Blitz is an oppressive and bleak crime thriller, which, despite its seemingly predictable formula, actually packs some unique punches.
Based on the Ken Bruen novel of the same name, Blitz is an oppressive and bleak crime thriller, which, despite its seemingly predictable formula, actually packs some unique punches. Jason Statham plays Brant, a London cop with a plays-by-his-own-rules approach to street justice and maintaining the law. Ever the benchmark for high-grade masculinity, Statham now has stubble denser than Osmium (Google it) and an accent more mockney than Christian Bale.
Feared by perps, scorned and secretly admired by colleagues, and mainly ignored by women, Brant is certainly someone we’ve encountered before. We’ve seen various manifestations of his ilk in John McClane, Axel Foley and Martin Riggs, but Statham effortlessly slots alongside this kind of company – although it’s predictable, it feels right. Unfortunately, ‘right’ still doesn’t add up to original.
As various police are slain by local fruit cake Barry Weiss, aka ‘The Blitz’ (excellently played by Aidan Gillen), effeminate chief cop Porter Nash (Paddy Considine) takes over the investigation. The fact that he is openly gay leads to clashes with Brant.
Despite the fact that Blitz is littered with clichés, offers a pretty poor critique on sensationalism in the media, terrible one-liners and some worryingly familiar characters, the story is somehow engaging. What holds the whole thing together is that all-important action movie trope: a really, really good bad guy.
Aidan Gillen shines as a muttering, orthodontically challenged and bat-shit crazy villain with an authority complex. Considine and Statham are okay, but it’s Gillen who’s holding court here. Visually the film isn’t anything to lose your mind over – a few soft focus shots followed by some eye ache-inducing hard-edged ones, bustling wide pans of London and a few shaky-cam pursuits. It’s aesthetically concise, as is to be expected of a relatively inexperienced director like Elliott Lester.
The themes are suitable considering the author’s metaphysical leanings: lawlessness fought with lawlessness and a hopelessness innate to our nature. But Blitz isn’t a film that will blow apart your preconceptions about police dramas. It’s all been seen before and will be seen again, and again.
A film with Jason Statham as a violent cop is going to be predictable.
The performance from Aidan Gillen makes it engaging, the brooding outlook keeps it in place.
At times acceptable, at times like a truly mediocre episode of Silent Witness.