Saturday, 16 March 2013



Here's a handy and cheap way of making your everyday world mirror the extraordinarily cold, fluorescent blue colour palette director Eran Creevy and cinematographer Ed Wild have selected to shoot this British shooty cop nonsense. Get two pairs of those old red/cyan 3D glasses and swap the coloured lenses over so you have an all-cyan pair, and hey presto: everything looks like it's been drenched in blue bleach or something. That's what this movie looks like: not just the steel and glass and concrete, but the people, even the things which are normally red, yellow, green or white all emerge in various shades of midnight frost. It's honestly like watching a black and white film through a bit of blue perspex.

Welcome To The Punch (a catchy but silly title that refers to the sign outside the dockland storage area where most of the film doesn't take place) is actually more reminiscent of The Sweeney, both the original and the recent update, than anything else: hard-boiled obsessive cops taking on ineffectual bureaucracy and a corrupt Establishment as well as gangster villains with shooters. Three years after supercrook Jacob Sternwood (Mark Strong) left tenacious loose cannon cop Max Lewinsky (James McAvoy) with a bullet in his knee, he slips back into London when his own son is shot. He's just as keen to find the villain as Max is to apprehend him. But was it just a simple shooting in a crime wave of casual gun violence?

The blue colour scheme is really the most notable thing about it: it's twaddle, far too in love with the endless gun battles you'd expect from a Hollywood action movie but looks slightly weird in a British one. It's got a decent cast which also includes Andrea Riseborough, Peter Mullan, David Morrissey and Jason Flemyng (though you should easily be able to spot the mystery twist villain several reels in advance of the big reveal), and while the cat-and-mouse game between antagonist not protagonist takes a few unexpected leaps, neither of them are particularly worth caring about and none of them are much fun to be with. Welcome To The Punch isn't terrible, but it is pretty ordinary for all the swearing and shooting, and the steel blue sheen looks gorgeous to start with but gets a little wearing after a while. Still, kudos for the British film industry trying something unashamedly commercial for the multiplex market, even if it doesn't really come off.


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