It’s no mean understatement to say that I don’t like Jason Statham. The reason I dislike him is because it’s like some guy from the meat market got lucky and started acting in films, not just any films, films that are so unique to his name it’s almost as if he is a genre unto himself. Regardless of my feelings I was curious to see his latest film for more than one reason. My curiosity was piqued to see Blitz because of Nathan Parker who wrote the story for Moon, one of the best films of the last few years as well as a cast that was completed by Aiden Gillen, David Morrissey and Paddy Considine.
Based on a novel by Ken Bruen, Blitz is a case of cop killings in South East London which is investigated by the unlikely partnership of Paddy Considine (Porter Nash) and Jason Statham (Brant). This is a unique partnership because of their polarity. On the one side we have Paddy Considine, a cultured, well-mannered police officer who just turns out to be gay. His partner on the case is Brant, the sort of man who acts first and asks questions later. He opens the film by beating up a gang who are trying to steal a car with a hockey stick and leaves his beaten foes with the sagely advice, “if you pick the wrong fight, at least pick the right weapon”. Beyond his violent side he is a knuckle dragging Neanderthal who thinks that anything which doesn’t involve violence, drinking or swearing profusely is woman’s work and is okay with people who are gay as long as they keep it to themselves. As far as protagonists go he isn’t a character I enjoyed spending time with. If there was a sense of humour that worked, (Gene Hunt of Life in Mars) he wouldn’t have been so intolerable.
Blitz might have a bigoted centre but it still has a story, it is unfortunate then that it’s not a good one. Considering the throng of high-grade literature that is ripe for adaptation, it really does beggar belief that a story where people communicate only through swearing in this amateurish idea for a feature-length episode of Silent Witness mixed with the sort of development you would find in a Nick Love film, complete with the traditional hyper street violence you such genres. The plot development revolves around the evidence, for a great deal of the film they know who the cop killer is but they don’t have the evidence to put him away. Despite this the case isn’t really pursued in any great depth. This isn’t a case of the film failing by comparison to what else is out there, instead the dubious duo don’t really do much to earn their crust other than turning up too late whilst moaning about how clever Blitz is. This isn’t a film with a devilishly intelligent antagonist either, far from it.
Usually when somebody describes a film as having more style than substance it is in reference to films like sucker punch and transformers, not small budgeted British crime thriller’s like Blitz. Nevertheless the point still remains. This is a film that is much more interested in pandering to market created by Nick Love and Danny Dyer than and the cockney lifestyle than than being the sort of action infused crime-thriller that it is trying and failing to be.
Digging deeper than the surface story line and you will find more story lines which feel like they were used to pad out the running time and not the flow of the narrative. During one of the early interactions between Considine and Statham, Brant claims to be blacking out at work and finding life difficult. Beyond the one or two references this plot strand is completely superfluous and adds literally nothing to the story. There is another plot strand about a female PC who used to be undercover with the drugs unit, who describes herself as an addict playing as a police woman. This story line feels like it has been drafted into the film as to beef up the running time and beyond one point where it crosses over into the main narrative it has no relevance to the story. Lastly there is the inclusion of a local journalist played by David Morrissey. Yet another storyline that is underdeveloped to the point that you really do question why it is in the film other than to pad out the running time to be respectable enough to be released at the cinema and not straight to DVD.
The film does have its positive points, the first is the direction. This is the second feature from Elliot Lester and he knows how to frame a scene at the very least. His film uses cameras to great effect. Furthermore one of the very things that piqued my interest is worthy of mention, the cast is brilliant and they have proven their worth in films and TV. David Morrissey is fine on the odd occasion the film deemed him necessary, the same can be said of Paddy Considine. It’s like Considine’s character is there to say that “gays can do things well, too”. Thanks to these ethics and bigoted ways this is more than a little embarrassing to watch at the best of times. The last of the trio, Aiden Gillen was the best thing about Blitz. He showed that he had a great command of on-screen craziness that steals your attention.
When all is said and done all I can say is I expected better, especially from the talent involved. I even expected better from Jason Statham. Nevertheless beyond fans of Nick Love and Danny Dyer I can’t see who would like this film. As far as I am concerned this is nothing more than a waste of time and money that could have actually been spent on making a good film.