase scenes (vehicular and otherwise) and gun battles, making it, as is often NOT the case, worthy of being a theatrical release.
Accompanying McAvoy is the always-reliable Mark Strong, who provides a counterpoint of gravitas as the villain that puts some of the weaker actors in the production to shame, chief amongst which are Andrea Riseborough (Oblivion) who seems wholly miscast as McAvoy’s partner and David Morrissey (who you may know as The Governor from The Walking Dead) who generally isn’t that good.
It’s a fun, solid, great looking and action heavy crime drama that feels very British but is hampered with a so-so plot and a few bad performances, otherwise it’s definitely worth a look.
C grade – for story
B+ grade – for visuals
B- grade – for acting
B grade – for action
Overall grade – B-
Welcome to the Punch will be available on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK and US from July 23rd. Watch the trailer.