Blitz, or Who Needs Guns When You Have Pitbulls?

We've been stung by the Stathe before. Having set himself up as the unlikely action hero of a generation with slick, 80s-style action flicks like The Transporter and CrankJason Statham has proceeded to appear in a chain of utter bilge from The Expendables, to The Mechanic and the woeful Killer Elite. As such, I was dubious about British cop thriller Blitz

However, a recent weekend afternoon saw me faced with a dilemma. Gort had called New Empress magazine editor Helen Cox under the pretext of a business matter and was proceeding to flirt with her both aggressively and awkwardly. Dare I continue to listen to this cringeworthy exchange or would I give the Stathe another chance? I tentatively inserted the disk, echoing the content of Gort's conversation, and prepared myself to be hurt by Statham one more time...

Based on the novel by Ken Bruen, Blitz starts out with an epic premise: a clever and well-prepared killer, asking to be called Blitzkrieg and styling himself after Sid Vicious, is picking off random police officers in London town in progressively more grizzly and cruel ways. Tasked with stopping him are the Stathe, playing himself, as ever, and his boss, a disgraced, gay but hard-as-nails Paddy Considine. The plot instantly plays a turnaround as the cops become the hunted. Using the Columbo template, both we and the police learn who the killer is early on, but the question is how to catch him in the act.

Stathe doesn't need to do much more than his usual schtick, which he excels at, and there's a great Hot Fuzz vibe as Hollywood stereotypes are transplanted to jolly old England. Considine is the real talent here, though, and his character deserves to be a gay icon. His grizzled top cop has a camp edge, but is also tough as they come and charmingly average, with his sexual preference merely part of his personality. Considine does a fantastic job of realising the character and proves once again what an asset to British cinema he is. Elsewhere, we have a distracting subplot about a former undercover WPC struggling to overcome a heroine addiction she picked up posing as a hooker, which doesn't really deliver as a way to illustrate the effect Blitzkrieg has on the average beat cop.

Once this thread has been tied up, there's not much time to conclude the main story, but the sudden ending is a real fist-in-the-air moment. The resolution may be morally dubious, but you'll still find yourself shouting "have that, you *%€!#;@!" at the screen and really putting off your phone-sexing shipmate.

Blitz doesn't make a lot of sense and misses out on the opportunity to draw out Blitzkrieg's reign of terror, but it's still a fun thriller and an indication that Britain isn't only able to do crime movies from the Cockney gangster perspective.

No comments:

Post a Comment