Welcome To The Punch (2013) Review

Well, somebody definitely got a blue lense filter for Christmas. “Welcome To The Punch” is an anticlimactic exercise in style over substance with slick visuals lacquered over the film in an attempt to disguise how thin the actual story is.

Retired criminal Jacob Sternwood returns to London after receiving a desperate phone call from his son after a heist goes wrong. His arrival provides a long-awaited opportunity for detective Max Lewinsky to finally bring Sternwood to justice, after being left with a gunshot wound to his leg the last time they met. However, as Sternwood tries to find out what his son had gotten involved in, and Lewinsky closes in, both men find themselves caught up in a much bigger scheme to alter the balance of power on the streets of the capital.

The camera work is over-engineered and too many shots try to be clever or striking rather than letting the story command proceedings, which may be a deliberate choice because character and story-wise, there’s really not much to get your teeth into here. The whole affair only manages to rise above your run-of-the-mill straight to DVD fare because of the two lead actors – James McAvoy as bitter, vengeful detective Lewinsky and current Hollywood MVP bad guy Mark Strong as the coolly impassive Sternwood.

The rest of the cast is very uneven and while Peter Mullan and Johnny Harris (“The Fades”) provide good value, the talents of David Morrissey and Andrea Risborough are wasted and Daniel Mays is woefully miscast.

Although the cat and mouse game between McAvoy and Strong is reasonably compelling, when the film decides to sideline this in favour of its overarching conspiracy of corrupt politicians and weapons dealers, the wheels come off. A credibility straining number of characters turn out to be ‘in on it’, each revelation less plausible than the last until you start to wonder if our protagonists were, in fact, the only people in London who weren’t involved.

Mark Strong and James McAvoy deserve better than this pseudo made-for-TV style crime caper, drenched in a blue-toned wash in to give it a cinematic veneer. All in all it adds up to a very rum Punch indeed and you’re welcome to it. I don’t want it.

4/10 

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1 Comment

  1. todayiwatchedamovie September 20, 2013

    Haha I’ll definitely have to borrow that first line sometime.

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