Theatrical release: 08/23/2011 DVD Date: 08/23/2011
Rating: R Running Time: 98 minutes
Note(s): The screenplay was adapted from Blitz, the fourth mystery in the Tom Brant series by Ken Bruen.
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Review: I didn't have high expectations for this direct-to-DVD release — at least is it in the US; it had a fairly wide theatrical release in Europe — but I was surprised. This is actually a pretty good movie. Not great, but pretty good. The film's subtitle neatly sums up the plot: cop-killer versus killer-cop.
Jason Statham stars as Detective Tom Brant, the kind of cop you want living in your neighborhood even if you don't exactly agree with his methods of law enforcement. His latest escapade — beating a trio of thugs trying to break into a car, or innocent lads as the newspapers portray them since they were too inept to actually break into the car and thus never actually committed a crime — has his superiors looking for a way to keep him out of sight for while. That is, until a cop is killed, shot point blank while patrolling the streets. There's no denying Brant gets results, so he's on the case … but the new Superintendent is keeping him on a short leash. Or so he thinks, until they have a heart-to-heart and realize they're more alike than not. Weiss, the killer played by Aiden Gillen, isn't very clever in his methods but he manages to avoid leaving any evidence behind that would convict him. Brant more or less guesses right that Weiss — who has named himself "Blitz" for the benefit of the press — is the killer, and, setting aside his own brutal methods, devises a clever scheme to trap him.
I haven't read the book from which this movie is adapted, but it's a good story. The screenplay takes a lot of shortcuts that I'm guessing aren't in the book — towards the end, for example, even though Weiss is supposedly under 24 hour watch, he manages to obtain a gun and a police uniform that he had previously stolen without anyone noticing — but the pacing of the film doesn't allow for one to dwell too long on these plot holes.
This isn't necessarily a good-looking film, nor is it probably intended to be. The production has a rushed feel to it, again probably intentional, but I kept thinking that if a few of the rough edges were smoothed out a bit this could really have been a fine, stylish thriller. As it is, though, it's definitely worth a rental and Jason Statham fans will definitely want Blitz as part of their collection.