Tom Brant (Jason Statham) is a Detective Sergeant with the London police force, but he is finding his position in his department somewhat difficult to hang onto when he insists on getting up to such antics as beating up a gang of three youths he noticed outside his flat trying to break into a car. When the tabloid press get wind of this, they put him on the front page as an example of the thugs running wild in the police, but Brant's methods will prove all too useful when a serial killer begins to target cops...
Blitz is what the killer calls himself, the name of the film and the name of the novel Irish hardboiled thriller writer Ken Bruen penned that the whole caboodle was based upon. His work had been much acclaimed by aficionados of the tough crime paperbacks that were so popular, but this adaptation was rather less well received, especially among Bruen's fans who grumbled at the changes screenwriter Nathan Parker had made in translation from page to screen. Not least the ending, which was farcical in the extreme, although some would say that was all too apt in light of the rest of the movie.
There were strong hints that this was indeed supposed to be at least partly funny, rather than unintentionally ridiculous, but with Statham playing it so over the top mean and tough he did begin to resemble a parody of not only himself, but the type of cop suspenser that director Elliott Lester was aiming towards. If anything, Blitz looked to be emulating the American model for such things, and rather than appearing quintessentially English in its tactics, it was trying desperately to be taken seriously by Statham's international fans who preferred to see him in traditional action flicks where he had marked out some dependable territory.
But this was not much of an action movie really, it was more of a thriller that eschewed the chases, fistfights and gun battles for a more character-based plot. Look at the inspector, Porter Nash, played by Paddy Considine, a more unusual example in the genre in that he is openly gay, and has suffered depressing prejudice for that in his chosen profession. This is the cue for some "he's as much of a man as any of you" themes, which is fair enough except that he is part of the wrapping up of the film that in the final scene is so absurd that it would be impossible for he and Brant to get away with it, the most obvious plot hole.
In the meantime, if you were in the mood for a thriller that wasn't quite as smart and relevant as it thought it was, or wanted to be at any rate, this did offer some amusement with Statham in particular bringing out some welcome laughs with his hardman lines. Aiden Gillen as the title murderer was more of a movie concotion, however they tried to make him convincing, and he not only gets away with murder in the trappings of the storyline but in the way it plays around with the whole "cops hands are tied by the law" clichés as well. That said, Blitz was not a dead loss, and if you tackled it with a sense of humour then you might have had a decent time with it, if only the space given over to a WPC (Zawe Ashton) sinking into a private hell had been more slick in its mixing with the rest of this - another example of the tricky proposition of adapting a novel for the screen and being fatally uncertain of what to drop and what to change. Don't go in with hopes too high and you'll be fine with this, basically. Music by Ilan Eshkeri.
You hit the nail on the head regarding my own feelings towards Jason Statham. He strains so hard to be our era's definitive gravel-voiced tough guy, he comes across more like a walking, talking parody of an action hero than the genuine article. Mind you, growing up I felt the same about Arnold Schwarzenegger and look what happened to him.
5 Oct 2011
A political Jase, eh? Coming soon: Jason Statham IS Secretary of Statham for Offence!