Film Review – Welcome to the Punch (2013)

Welcome to the Punch

Title – Welcome to the Punch (2013)

Director – Eran Creevy (Shifty)

Cast – James McAvoy, Mark Strong, Andrea Riseborough, Johnny Harris, Peter Mullan, David Morrissey

Plot – Detective Max Lewinsky (McAvoy) wounded in his last attempt years previous to capture criminal Jacob Sternwood (Strong) finds himself with a fresh opportunity to get revenge when Jacob makes his way back to London.

“I’ll tell you why I’m a good soldier, because of selfless commitment”

Review by Eddie on 14/11/2013

Welcome to the Punch is certainly a blue gloomy affair, a movie where there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of smiles or laughter in between the facial grimaces or angry looking people. What Welcome to the Punch also is however is one of the more original and unconventional action movies in recent memory and a fairly decent attempt at London’s version of Michael Mann’s classic action caper Heat.

Starting off proceedings in a pretty generic type of way we quickly realise that James McAvoy’s young and determined cop Max Lewinsky will stop at nothing to capture criminal mastermind Jacob Sternwood played by Mark Strong who again delivers a great bad guy but seriously can someone give this guy a role where he is not a hitman/crime boss/bank robber/cop? After an attempt to capture Jacob goes very wrong for Max it sets up the impending story where there will be double crosses, deaths, facial grimaces and more twists than you can poke a giant knee syringe at. The frenetic story line while not making a whole lot of logical sense keeps the film pumping at a grand rate and Creevy’s direction only helps with the feeling of originality.

Making great use of London and it’s city scape during mainly the night (again a clear homage to Heat) Creevy shows quite a flair with filming of his scenes, one in particular in an old lady’s apartments is one of the better singular scenes filmed this year. Creevy’s direction of action driven scenes also showcases that he is a talent to watch and one can only hope despite the films poor box office performance he is given chance again to direct such material as presented here.

With so many formulaic and generic action films flooding the marketplace over recent years it was a refreshing experience to sit back and enjoy Welcome to the Punch, a film that could teach it’s USA cousins a thing or two in the action/crime stakes. There are many issues with the film, mainly that of McAvoy’s central performance (one has never committed so many facial grimaces to screen) but there is enough good will from the other aspects of the film including some great supporting turns by the ever good Peter Mullans and This is England 86 scene stealer Johnny Harris as ex-soldier Dean Warns that Welcome to the Punch should provide all the goods needed for fans of fast and well-made action movies.

3 and a half “Was that Jason Flemyng?” out of 5

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11 responses to “Film Review – Welcome to the Punch (2013)

  1. Well put! Despite its flaws and plot holes I found it to be very enjoyably and extremely well put together. Without doubt one of the year’s shiniest films! I agree that on the potential here hopefully Creevy will get a bigger budget next time as he seems to have an eye for visual flair. Maybe Mark strong will one day do a light hearted rom-com, but he does do intense so well!

  2. Nice review, guys. I loved Strong as the baddie in Kick-Ass, but yeah, somebody needs to give him a role as a gentle baker who nurses stray cats; all this tough guy stuff can get old. I like the references to Heat you made; you guys know your stuff.

  3. Andrea Riseborough: James, I’ve been sent this script for a film called Welcome to the Punch but I’m not sure why they want me for the part.

    James McAvoy: I’m playing the lead, I think they want to fill the cast with all the best British actors who weren’t in the Harry Potter films. Are you going to do it?

    Andrea: I don’t think so, it isn’t the kind of stuff I normally go for. I like to perform in serious films with a political message like Shadow Dancer or Made in Dagenham. This seems so derivative.

    James: Oh yes, me too. I was in Atonement.

    Andrea: Yes and you were great in that but you were also in Wanted and Gnomeo & Juliet.

    James: Cough… W.E… Cough!

    Andrea: Pardon?

    James: Nothing.

    Andrea: Who else is in it?

    James: David Morrissey is doing it, and Jason Fleming although he has upset the director so I think his part is going to get cut down so it is little more than a cameo. Mark Strong is playing the bad guy and he is brilliant.

    Andrea: He is brilliant but he isn’t exactly very selective with the films he does though is he?

    James: Cough… W.E… Cough!

    Andrea: What is that? Are you okay? Do you need a glass of water?

    James: No, I’m fine. Thank you.

    Andrea: I mean, have you read the script James? It is so predictable. That thing with my character and her unrealistic habit of writing notes on her hand, you know where that is going right from the beginning.

    James: But it is a serious film about a driven cop on a mission to bring down the great criminal who has eluded him for years. It’ll be like Michael Mann’s Heat only set in London.

    Andrea: It would be nice to be in a film that showcases London as an exciting and modern city. It shouldn’t try to be too American in its style though.

    James: Don’t worry about that, there is a gun fight towards the end that is going to randomly be set in a quintessentially English living room circa the 1950s with doilies and ornate wooden furniture.

    Andrea: What? How are they working that in?

    James: It is the hard, merciless professional killer’s house, he lives with his Nan.

    Andrea: Can we do Sarf Landan accents?

    James: Absolutely.

    Andrea: Okay, I’m in.

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