Welcome to the Punch Review
by Mike Holtz, WeWatchedAMovie
Directed by: Eran Creevy (Shifty)
Starring: James McAvoy (X-Men: First Class), Mark Strong (Green Lantern)
Lets give it credit right now for the kick-ass title, am I right? I’m not sure if it makes me wanna fight someone or just thirsty but either way I like it. Welcome to the Punch features Max (McAvoy) as a cop who runs into the mouth of danger chasing his nemesis, long time expert criminal Jacob (Strong) only to be shot in the leg and taken out of commission by Jacob himself. When Jacob’s son is hurt trying to be a super criminal like his father, Jacob comes back to care for his son….giving Max his chance to get the one that got away. Mix in a whole bunch of politics, pointless characters and plot convolution and you have Welcome to the Punch.
Right from the start it seems like this is going to be an all out, high-speed action/crime thriller. McAvoy is (slightly surprisingly) believable as a grizzled loose cannon cop willing to disobey orders and do anything to get the bad guy. Then comes the gunshot wound to the leg that causes some confusion for me personally. I’m used to seeing action stars take bullets to the shoulder, arm and leg with the only repercussion being a grimace and maybe a manly scream. Hell with it, they will get patched up on the back of the ambulance after the bad guy is dead right?
In Welcome to the Punch it becomes an oddly heavy plot point taking Max out of commission and messing up basically everything the guy has going for him. Physically he isn’t the same as he has to stick a giant needle in his knee to suck out the fluid and apparently it screwed him up mentally too because now he doesn’t give a damn about anything. Eventually he gets back on the horse though and starts going hard after Jacob for his revenge and redemption.
Once the chase between the two commences again the interactions between McAvoy and Strong are decent as they are both impressive actors. The script however is dull and there’s nothing either of them can do to save it. Not to mention the attempted half plot twists, political back stories and odd team ups that take the wind right out of what is supposed to be an all out action fest. While none of the actors are bad in Welcome to the Punch the film would have benefited from taking out a few of the forced in characters and focusing more on the exciting stuff this film is good at rather that the story this film was bad at. The gunfights are well made and the cinematography is sleek and stylish but none of it is enough to make up for the fact that you just don’t care. Welcome to the Punch ends up being an average movie but hey…..it’s still got a great name.