Movie Review: BLITZ (2011)
By Michael Arruda
Jason Statham has been making movies for over a decade, but he’s still not a household name. He should be. As action heroes go, he’s one of the best in the business right now.
Statham stars in the new serial killer thriller BLITZ (2011), now available on Streaming Video. BLITZ is one efficient little actioner, clocking in at 97 minutes. Like its hard-hitting star, there’s not an ounce of fat on this one.
A British cop with anger issues, Brant (Jason Statham) is one step away from being thrown off the force. He’s angry, impulsive, and violent, a liability to his fellow officers and the work they’re trying to do. But when a serial killer who calls himself “Blitz” (Aidan Gillen) begins targeting police officers, the department wants every available man on the case, including Brant.
Brant teams with his newly appointed superior officer Nash (Paddy Considine) to hunt down Blitz, and it becomes a race against time as Blitz continues his brash daytime murders of police officers, even announcing to the press how many officers he intends to kill. As the pressure mounts and emotions on the force skyrocket, Brant remains icy cold, focusing all his energies on one target, Blitz, who he intends to capture, dead or alive.
If BLITZ sounds like DIRTY HARRY GOES TO LONDON, you’re right. There are obvious parallels connecting Statham’s Brant to Clint Eastwood’s iconic Dirty Harry character. I was especially reminded of the original DIRTY HARRY (1971) because Aidan Gillen’s performance of the over-the-top brazen psycho killer Blitz reminded me a lot of Andrew Robinson’s Scorpio, the crazed killer in DIRTY HARRY.
However, BLITZ doesn’t play like a rip-off of DIRTY HARRY, or of other serial killer movies. It stands on its own and plays much better than its material. One of the major reasons it rises above the standard serial killer clichés is the presence of Jason Statham.
Statham is an extremely watchable actor, mostly because he’s very believable as an action hero. In the film’s opening, when he confronts three thugs on the street and handily kicks their butts to kingdom come, you believe it. Moreover, Statham’s cool no-nonsense style is easy to digest, making him very likeable, even when he’s kicking the crap out of someone. I had really enjoyed Statham in KILLER ELITE (2011), and he’s every bit as good here in BLITZ, maybe even better.
BLITZ has a very efficient screenplay by Nathan Parker, based on a novel by Ken Bruen, and presents a story that is as compact as it is effective. Sure, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before, but sometimes banalities can be overlooked if they’re done right. Such is the case with BLITZ. The killer is a lunatic. You want to see him stopped, and you want to see a guy like Brant be the one to stop him. Pure and simple, the film works on this level.
I also liked that the action took place in London. It was just different enough to be refreshing. And while the story is definitely driven by the desire to see Brant catch Blitz, the movie also does a good job showing us the stresses of police life without beating us over the head with it. The story provides just enough police drama to serve as a realistic reminder that a cop’s life can be hell, day in and day out.
In addition to Jason Statham, the rest of the cast is also very good. Paddy Considine is excellent as Nash, Brant’s superior officer. Nash is another officer who was about to be booted off the force but then receives a transfer to Brant’s department to earn a second chance. No clichés here, no “the new captain’s a phony or a jerk who talks big but knows nothing.” No, Brant and Nash bond immediately, mostly because Brant tells Nash at the outset that in spite of all that has happened, he knows Nash is a good cop. It’s a refreshing moment as those things go.
One of my favorite scenes in the movie has Nash pouring out his soul to Brant as they sit in Nash’s apartment having a drink. Nash tells Brant the awful story of what happened to him earlier on the force, and how he almost threw his life away. It’s a completely engrossing moment, and when he’s finished telling his tale, Nash looks at Brant, and Brant’s sleeping. I laughed out loud.
Aiden Gillen is also very good as the killer Blitz. He really makes you hate him, and you can’t wait for Statham’s Brant to catch up with him.
Zawe Ashton turns in a believable performance as Brant’s buddy on the force, Falls. She plays yet another officer plagued by personal problems.
BLITZ was directed by Elliott Lester, and he has a quick, likable style. The movie packs a punch as it flies by rapidly. It’s also not overly gratuitous. Blitz’ execution style murders are bloody and intense without being over-the- top violent. This is an action film, not a horror movie.
I liked BLITZ a lot. Jason Statham is fun to watch, and he’s supported by a fine group of actors who make this one a winner. You’ve got a crazy serial killer on the loose and a rogue tough-as-nails cop going up against him, who’ll stop at nothing to get the killer’s head on a platter. What’s not to like?
So, if you’re in the mood for hard-hitting action tale, one that’s as believable as it is entertaining, then you should check out BLITZ. You won’t be disappointed if you’re a Jason Statham fan, and if you’re not a fan yet, chances are you will be after seeing this movie.
© Copyright 2012 by Michael Arruda