Director: Eran Creevy
Starring: James McAvoy, Mark Strong, Andrea Riseborough, David Morrissey, Peter Mullan.
Written by: Eran Creevy
Running Time: 99 mins
Release date: 15th March 2013
Britain aren’t known for action thrillers. We do costume dramas, whimsical romantic comedies and studies of urban life. If there’s a murder mystery, it’s usually in a sleepy village where a wise old detective will formulate all the clues to produce a suspect but action thrillers? No. Well, last year we did produce The Sweeney, an all-out action flick including a shoot-out at Trafalgar Square. Now we have Welcome To The Punch, another action film and if The Sweeney was the starter, this is definitely the main course; a stylish adrenaline rush with a cracking cast of the creme of British talent. Oh, and it’s good…really good.
Detective Max Lewinsky is a desperate man. He wants to put away criminal Jacob Sternwood so badly, he is willing to risk his life by going it alone to get his man. Tackling him single-handedly, Sternwood gets the better of him and shoot him in the leg, then escapes. Three years later and Lewinsky still bares the scars, both physically and mentally. When Sternwood’s son is shot, this could be the opportunity that Lewinsky has been waiting for, to get his man, while also working on the case. Sternwood has other plans and needs to find out exactly what his son was into. It could be the only way they both can get to the bottom of things if they work together.
The film has already been called the British version of Michael Mann’s Heat and it is easy to see why. Writer/director Eran Creevy, who made an impressive debut with the low budget drama, Shifty, certainly takes more than a few nods to the 1995 thriller in both style and story. Creevy has taken his London backdrop and given it a perspective that I have never seen before. Turning the streets of the City into something unique with use of lighting. We never once see a “Bobby on the beat” or the usual trappings that London shot films have (historical landmarks, The Clash singing London’s Calling). Instead he has transformed us into a blue-tinged city full of danger and wonderment.
He has also delivered some first class action sequences that the producers of A Good Day To Die Hard should pay attention to. Tense, exciting shoot-outs and moments when you think you are going down one route and end up down another. So the plot might not be the most original and the twists are way to signposted in advance but you still have to give Creevy credit for giving us an action film that even Hollywood would be proud of.
He’s not alone. He has surrounded himself with the creme of Britain’s acting fraternity. James McAvoy, who is slowly becoming the go-to guy when it comes to action (look out for him in Danny Boyle’s Trance soon) is terrific as the haunted cop desperate for revenge. He might not look like the most likely action man but he certainly can deliver. Mark Strong, whose career is going from, excuse the pun, strength to strength, gives another polished performance as Sternwood.
It’s also good seeing Andrea Riseborough letting her hair down and getting in on the action as Lewinsky’s partner, the tough Sarah. David Morrissey and Peter Mullan are also good value and they don’t disappoint here either. Just that line-up alone should entice you to the cinema.
It does have some moments when you can see the holes in the plot but it doesn’t matter. You are carried along by the look of the piece, which is stunning and the solid cast who genuinely believe in the story and the characters. So it might not have the high budget of Mann’s thriller or the might of Pacino and De Niro but what it has is energy and guts and a massive amount of personality. It’s not the greatest action film ever produced but compared to some that have been coming out of Hollywood recently, this is certainly on the right tracks and I cannot wait to see what Creevy produces next.