Film Review: Welcome To The Punch (2013)

Welcome To The Punch

I don’t know where to start – at best this is like a moderately entertaining episode of The Bill.

There’s almost nothing positive I can say about this film. I’d like to though, because it has a great cast and it’s a British film and both of those things deserve some kind of recognition. In fact I love the cast – James McAvoy and Mark Strong are two of my favourite British actors and it’s been fantastic to see them getting better roles and now be in the same film.

Aaargh, honestly this film had me slapping my face with every painful cliché and simply stupid plot move. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy lots of cop dramas and procedurals, especially the more implausible ones (NCIS, The Mentalist) – but they only succeed by either mocking the clichés and neatly subverting them or by being completely absurd (remember CSI Miami? You know how crime scene guys also arrest criminals and engage in sniper vendettas right?) This one was just crap.

The set up is predictable and weak – obsessed cop gets shot in the knee by the incredibly bad (and charismatic) villain and falls from grace, both professionally and personally. I was already yawning by the time we see him a few years later syringing fluid out of his knee. The bad guy’s kid gets in trouble and this is a great chance for a sting to draw out Mark Strong. Turns out we can send extraction squads to Iceland, with guns. They all die. Blah blah some people are bad, oh there’s a political subplot about gun crime and police carrying guns – yes, it’s exactly what you suspect from about 12 seconds in. A bunch more people get shot and there’s some jumping behind bars. Someone else gets killed. Look- it’s a film that assumes you’re an idiot and is too lazy to do anything well.

I can’t even bear to go into further detail. There’s a nice piece of work from Peter Mullan when he gets shot (and has the film’s sole clever use of cliché)  and Johnny Harris plays a fun sad-eyed killer: those are the good things.

What I learned from Welcome To The Punch: gun shot wounds are harmless unless you get shot in the knee or head, limping cops are better at combat than mercenaries and Eran Creevy shouldn’t be allowed to make films.

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