Review: Welcome to the Punch


I went in looking for a stylish action crime caper. I got that, unfortunately I didn’t get anything more.

Welcome to the Punch follows a grudge between a high priority criminal Jacob (Mark Strong) and a patriotic cop Max (James McAvoy). But when they are both targeted by a shadowy adversary, they have to join forces and help one another.

The most impressive part of the film is its intention to build atmosphere and to have good cinematography and a good soundtrack. It speaks less in words and more in action, a lot of the character development becoming moody, morose scenes instead of real exposition. The action is decent and well filmed; there’s no shaky cam and the gun play is frequently slow motion when it feels required.

Its style is all that possibly save it.

Wouldn’t it have been more unique had Mark Strong played the vigilant police officer and McAvoy played the criminal? As it stands the actors fall into by-the-numbers roles that we have seen them in before, and there isn’t much to cling on to or be compelled by. Add to this a weak storyline that barely even fills the ninety minute run time. Both characters have significant others who are vulnerable: Strong has his son, McAvoy has his partner… I can’t think what might happen to these characters. And with so few other characters to choose from, your “mysterious” villain is quite obvious.

I wanted there to be more to Welcome to the Punch; I didn’t get the involving storyline or compelling characters that make good police thrillers work… I did get the style though. A modern, glossy yet gritty, blue-tinted shooter. At least I can appreciate this over the disgruntled, growling The Sweeney.

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