Being a massive fan of the action genre, I always thought, “Why is it that us brits has never attempted an overblown action flick? Sure we have our Rom-Coms, crime dramas and you include the Bond franchise as an action movie, so why not just go all out and add a ton of gun play and stunts. It looks like director Eran Creevy thought the same, coming of the heels of his feature debut Shifty, Welcome to the Punch couldn’t be more different. Staring a fine choice of British actors including… (deep breath)… James McAvoy, Mark Strong, Andrea Riseborough, Peter Mullan, David Morrissey and Daniel Mays .. (phew)… to name but a few, they all turn up game for it.
The plot revolves around a grudge between a cop Max Lewinsky (McAvoy) and a criminal, Jacob Sternwood (Strong) who while escaping the country after a heist, shoots Max in the leg leaving him out of action and disgraced. Years later when Jacob’s son is found shoot and in critical condition, forcing him to return giving Max one last chance to catch his man. The relationship between McAvoy and Strong is a clichéd formula but two actors carry it off well with the films “fuck it” attitude. Welcome to the Punch doesn’t hold back on the Michael Mann theme of connecting cop and robber. Riseborough also is very sold in her role as Max’s partner Sara, giving another dimension to the stereotypical though female cop role that bounces well of McAvoy. Produced by Ridley Scott, it looks gorgeous and feels slick just as all good action films should as the bullet shoots boom so loud that they rattle your seat. Mullan and Morrissey add class and grit and Johnny Harris is his usual menacing self as a ex-army thug who still loves his mum.
Creevy wears his influences on his sleeve. Taking inspiration from the likes of Hong Kong and western cinema, it feels slick and well paced all the while keeping the coolness of the 80’s American action films that I sorely miss. If the film has a weakness, then it’s more concerned with the action sequences rather than telling it’s quite complex plot that leaves the door open for a sequel, however you’ll be having so much fun that by the time the credits roll, you’ll be left wanting more.