James McAvoy holds a gun in a shot from Welcome to the Punch

Review: Welcome To The Punch

Eran Creevy brings the slick action film to London and with James McAvoy and Mark Strong leading, who wouldn’t be excited? Reece Gilkes suggests, however, that you might be disappointed.

So the thing about Die Hard… Oh sorry, I mean, Welcome to the Punch (with so many similarities to generic action movies it’s easy to get confused) is it’s a bit of a predictable film.

To say it was a bad film would be harsh. However, in my eyes, it’s just average.

It’s slightly exciting to watch but you can guarantee you know the outcome, with the exception of a few bumps in the road ahead. Basically, like many action films easy to watch (that’s not to say it’s not enjoyable) but after the first scene you can basically guess exactly where it’s going.

Sat next to my friend at the cinema we both leaned over on countless occasions and correctly predicted the next part of the storyline. Maybe this is what makes cops and robber films such classics but surely we’ve seen enough now to know it’s time for a bit of a mix up? Wouldn’t it be nice for someone to throw in something completely unpredictable and unexpected?

I enjoyed the acting performances of the leading pair. James McAvoy once again shows his versatility and Mark Strong adds deeper levels of emotion to his performance, despite the fact that he is once again playing the bad guy.

I was particularly impressed by Jonny Harris who I haven’t seen much of. He was the stand out actor of the film. Of course, by playing a murdering psychopath he always had the best opportunity to show off his acting abilities but never the less he grabs the opportunity with both hands.

If I could praise Creevy for doing one thing in this movie it’s his decision to leave in moments of blood and gore. Too often we see films being ruined because the director has decided to cut these moments in order to lower the movies rating to a 12A.

Of course, where would a classic action film be without its various fighting sequences? However, here it too often just becomes ridiculous. McAvoy’s one legged Max is better at dodging bullets than Neo from The Matrix and Strong has the ability (at the age of about 45) to outrun the bullets of a machine gun. I enjoy a good gun fighting show down just as much as the next person but sequences like these were almost comical.

When watching a film, it’s always a shame when it could be improved by just a few obvious directorial decisions or changes. In particular, remember the importance of a strong ending; a film should leave you feeling happy, frustrated, shocked or even saddened. Welcome to the Punch does none of these, after the typical closing standoff, the film ends in one of the most boring manners I’ve seen for a while. This film needs an extra ten minutes to restore logic to the world instead of just a close up of a character.

Maybe I’m being slightly harsh seeing as from the start I expected it but even so it has to be classed as laziness. If you’re going to make a classic cops and robbers film then you’ve got to find a conclusion for the story. Unless of course, Creevy is planning a (unnecessary) sequel.

Welcome to the Punch is not a bad film and at times is thrilling and intense. However, having seen my fair share of stereotypical action movies I guess I’m just crying out for the unexpected.

★★☆☆☆

Reece Gilkes

Welcome to the Punch is out now.

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