Certificate 15, 99 minutes
Director: Eran Creevy
Stars: James McAvoy, Mark Strong, Andrea Riseborough
In Welcome to the Punch police office Max Lewinsky (James McAvoy, Trance, X-Men: Days of Future Past) is trying to hunt down the successful and notorious criminal Jacob Sternwood (Mark Strong). During a chase through London after receiving a tip off about a robbery Sternwood is planning to do that night, Lewinsky nearly catches him, but Sternwood escapes, shooting him in the leg as he does so. The injury Max receives is severe and a bit crippling, but not life threatening, although it does result in him losing a lot of the motivation and fire he had as a cop earlier, and as a consequence makes him also becoming more cynical and withdrawn.
The film is a decent enough British crime thriller, although it isn't exceptional. There aren't really any stand out surprises or twists to the plot; even the twists that are there are not that surprising. Strong and McAvoy do a decent enough portrayal of the professional criminal and the cop. There are some good action scenes and set pieces, such as a gunfight in a club. In fact, there are quite a lot of guns - shotguns, assault rifles and handguns - in the film; an unusually high number for the UK, but there is also a lot of background political discussion of rising levels of gun crime, and how the police are inadequately armed or equipped to deal with it. Lewinsky at the beginning did go chasing after armed criminals with absolutely no weapons, or even body armour, at the beginning of the film after all, which was responsible for him being injured. Much of Welcome to the Punch is filmed either at night or in overcast conditions. This leads to it being a dark looking film, with blue predominating - many of the scenes have a very strong blue cast to them for some reason. Welcome to the Punch is a decently executed thriller, but doesn't really bring anything new, even though in 2010 it came joint third in the Brit List of the best unproduced British screenplays.