Thursday, November 17, 2011

In Home Viewings - "Blitz"

Detective Tom Brant (Jason Statham) isn’t exactly what you’d call a “by the book” cop. A no nonsense type of guy, Brant is an alcoholic whose consumption is only bested by his affection for violence and propensity for thrashing criminals who don’t have the good sense to cow down in his presence. While under investigation for assaulting a gang of petty thieves, Brant takes on a case involving a serial cop killer known as The Blitz (Aidan Gillen). He teams with Detective Nash (Paddy Considine), an outcast copper who isn’t quite as brazen about crossing the line but shares Brant’s willingness to use any means necessary to take down bad guys. Together, Brant and Nash must find a way to catch up to The Blitz and put an end to his killing spree.

Every time a new Jason Statham movie opens (usually three or four times a year), I find myself going through what I call “The Statham Cycle”:

Step 1: The trailer debuts and I tell myself, “Good gracious, that looks awful.”
Step 2: Said trailer rolls for approximately the 37th time and I catch myself smiling reluctantly and immediately chastise myself.
Step 3: I forget about the movie until it shows up on this week’s DVD Roundup in which I type, “There’s no way this is any good.”
Step 4: Each time I walk past the movie in my local video store or bypass it on Netflix Instant, my resolve weakens just a bit.
Step 5: With more than a little self-loathing, I rent the movie and watch it on a night when there’s nothing happening in the world of sports and I’m too tired to watch, you know, a good movie.
Step 6: I kind-of-sort-of enjoy myself while watching the movie.
Step 7: Overwhelmed by a sense of shame, I vow never to watch a Statham epic again and feel better about myself. And then the cycle repeats itself.

In these situations when my inner Neanderthal gets the best of me, I feel like I almost always write something to the effect of, “You could do a lot worse.” Blitz is no exception. A smaller film that was released straight to DVD on these shores, I came across it during one of my many trips to Family Video and after forcing myself to ignore it for weeks on end, it finally popped up on Netflix giving me an excuse to watch it without directly paying for it. And you know what? It’s not that bad. It is ripe with plot holes and an overly convoluted storyline that tries to cover way too much ground. And, of course, you don’t go to Statham for a Clooney-like performance. But beyond these facts, Blitz provides solid entertainment and allows Statham to do what he does best: beat the crap out of bad guys and say cool things that you know you shouldn’t think are cool but nevertheless cause you to smirk and nod in agreement. Seriously, how far away are we from an action movie in which Statham actually acknowledges the camera and talks directly to the audience? Tell me that wouldn’t sell some tickets. (If this has already happened and I somehow missed it, I’m going to need you to tell me about it NOW.) Considine is a quality compliment to Statham and sets him up with plenty of opportunities to show off his array of skills. He’s like the straight man to Statham’s over-the-top man child and their dynamic works well. The action sequences within Blitz are acceptable as well and overall, the film creates an easy if unoriginal environment that is hard to dislike. And after all, that’s about as good as it gets for The Statham Cycle.

Grade: B-

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