A Week In Film #281: So near yet so far

Welcome To ThePunch title screen
Welcome To The Punch
So close. So, so close – this is a Brit action thriller which very nearly broke out of the parochial ghetto that has shackled the likes of the big screen version of The Sweeney, which nearly pulled away from the in-jokes and all-pals-together wackiness that has become the stock in trade of the Primrose Hill lot, and which very nearly was that homegrown blockbuster – it feels sort of aiming for the Heat or Bad Boys sort of zone – that was more than just an intelligent crime drama.

So close, but it wasn’t to be. The awkwardly Americanised script jars; Daniel Mays is miscast as a senior cop; a simple plot is pointlessly submerged in needless blind alleys; again too male-centric with not enough good or meaty parts for women.

On the plus side, though, you have two or three really good action set pieces; a pair of well-matched protagonists in James McAvoy and Mark Strong; excellent support from the likes of Johnny Harris and Peter Mullan and Ruth Sheen; and ambition. Lots of ambition. I really hope that by his next outing writer/director Eran Creevy sorts out all the problems and delivers 100% of his potential rather than the 50-60% on show here.

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