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Welcome to the Punch
Genre Thriller
 
Review:

Welcome to the Punch for lack of a better joke, lacks punch. While it's slick and spectacular as a Michael Mann style crime thriller in the vein of Miami Vice, the story is overly complicated, the cast deliver Wednesday performances for thinly scripted characters and it's just not distinct enough to separate itself from a growing glut of middling crime thrillers.

It's good guy versus bad guy, as a young detective (McAvoy) tries to settle an old debt by bringing down an international thief (Strong) when he returns to London after a heist involving his son goes wrong.

James McAvoy (Trance) has starred in a number of solid films to date and his best is yet to come. Welcome to the Punch is not it and he's about as good as that puzzle piece you force into place. It's not to say he's not watchable and likable, it's just not a good match... no matter how inexperienced his cop character.

He shares the screen with Andrea Riseborough (Shadow Dancer), whose unassuming beauty and presence add more than a complex love interest. Riseborough could have done with more screen time, but this one's more about tough guys with guns than copper girls. Mark Strong (Sherlock Holmes) is making a name for himself as a movie bad guy and continues this trajectory with a complicated villain, whose mission becomes less apparent with each scene.

Writer-director Eran Creevy has concocted a film that looks the part, representing a sleek London with a plot that mimics the new Sherlock Holmes TV series for its character make-up. Instead of a young Holmes we have Lewinsky, whose partner is not Watson but Hawks with Sternwood replacing Moriarty as his nemesis. He's even borrowed the political undertones of the new series with a politicial backdrop.

The film pales in comparison. Not only are the characters less charming and more two-dimensional, but the plot has thickened in terms of intellect and lacks the intensity you'd expect from a dark Brit crime thriller. While visually stimulating and atmospheric, the overall effect is underwhelming and easily forgettable. It's mildly entertaining and only going to register if you're in it for the shoot outs and car chases.

The bottom line: Insubstantial

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7.50/10 ( 2 Votes )
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