Movie Review: 'Welcome to the Punch' -- 2.5 stars

Jacob Sternwood, Max Lewinsky, Roy Edwards and Iris

Jacob Sternwood, Max Lewinsky, Roy Edwards and Iris Warns in "Welcome to the Punch" (Credit: Jacob Sternwood, Max Lewinsky, Roy Edwards and Iris Warns in "Welcome to the Punch")

Welcome to the Punch
2.5 stars
Directed by Eran Creevy
Starring James McAvoy, Mark Strong, Andrea Risenborough
Not Rated

Not long ago, "Saturday Night Live" produced a digital short called "Don' You Go Rounin Reoun to Re Ro," a parody of the thickly accented, hyper-serious genre of British crime flicks, everything from "The Long Good Friday" to "Sexy Beast" and the Michael Caine-starrer "Get Carter."

More often than not, "Welcome to the Punch," the newest heir to that lineage, recalls the "SNL" vision of angry men mumbling as they point guns at each other in a series of standoffs.

That's not to say that you can't have a good time at Eran Creevy's flick simply by inhaling its futuristic noir vision of hardscrabble law and order on London's mean streets. It's just to note what the movie doesn't have: a screenplay with a discernible plot, a meaningful narrative or dialogue that amounts to more than empty threats and stern pronouncements.

James McAvoy stars as a detective named Max Lewinsky, who has had it in for arch criminal Jacob Sternwood (Mark Strong) ever since the latter escaped Max's grasp and shot him in the leg. Three years after that encounter, Sternwood returns to London from his Icelandic retreat when his son is wounded, and the pursuit begins again.

The story surrounding this face off concerns government corruption, mercenaries, a container yard and lots of stylized shootouts set against an impersonal, bluish-grey tinted modern cityscape. The details are spit out in the final act. None of it makes sense.

All that really matters in the "Welcome to the Punch" universe: Flashing lights, a tilting camera and the utilizing of slow-motion as tough British men growl and grimace while discharging their weapons.


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