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With: James McAvoy, David Morrissey, Mark Strong, Andrea Riseborough, Jason Flemyng, Peter Mullan, Elyes Gabel, Johnny Harris, Daniel Mays, Daniel Kaluuya, Dannielle Brent, Ruth Sheen, Robert Portal
Written by: Eran Creevy
Directed by: Eran Creevy
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 100
Date: 26/03/2013

Welcome to the Punch (2013)

3 Stars (out of 4)

'Punch' and Moody

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Writer/director Eran Creevy seems to have put a great deal of work into his mystery story Welcome to the Punch, doling out clues at certain spots and piecing it all together at the climax, but what really registers in this movie is the chase stuff, and the high intensity with which it all plays out. Even a typical conversation, a simple exchange of information, occurs in places like a murder scene at night.

Hot on the trail of master criminal Jacob Sternwood (Mark Strong), police detective Max Lewinsky (James McAvoy) is shot in the knee and lets his quarry go. Years later, he gets another chance when Sternwood's son is caught in the middle of some dirty dealings; he can be used as bait to lure Sternwood out of hiding. Unfortunately, it turns out that this incident is just a tiny part of a huge web of police corruption and conspiracy, involving and upcoming election and the issue of gun control. Lewinsky realizes that his only chance to solve the entire puzzle is to team up with his old nemesis.

Actor James McAvoy never seems to let his character rest; he simply quivers and hungers for vengeance and retribution. Happily, the usually over-the-top Mark Strong is refreshingly subtle here, and he ties together some interesting character relationships, especially between the two enemies. Indeed, the entire cast of British character actors is effective in this movie. Where it falls apart, though, is in its pacing. It's a bit too quick and jumbled, and it can make the movie seem fairly lightweight. But even for a lightweight entertainment, Welcome to the Punch is still not bad.