“ Genre: Crime & Thriller / Suitable for 18 years and over / Director: Elliott Lester / Actors: Jason Statham, Paddy Considine, Aiden Gillen ... / DVD released 2011-09-26 at Lions Gate Home Entertainment / Features of the DVD: PAL „
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Film Only Review:
Detective Sergeant Tom Brant (Jason Statham) is a a copper that does things his own way. A bit of a maverick he always seems to be in trouble with the law himself and tries to uphold it in the way he knows best which doesn't always mean following protocol. He's a big drinker that doesn't seem to need a lot of sleep, swears alot and from we gather is at one with the ladies.
However he does take his work seriously however unorthodox his practices might be so when there is a mad man police murderer on the lose playing cat and mouse with the force he's very much on the case and he's one of a team of people drafted in to solve the crimes!
Killings are happening one by one of several police officers, some of which Brant knows quite well and Brant is put on the case as I have just explained. Heading up the investigation is Sgt Porter Nash (Paddy Considine) who is transferred from a West London Branch as Acting Inspector and Brant teams up with him really a bit like Bonny & Clyde. At first it looks like an unlikely match with Sgt Nash seeming quite straight laced and wanted to do things by the book and Brant...well not wanting to but soon we see the two men bonding and although at first Sgt Nash seems rather upper class and a bit of a do gooder we soon realise that the two men could be similar than we thought......
Prime suspect for the killings of the police is Barry Weiss (Aidan Gillen) who the police believe through phone calls is playing cat and mouse with them and hot on his tales are not only the police but reporter Harold Dunlop (David Morrissey) who is also receiving calls from the murderer who seems to enjoy giving little clues but a police informant Radnor (Ned Dennehy) is also being nosey and doing a bit of investigating too cos he is desperate to make some money about what he knows whether it be from the police or from the papers and he knows Weiss.....
In the meantime Brant is hot on the tales of the killer but the killer is good at covering his tracks and quite good at disappearing quickly and police are dying now day by day........has Brant got the right man in his sights and if so can he bring him to justice and is there anything that Brant wont do to get justice for the people that died, especially when he works out that a good friend of his may be next to die..... and is Brant on the hitlist of Weiss himself and why????
Mainly filmed in London this is a typically British movie offering with a full cast of British actors in it. I am usually a Jason Statham fan however this one did nothing to me, well it didn't till the twist of an ending which I will admit that I really enjoyed!
Marketed as an action film I found this lacking though my goodness did it try!
Performance wise for me Aidan Gillan (of Queer as folk fame) stole the film completely and put in a really convincing role of a complete weirdo but then to be fair I am a huge fan of him and his work and I do think as an actor that he is rather superb. I didn't expect him though to outshine everyone else!
What you get is a lot of chasing about, running around and bad language. There are a few gory bits that made me wince in part cos it was rather graphic but more than anything I just felt a bit like I should have a bit of a kip really and watch the ending!
The problem with this film was that almost from the onset we know who the killer is, that isn't covered up at all so the film feels padded out really and it simply comes down to does the killer get caught or not and to be honest I didn't find myself caring because the victims we never got to know prior which I think would have been better to watch.
This for me was an easy to forget film, like I say I appreciated the ending which tied things up but that was the best bit and that of course it was also over!
It dragged out for 97 minutes, the music was easily forgettable and the action within it was minimal so not for me this one sadly! I do think it's right to be rated 10 cos of some of the scenes of violence in it and there is some drug taking going on.
This review is also posted on Ciao under this same username.
Yep, a bomb of a movie.
Star - Jason Statham
Genre - Drama
County - USA
Certificate - 18R
Run Time - 97 minutes
Blockbusters - £2.00 per week rental
Amazon - £.7.23 DVD (£.7.00 Blue Ray)
So 'Blitz', based on the little known book by the same name by Irish crime writer Ken Bruen, one of a series he has been scribbling and certainly a crime on film. The rough-cut crime thriller sees Jason Statham back on familiar East London turf doing what he does best, the pseudo Cockney (he was born in Derbyshire) busting heads and planting his tongue firmly in his cheek sending up the traditional 'geezer plod', implanting that corny American style cop thriller on London, which doesn't really work but worth a try so fair enough. I think Statham sees himself as a star in America now and his rare returns to the UK on film are just to keep his citizenship and tax affairs favorable on each side of the pond (more about that later), why he is hardly selective in his movie choices, as is the case here. I really don't think he cares how he is seen and that's kind of refreshing as he hides away in the B-Movie genre like a cash-in-hand plumber. I know he lives in a six story bespoke monstrosity of a house in Malibu on the cliff edge and so it pays well and sees himself more of a Hollywood boy than Guy Ritchie's mate but he is still a cool movie star all the same.
* Jason Statham as Tom Brant
* Paddy Considine as Porter Nash
* Aidan Gillen as Barry Weiss
* David Morrissey as Harold Dunlop
* Zawe Ashton as Elizabeth Falls
* Luke Evans as Craig Stokes
* Mark Rylance as Roberts
* Christina Cole as WPC
=== The Plot ===
Brandt (Jason Statham) does things his own way to get results, a rogue cop, but busting one too many villains' heads in the 'Smoke' and so suspended. But he will soon be back in action when a female beat cop is gunned down on a routine stop, and a threat for seven more to go down by a man named Blitz, made to a local newspaper hack Harold Dunlop (David Morrissey).
Brant: "A word of advice. If you're picking the wrong fight... at least pick the right weapon".
Brandt teams up with fellow misfit detective Nash (Paddy Considine), down from the Nottinghamshire force after a similar violent misdemeanor, openly gay and not what alpha male Brandt is used to, Nash from Venus, Brandt from Mars.
The plan is to shake down the local villains, freaks and nutters most likely to be killing cops or someone who would knows someone who could. This will have to involve more restrained police brutality and so not long before they get a name, Barry Weiss (Aiden Gillen), a visit to his flat all but confirming that name but not enough to nick him just yet.
Villain:" Are you going to take notes?"
Brant:' Do I look like a carry a notebook?"
Also in the mix is drug addict WPC Elizabeth Falls (Zawe Ashton), who seems to be connected somehow, her, network of informers a nefarious bunch. But when hack Dunlop agrees to pay Blitz fifty grand for his story the bits fall into place for Brant and Nash as the body count rises as two more cops go down, including Detective Roberts (Mark Rylance), Brant's boss.
Barry Weiss: "I want a lawyer and a sandwich. Oh, and I want to update my Facebook status".
There is something rather iffy about Blitz, and I'm not just talking about it being yet another naff tongue-in-cheek Statham thriller. It's almost as if all concerned were in on a joke and only here to play that joke out. It would not surprise if the ruse was 'tax avoidance' related and the plan was for the film to tank badly and be in the 'deductions' column for all concerned annual offering to the exchequer. Under a policy set up by Gordon Brown when he was Chancellor, investors could slash their tax bills if they backed the film industry. Around £2billion a year was subsequently invested in film funding schemes, a five fold increase for this type of mid budget DVD film. Professional Cockney Ray Winston, who, surprisingly, isn't in this film, was mouthing off the other day about actors having to pay too much tax when they are hardly ever here, only for The Sun newspaper to reveal he was doing a Jimmy Carr and claiming against 'admin' cost to reduce his tax bill drastically. I have absolutely no evidence of that being the case for Blitz but it left me scratching my head why such a talented and cool cast, including one of the finest stage actors ever in Mark Rylance, would get involved in such an obvious flop. Stranger still is this is written by Nathan Parker, who scripted 'Moon' with Duncan Jones, a really clever film packed with smart dialogue and ideas, which Blitz certainly isn't. The director Elliot Lester had only managed a Jessica Simpson music video and one previous movie back in 2006 and, cementing my suspicions.
As far as the movie goes it's basically Jason Statham applying the oh so familiar violent American B-Movie cop formula to his manor, but Blitz lacking any conviction and much inferior to the police procedurals you can see any night on British television. Its just doesn't work on any level and even Statham fans will be miffed by this, further irritated by the thumping tecno soundtrack making that movie headache worse.
The Stath keeps his shirt on throughout and there is none of those signature Statham fight scenes or suitable Euro trash super villain to go up against. Our serial killer is a bit of a plonker if the truth be told so it's not about intrigue here. Yes the dialogue has the odd funny line and Statham mocks the genre but the whole thing is hurried and almost as if the cast all have their luggage packed ready to go if the taxman did show up. It's just hard to recommend this and perhaps better to go see our coolest action hero in 'Parker' at the cinema instead if you need your Statham fix, which I know many ladies do. In fact Safe is the better rental option in Blockbusters right now. Sad to say it but every movie he does is rapidly turning our Jason into Steven Segal, although, thankfully, as yet, no pony tail.
Imdb.com - 6.1/10.0 (37,987 votes)
Metacritc.com - 45% critic's approval rating
Rottentomatos.com -46% critic's approval rating
Time Out - 'It's hard to know how seriously anyone besides Statham is taking this - but that only adds to its absurd, cock-eyed charm'.
Guardian -'Who knows, we might be looking at the evolution of the guilty-pleasure movie - padded out with top-drawer talent to spare audience blushes'.
Liverpool Echo -'The denouement strains credibility, relying on a character showing restraint when they've merrily pulled the trigger for the rest of the film
The Star -'It's all been seen before and will be seen again and again...'
Birmingham Post -'the plot is stretched like an under-sized string vest over a bulging six pack
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
London. City of hard crime, hard drugs, and hard cops. Cops like Detective Sergeant Tom Brant (Jason Statham) who quite frankly would make Gene Hunt (*) look like a Sesame Street character: rules are for wimps, criminals are for target practice. Hey - if it gets results, it's the way to go, right? Not as far as the press are concerned, and negative publicity is indeed a concern for his bosses. Still... while Brant is old school, he's also got his heart in the right place, near enough - he puts the bad in the bad cop/good cop, but he's not a Bad cop. A reasonable hero, at any rate. And when the villain is a cop-killing psychopath taunting press and police both, then - well, really, you kind of know where this is all going, right?
And then, well, generally, there's a whole subgenre of films formed by those starring Jason Statham: movies like The Transporter (1-3), Crank (1-2) and The Mechanic all share a certain... well, I'd say je ne sais quoi, but quite frankly you 'quoi' perfectly well going in what to expect: explosions, lots of action and an enjoyable (in my opinion) degree of total daftness. And hey - nothing wrong with that at all, as you either grab the popcorn and turn your brain off on the way in or give the whole thing the widest body swerve possible, depending on your personal tastes.
So: plot you've seen a hundred times before - check. And a lead actor whose presence tells you exactly what kind of movie it's going to be. Saturday popcorn, here we come - right??
Actually, Blitz should come with a warning: this movie may have a well-worn plot, but it does not follow said 'Stath' template. Oh, there's action and bullets - but none of the daft, tongue-in cheek tone: which turns the bullets and blood and whatnot into something other than cartoonishly enjoyable. This doesn't make it a bad film at all, but I found it rather uncomfortably grim, given expectations. And indeed, if those same expectations would have driven you away from anything staring The Stath, there's actually a chance you'd enjoy this one a bit more. Maybe.
For me, Blitz was just a rather odd beast. The opening scenes work well enough, if lulling you into thinking we're sticking with that formula mentioned above. However, after that the whole thing suddenly seems to throw you in a bit at the deep end - I rather felt like I was watching an episode from a TV series I'd never seen before. Indeed, I think the plot line here would have possibly worked better as a storyline in a TV series, perhaps with a well-known lead character.
That feeling isn't helped by the introduction of several other characters with long-standing relationships with our lead and/or each other. Now, it's not that I want or need things explained to me in obvious detail, but it just felt like I'd missed a small piece of the puzzle picture as I watched certain characters interacting. Again, I'm not sure if this is just because my expectations going in were rather off kilter. There's certainly nothing going on that I didn't pick up on soon enough, but still that feeling of coming in halfway through... something.
Similarly with our villain. We see right from the beginning that it's Aiden Gillen, but his sudden homicidal spree feels rather unmotivated other than providing the film with the plot. As the movie progresses we are, I think, supposed to find out if there are reasons behind his homicidal spree - but note the 'I think'! Thankfully Paddy Considine is on hand giving a sterling performance, but it's almost too quiet compared to the other two leads.
For the ending I'm not really going to tell you about (!) there is a better gathering up of the looser ends than I might have expected, which does provide some satisfaction. But - remember that tongue-in-cheek Stath humour I mentioned way back at the beginning? There are two instances it shows up in this movie: right at the start, giving the viewer something of a wrong steer, and right at the end - where it feels woefully out of place.
The tone of Blitz is dark and very violent. The violence is the wince-making kind, portrayed with a sense of reality that made me uncomfortable - sure, I love cartoon-like action movies, but I don't particularly enjoy realistic violence. That said, it does make this movie what it is, and expectations aside it is largely appropriate for the story and the tone of it. There are a few moments when I felt it went a bit over the top, but looking back I don't think the audience sees as much as is implied. However, adding in that moment of jocularity right at the end just felt like really bad taste to me; a rather misjudged wink at Mr Statham's usual audience.
Overall, then, while remaining watchable Blitz just didn't really work for me. Jason Statham manages okay, but his usual OTT persona felt wrong for the tale told here, and my expectations of seeing that character jarred. The story was well-worn rather than outright clichéd, but I can't shake that feeling that this was written for some well-known TV show that turned the plot line down for being too dark and violent.
*Running time: 97 minutes
*Rating: 18 all the way!
*Theatrical release: 29th May 2011
*DVD release: 26th September 2011
*Gene Hunt was the 1970s, tough, totally un-PC, lead copper in TV series Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes