Blitz review (DVD)

OK, so we all know what to expect from a Jason Statham vehicle. Basic action scenes with kinetic fighting skills, a rudimentary script, a total lack of directorial finesse, and of course snarly diction from the bald tough guy.

His latest is no exception. He's back on British soil doing what's right for Blighty, playing a hard-nosed cop who doesn't play by the rules, out to snare a psycho killer who is murdering the good members of the police profession. But you know what? Blitz delivers. It's surprisingly watchable and though the dialogue is clichéd and the narrative improbable, it's still a solid piece of work that carries you along with sure-footed confidence. No work of art to be sure but then this effort isn't out to win any awards. You pay your money to see Statham beat up the bad guys and this he does with aplomb.

What raises the movie above his usual violent escapades however is a strong supporting cast of notable British thespians who enter into the spirit of it with gung ho energy. They're aware it's junk but they might as well have a good time doing it. The critics can go screw themselves.

Paddy Considine plays Statham's superior, transferred from his West London beat to the grimier South East precinct. A smart-suited homosexual who eats ready meals in his minimalist flat, Considine underplays the character's gayness - it's Statham and co who make an issue out of it - while retaining an intelligent determination in finding the killer. Said killer is played with high energy gusto by Aiden Gillen, terrific as the psycho avenging a slight with sadistic shootings and maimings. He perfectly exudes the unhinged air of a maniac. It's a vibrant turn and he gives the movie a propulsive kick.

Mark Rylance turns up as an alcoholic policeman going off the rails at the death of his wife while David Morrissey gleefully portrays a hack journalist trying the get the scoop on the killer. Both roles are caricatures and neither actor attempts to flesh them out with method style subtlety. Who the hell wants to be subtle in a film like this? They make their mark with bold, in-your-face brio. Also noteworthy is Zawe Ashton as a fellow cop with a drug problem. She handles herself well amid the macho posturing on display.

It plays like a British Dirty Harry and though visually at times it comports itself like a TV 'tec procedural, it's a persuasively deft affair overall. Give it your support. Highly entertaining.

EXTRAS ★ Just 22 minutes of deleted scenes, including a semi-alternative ending.

Justin Bateman is a Screenjabber contributor

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