|Killer cops wear...cardigans?|
|...and then you realize that THIS is the villain, and you sigh|
Blitz, based on Irish crime author Ken Bruen's book of the same name, opens with Detective Sergeant Tom Brant (Jason Statham) showing just what a bad-ass he is. Three random dudes are breaking into cars as Brant was walking home with his hurley stick, presumably because he had been hurling (as in the sport) earlier. Or possibly playing midget hockey. What's an off-duty officer of the law to do in this circumstance? If you answered "beat the living hell out of the nogoodnicks," then you would wind up
|The Stath: too tough for uniforms, umbrellas, and rain|
|They don't even have hair in common! What a comic mismatch!|
As the plot synopsis might suggest, Blitz isn't anything special in the plot department. Since the writer and the cast are from the UK, you'll hear "piss" and "mickey" more than usual, but the dialogue isn't going to wow you, either. This is a movie for people who want to see Jason Statham kick some ass in a plausible story (in other words, it's not Crank 3). It covers most of the bases you might expect from a movie about a tough cop, and it covers them adequately. Police giving each other grief? Yes. A tough guy that isn't up to date on those new-fangled contraptions, computers? Cliche, but present. Cops overcoming their differences to take on a common threat? Obviously. Police willing to ignore red tape/blatantly break the law to better suit justice? Definitely. And don't forget that oh-so-Statham constant, running without a shirt.
|Shockingly, Statham stays pretty clothed|
The cast of Blitz is mostly adequate. The Stath does his thing. He's tough, he's cool, and he's likable. What do you expect? This entire film is a showcase for him being cooler and tougher than everybody else in the movie! Paddy Considine is pleasant enough and is a bit more believable as a smart cop than Statham. Still, he's capable of a hell of a lot more than this. Their chemistry is fine, but nothing memorable. I found Aidan Gillen to be somewhat annoying as the villain, and his character's shtick has been done many times before by better actors. Zawe Ashton provides an unnecessary subplot as a former undercover cop who picked up a naughty drug habit.
|...and limited acting range|
The uninspired acting would have been fine if this film was wound a little tighter by the director, Elliott Lester. At its core, Blitz is about a bad guy killing cops. Unfortunately, we are given a couple of detours within the story that don't pay off according to the amount of time invested in them. Personally, I don't give a rat's ass about supporting characters who are new to the department or stealing drugs from criminals or are grieving, unless it directly impacts the main story. Lester spends way too much time on these supplementary bits, and only the grief bit adds anything to The Stath's character. The camerawork and editing are all pretty standard issue, so if Lester was going to differentiate Blitz from any other movie about a cop on the edge, you would think he would do it in the subplots. He does not. At the very least, Lester could have trimmed the movie down and made it feel as fast-paced as the title implies. Again, unfortunately, he does not.
My biggest problem with Blitz is how groundbreaking it isn't. The characters are surprisingly shallow, considering that the source of the story was a novel. The Stath does his best, but I've seen tough guy cop characters before; I immediately knew that the film was going to point out a) he doesn't get touchy-feely b) he doesn't like computers c) he will respect colleagues for their work and not their lives. Sgt. Nash is homosexual, and he takes a lot of crap for it, despite being a superior officer; that might have flown in the 90s, but it just seemed outdated and unlikely today. That's not because people are more enlightened now (sadly), but due to the power of seniority within the police force and the existence of anti-discrimination laws within the workplace. Maybe there's more homophobia amongst British police than I assume, or maybe it was just a poorly scripted subplot.
Oh, and there's the slight problem that you've probably seen this movie before. Blitz takes a shocking amount of its plot from Dirty Harry, and it doesn't even give us a wink or a nudge. Well, Blitz wishes it was a Clint Eastwood movie; it's a lot closer in style to Cobra. Now, I happen to like Dirty Harry and Cobra, but Blitz is just a poor copy. It's not that this is a bad or inept movie, so much as it is over-familiar. If you like Jason Statham, it's decent enough. If not, just dig up a movie with Callahan in it and you'll be better off.