Jason Statham is an actor who gets a lot of love around these parts, and quite rightly so. Since his debut in Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels, he’s carved out a reputation as one of cinema’s leading hard men, through a series of great film choices and an incredible work ethic.
Blitz is one of several films featuring the Stath in UK cinemas this year, and finds the great man playing maverick police sergeant Tom Brant. But how does it fare?
Statham’s Brant is a one-man justice machine, dishing out what he determines to be appropriate punishments for crimes committed. This would be all well and good if, say, his superiors and the press shared his vision, but sadly, that’s not the case. Brant’s reputation as a maverick lawman means he attracts a considerable amount of attention, and the slightest incident of beating people with sticks makes the front pages of the tabloids (specifically the Sun).
When Barry Weiss (Aidan Gillen) starts calling himself Blitz, and decides to start killing police officers, the rough-around-the-edges wildcard Brant is teamed up with the straight-laced Sergeant Porter Nash (Paddy Considine) to track down the killer.
First off, Blitz is a hell of a lot of fun, and it’s a film that treads a fine line between amazing and ridiculously clichéd, without ever toppling over fully into either. In fairness, it’s a film that’s carried by its three leads, but when they’re as good as Statham, Considine and Gillen, this is hardly surprising.
Gillen is the obvious stand out here, as he has by far the best part; a captivating screen villain with a crazy wardrobe to match, he becomes ever more intriguing as the film progresses. Gillen may not seem the ideal choice for a villain in a film such as this – in terms of physical stature, he’s little match for Statham’s Brant, but given that he’s not constricted by procedure and protocol, and is capable of killing cops without remorse, he’s more than a worthy foe.
Statham does what you’d expect him to do in this sort of film: he grunts, drinks, punches and kicks at it, before hitting it with crowbar for good measure. This may be Statham by numbers, but it’s still a hell of a lot better than other recent action films.
Despite enjoying Blitz as much as I did, I did have a few problems with it. The pacing can be a little all over the place, and the credits sequence, with its up-tempo music, gives the impression that you’re about to watch a UK-based Crank, but that’s not the case. The film settles into a fairly standard police procedural plot, that aside from the key stars, is populated with characters that aren’t all that interesting.
It’s when the film chooses to focus on these characters that it loses its way a bit, such as when we spend time with a colleague Sgt Brant’s, WPC Elizabeth Falls (Zawe Ashton). This aspect may have fared better in the source novel, but on screen, it effectively applies the brakes.
It’s frustrating that this aspect of the story is given more attention than the relationship between Brant and Porter Nash, although I suppose the odd couple police partnership may have been done to death, which could have been a contributing factor to it being played down here. I also feel the failure to include Body Count’s Cop Killer lets the film down.
Blitz, then, has its flaws, but the way it flaunts rather than hides its clichés is quite admirable. It’s not original, and not particularly clever, but there’s still plenty of good stuff here for Stath fans to enjoy.
Other than a considerable amount of trailers (most of which featured 50 Cent), there were no extras of note on the DVD.
You can rent or buy Blitz at Blockbuster.co.uk.