here’s another review of a movie with one word title. though i’m kind of breaking the theme here since it’s not a movie based on a video game. it’s the latest jason statham movie that was released in the u.k. and some other countries but went direct to dvd and netflix instant in the u.s. though it’s called blitz, the movie has nothing to do with nazi bombings or nfl football games. having seen the movie, i’m even more confused as to how blitz is relegated to dtv material while in the name of the king: a dungeon siege tale is considered releasable in theatres.
most of the plot summaries for blitz are more or less accurate (even the usually inaccurate netflix). statham plays detective brant, who’s on the verge of being kicked off the force for being too on the edge. his latest case involves a killer who seems to be targeting police officers. most people describe it as kind of a action movie/se7en mash up.
the opening scenes does kind of reminds me of mel gibson in the lethal weapon movies and bruce in die hard 3 or the last boy scout. though he’s a cop on the edge and doesn’t play by the rules, they didn’t really give him a tragic backstory or family relations like mel or bruce had. though there is a scene where he has to ask someone to use a computer for him, so he’s also an analog hero in a digital world.
it’s also not what most people would expect from a jason statham movie. not that it doesn’t contain the usual statham attitude and archetype or action scenes but director elliott lester doesn’t seem to intend to make straight up action movie. blitz works more as an ensemble cop movie in the veins of copland. it’s nice to see an ensemble british movie with great actors that doesn’t involve shakespeare, kenneth branagh, magic, or kids. in fact, the most memorable and suspenseful sequences in the movie belongs to the killer.
the se7en comparison is also misinformed. blitz is more in the tradition of the 70s and 80s gritty police procedurals than the doom and gloom world of david fincher. also unlike se7en and most serial killer movies, we see who the killer is in the first act with the characters following shortly thereafter. so it’s not exactly a whodunit. it’s going for a more realistic route. i would say it’s more of a mix of copland and 15 minutes than lethal weapon and se7en. or maybe brooklyn’s finest. i’ll let you know when i get around to that one. there’s also a bit of dirty harry vigilantism thrown in.
though we’ve more or less seen most of the elements in the movie in other movies before, blitz manages to twist and turn those standards just enough to make itself interesting. they didn’t really try to explain why statham’s character is the way he is in the movie. at first it seems like it’s going to be an odd couple type buddy action movie but his supposed partner is actually his boss, played by paddy considine (the bourne ultimatum, hot fuzz), who is gay. there’s a delightful little twist in the scene where considine is telling his backstory and the camera is focused on him and then we are shown that statham fell asleep during his story.
they have just enough little touches like that to keep the movie unique. when the killer calls a tabloid journalist, we see the journalist’s computer screen filled with porn. when they have the killer in custody, he said that he wants a lawyer, a sandwich, and change his facebook status.
the performances are all around terrific. statham though more or less plays his usual personality, he fits rather well in this mostly dramatic role. fortunate for him that blitz ends up a better movie than other serious action-star-in-a-cop-drama movies like striking distance, copland, or end of days. he gets most of the one liners and zingers in the movie. my favorite is when he learns of a victim’s description of the killer as “big and white,” he said “big and white? so it’s not the guy from diff’rent strokes.”
considine thankfully doesn’t play the gay character up. zawe ashton plays a cop who was undercovered. special mention goes to aidan gillen (shanghai knights, 12 rounds, tv’s the wire, tv’s game of thrones) as the killer. he’s got the showy role that reminds me of gary oldman as sid vicious and edward norton in rounders. they even give him a curb/teeth kicking scene a la american history x. and i’m not sure if it’s intentional, but with character names like stokes and porter nash, it’s hard for me to not think about c.s.i., reservoir dogs, and payback.
though overall enjoyable, blitz at times seem slow even at 97 minutes. i wasn’t really surprised that it was actually based on a novel (by irish crime novelist ken bruen, whose london boulevard is coming up, starring keira knightley and colin farrell). there’s almost too much plot and a few subplot feels like they were trimmed down. thanks to the imdb message board, i also found out that they changed the ending. i don’t know if it was because statham was casted but the original ending would have fixed one of the dangling and seemingly unnecessary subplot. i also wish they had paid a bit more attention to the cop killer plot details. there are quite a bit of illogical and unbelievable plot points that doesn’t quite ruin the movie but kind of annoys you a bit when the movie’s over.
one thing i hate though, is the loud and distracting music. there’s barely a scene in the movie without music in the background. though they didn’t use any of the post-action editing and zooming and all that guy ritchie bullshit, the music pounds with every hit in every action scene, or when someone get out of a car, or when someone walks to a car, sometimes there are two people walking down the street, two people getting into a car. though the techno-ish soundtrack fits well in a few party scenes, most of the time it works against the gritty, realistic crime drama that the movie tries to be.
i don’t know if pure action fans would like it as much as the usual statham actionfest but i would recommend it for people who like statham as an actor. people who see him as simply muscle man will get a nice surprise.