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Born Bad (film only)
Member Name: calypte
Date: 15/06/11, updated on 15/06/11 (96 review reads)
Advantages: a bit more realistic than Jason Statham's usual movies
Disadvantages: grim, violent and didn't quite gel
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
Summary: Made-for-TV plot line gets a big screen cast