Blitz: Statham vs. Subtlety26th May 2011
Blitz fires a warning shot for next year’s remake of The Sweeney, with all the subtlety of a maniac with a hammer that occasionally vomits on his victim’s pulverised head. An odd thing to write, you may think, but it’s even odder seeing such a sight on a humungous cinema screen, listening to the huge amounts of face mashing in delightful surround sound. One thing that Blitz is definitely not is a subtle triumph of characterisation and tight scripting, in the face of overwhelming amounts of Jason Statham.
At one point our ham-faced anti-hero growls “the clinical report indicates that WPC Fields died instantly”. Well, I may be mistaken, but didn’t we just see her bleed to death? And even if I did have my eyes closed, the ten seconds of lovingly rendered gurgling surely indicated that she was? You don’t have to be an Oxford student to realise that Blitz is essentially The Departed as made by an ADHD-afflicted intern at FHM with steak for brains, scant capacity for proof reading and an underwhelming grasp of the British judicial system.
But forget the filmmaking, let’s talk about the elephant stomping around the room, and on people’s faces, and anything else that gets in the way of ‘justice’ and an 18 certificate. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Crank films and have a lot of time for the Transporter series but here the jokes fall flat, seriousness is hinted at and Statham just looks a little tired of it all. Maybe he needs to go and put his feet up and make himself a cup of comforting Bovril until Neveldine/Taylor decide to realise the potential of Crank 3. Wasting his time on this differing brand of grimy British tosh is doing nothing for his career.
A performance I really couldn’t fathom on the other hand was that by Aiden Gillen as our eponymous killer, who flirts with the opposing realms of the good and the decidedly Hayden Christensen with alarming regularity. That I’m yet to explain his significance to the cop killing plot I’m sure is indicative of the film’s gaping narrative holes. Cops die, Statham punches, drugs are dealt, David Morrissey hovers around waiting to become significant to the story and chase scenes inexplicably visit a brothel for ten seconds to get that all important flash of integrity-destroying nude action that Statham seems to stipulate in his contracts.
Jason Statham is a preciously one-note commodity and must be treated with care to generate a morally dubious cult hit, here the director Elliott Lester is about as far from the mark as possible.