out of Five
Running time: 97
Enjoyable, well acted and smartly directed British thriller that's a huge amount of fun while you're watching it but falls apart the moment you think about it afterwards.
What's it all about?
Directed by Elliott Lester and based on the novel by Ken Bruen, Blitz stars Jason Statham as violence-happy South East London police detective Brant, who's tasked with tracking a brazen cop-killer calling himself Blitz (Aiden Gillen). When the case hits the papers, Brant teams up with new boss Nash (Paddy Considine), who's derided by the rest of the force for being gay.
Despite being the world's most obvious cop-killer, Blitz continues to evade capture, even though he repeatedly shares information with a tabloid hack (David Morrissey) and attracts the attention of an alcoholic informant (Ian Hughes). Meanwhile, Brant's fellow officer (Zawe Ashton) is struggling with a drug addiction after a stint on an undercover operation.
Statham's on comfortably familiar ground as Brant, dishing out growling one-liners and brutal smackdowns with impunity. He also has surprisingly great chemistry with a cast-against-type Considine – somebody should throw money at the pair of them and persuade them to sign up for a politically incorrect spin-off TV series.
In addition, there's strong support from rising star Zawe Ashton (St Trinian's 2 but surely destined for greater things), while Gillen relishes the opportunity to play a total psycho and basically steals every scene he's in. On top of that, the film is impressively shot and edited, and Lester delivers both an excitingly staged foot chase sequence and a couple of decent punch-ups (the opening scene is a particular highlight).
To be fair, the film is riddled with plot holes and the whole thing falls apart the moment you stop to think about it (for example, no-one bothers to check the arrest records of the targeted police officers), but Lester keeps things moving at such an enjoyable pace that you won't really mind. Also, they're the kind of ridiculous plot holes that it's fun to pick apart and laugh about in the pub afterwards.
Given that the central mystery is quickly solved by the film's most useless character, you could also argue that the whole thing is a thinly-veiled comment on the ineptitude of the police – it's either that or the script deliberately makes the police look useless in order to justify Brant's Dirty Harry-style rule-breaking. Either way, they're hilariously rubbish.
Impressively directed and superbly acted, Blitz is a hugely enjoyable British crime thriller, providing you don't think about it too hard afterwards. Recommended.