Film review: Welcome to the Punch (15)
WELCOME TO THE PUNCH (15)
FOR more than a decade, Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels has spawned an array of home-grown crime thrillers awash with dodgy geezers, graphic violence and Cock-er-ney rhyming slang.
If the recent big screen version of The Sweeney and now Eran Creevy's heavily stylised Welcome To The Punch are any indication, the wheeling and dealing is moving into Docklands.
The swish riverside apartments of Canary Wharf, which served as a backdrop to Regan and Carter's investigation last year, provide a stunning setting for this high-stakes game of cat and mouse involving a tenacious police officer and an elusive criminal.
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The script arms the characters with snappy one-liners that have become a staple of the genre – "The decision's bad"; "And so's your attitude!" – but he settles most arguments with a fist- or gunfight. Preferably both.
Max Lewinsky (James McAvoy) is an inexperienced yet ambitious detective, who attempts to single-handedly take down notorious criminal Jacob Sternwood (Mark Strong).
Welcome To The Punch is an engrossing if somewhat underpowered thriller, hung on a serpentine plot that cocks a snook at the political establishment.
"I'm paid to catch crooks, not get them elected," growls Max, voicing his disapproval for the men in expensive suits.
McAvoy and Strong are both solid in highly physical roles, allowing the tears to flow in quieter moments tinged with tragedy and heartache.
Harry Escott's score creates a brisk tempo for the action, including the opening heist and a nightclub shoot-out that trades heavily on slow-motion to relish the sight of actors sliding and somersaulting through hails of bullets.