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Blitz (2011)

Statham swore revenge on the rain for getting his hair wet.
Statham swore revenge on the rain for getting his hair wet.

Twitter Plot Summary: Statham is a violent cop who has to hunt down a serial killer who’s killing cops.

Genre: Action/Crime/Thriller

Director: Elliott Lester

Key Cast: Jason Statham, Paddy Considine, Aiden Gillen, Luke Evans, David Morrissey, Zawe Ashton

Five Point Summary:

1. Using a hurley to attack a group of youths. So this sets the violent tone for the rest of the film.
2. A rule breaker, a gay sergeant and a police officer with a drug problem. These are a fun bunch.
3. It’s like a Game of Thrones reunion, although possibly before most of them were cast in GoT…
4. Ooh, that’s a nasty way to go. Very American History X.
5. Dogs. Why’d it have to be dogs?

Jason Statham is oft-compared, in acting terms at least, to our wooden brethren in the tree community. In other words his acting is described as being akin to an oak dining table. I’m inclined to disagree with that train of thought as he has on occasion been able to demonstrate that he does have a bit of range to his performance. Admittedly from a distance that might not be immediately apparent, but it’s there trust me.

Statham plays Sergeant Brant, a no-nonsense cop who is unnecessarily violent and breaks pretty much all of the rules. After introducing us to his ways of thinking and a number of minor characters, the main story kicks in. Police are being killed across London, seemingly at random. Brant works alongside Sgt Nash (Considine), acting Inspector and about as straightlaced as it goes (almost deadpan in fact). It seems almost obvious, but the best way of hunting down a cop killer is to set what the Germans call a “Killer Cop” on his tail, so Brant is put on the case.

Incidentally Nash is a gay man which adds to some tension between him and the slightly homophobic Brant, although it turns out that their working methods aren’t too dissimilar. This isn’t overplayed and is just another element to that character, which is as it should be. Considine isn’t given anywhere near enough to do which is a shame given his ability and credentials. Fans of Game of Thrones are well served as there are a couple of familiar faces in Blitz. The main one is of course Aiden Gillen, aka Lord Baelish aka Littlefinger. He’s unhinged as Weiss, who has a plan to bump off eight police officers. Given his unstable mentality he could have easily focused on widespread anarchy but his own particular circumstances have dictated that the police should be his target.

This is our villain. Yep, trapped in the early 90s.
This is our villain. Yep, trapped in the early 90s.

It’s gritty and perhaps a better representation of what The Sweeney could have been when moved to the big screen, however the story has too many characters for you to invest in over such a short period of time. We’ve obviously got the key story with Brant and “The Blitz” Weiss (Gillen); then there’s also a sub-story with Brant and PC Falls (Ashton); the distrust and working relationship between Brant and Nash; the interactions the characters have with newspaper hack Harold Dunlop (Morrissey) who Weiss calls early on and gives him the scoop on the forthcoming killings; and finally there’s Stokes (Evans) who has a romantic interest in Falls and butts heads with Brant, naturally. It’s a multi-layered character piece, but it does act to the detriment of the main crime thriller story and feels like it’s been padded out with unnecessary characters. We could easily lose the Falls and Stokes characters without having any effect on the main story and we would have had a far leaner and more tightly focused film.

Entertaining, yes, but nothing special as it’s retreading ground we’ve seen before. A pruning of characters and perhaps more focus on Brant and Nash would have been better, but then you could argue that if they’d followed that route it would be yet another generic buddy cop thriller. Sadly, we can’t have it all.

Favourite scene: Spoilers: Weiss takes out Chief Inspector Roberts with a hammer. Not so much for the attack itself but how Weiss reacts to the violent act he’s just inflicted.

Quote: “A word of advice, girls. If you’re picking the wrong fight… at least pick the right weapon.”

Silly Moment:  The opening where Brant attacks the youths who are trying to break into his car. Implies it’s going to be a silly film but defies expectations.

Score: 3/5


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