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"Blitz" Review

You expect certain things from a Jason Statham film: gruff, bald bloke beats the crap out of everyone; perhaps drives a car fast, too. With only a couple and rather notable exceptions - scenes that feel like someone felt obliged to have him clobber someone as fan service - the extremely British crime drama Blitz doesn't meet the minimum expectations. (BTW, I've tagged it foreign because it's really English. Perhaps not Attack the Block English, but definitely not geared for Yankee consumption; even more so than most Guy Ritchie movies.)

Statham stars as a cop who is a little too rough with the customers - though judging from the current riots in England, perhaps he's what the bobbies could use about now - in the rough Southeast section of London. When a psychopath calling himself "Blitz" starts murdering cops, he teams up with a new commanding officer, who isn't respected by the beat cops because he's gay, to track down the killer.

Blitz is a very oddly-paced movie, taking numerous side streets with subplots involving a lady cop who's fresh out of rehab, a young street thug she's trying to get out of crime, a squirrely informant who figures out who the killer is, a tabloid reporter who doesn't readily share what the killer is telling him with the po-po, and the original watch commander on leave because his wife as died. Instead of it all adding up to a rich tapestry, it feels like random plot arcs from a TV series spliced together badly.

The villain, Aiden Gillen, reminds me of a cross between Tom Waits and Michael Wincott channeling young John Hurt mimicing Gary Oldman's Sid Vicious. (I see he was Petyr Baelish, the Caesar-cut adviser on Game of Thrones whom Stupid Ned Stark didn't heed when he said not to trust him. Didn't recognize him here.) His reasoning for killing coppers is a little murky and the implication that Statham set him off somehow is sketchy. Statham is OK, but wasted in a narrow role.

If there's something to recommend Blitz it's the surprisingly arty cinematography and shot composition. It looks like a Wes Anderson film at times and the omission of all the usual London landmarks - Big Ben, the Millennium Bridge and Wheel, Parliament, that giant glass football building - makes the grit more visceral. Too bad the story wanders all over the place in between spots of the ultra-violence.

Score: 4/10. Skip it.


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