Strong Style, Familiar Substance
Detective Max Lewinsky (James McAvoy) has always been obsessed with catching Jacob Sternwood (Mark Strong) especially as it was Sternwood who shot him when he got close to catching him following a robbery. And it seems that Max is going to get another chance as Sternwood having retired is returning to London from his safe haven in Iceland after his son Ruan (Elyes Gabel) has got himself involved in a heist gone wrong. But whilst Max would love nothing more than to catch Sternwood and make him pay for screwing up his leg the two are going to have to work together when they discover that things are much more complex than they both first thought.
Earlier today I watched the Sylvester Stallone movie "Bullet to the Head" where we have a criminal and a cop ending up becoming unlikely allies, although I say unlikely knowing full well it is a cliche. And as such I find myself watching "Welcome to the Punch" which lo and behold features another cop and criminal having to become unlikely allies. That of course is not the only cliche which is in "Welcome to the Punch" as on top of that we have the ladder of issues leading to police corruption no less which I am sure is used in every single cop movie which is a thriller.
Now of course there are some details which gives "Welcome to the Punch" its own identity but part of it becomes about the style and the actors. Style wise it goes for snappy with semi bleak colour scheme which seems to make people's eyes bluer than ever. But unfortunately when it comes to the action it has the lack of control that a group of school kids have when you shout "bundle". In fact it also has the dialogue and accents which reminded me of kids playing it tough in the playground as they acted out what they watched the night before or don't kids do that anymore.
That leads me to the acting and there is no denying that "Welcome to the Punch" has a decent cast although I am still kind of bemused how James McAvoy has found himself playing an action hero. Anyway just by having the likes of Mark Strong, Peter Mullan and David Morrissey in the cast "Welcome to the Punch" is sort of guaranteed decent performances even in the cases where the characters end up ordinary and unnecessary which sadly happens to Andrea Riseborough.
What this all boils down to is that "Welcome to the Punch" ends up an effective but far from remarkable British action movie. It has some good parts, some tedious parts and plenty of generic parts but no parts which are remarkable enough to make you want to watch it again.