Based on the Ken Bruen novel of the same name, Blitz places action hero Jason Statham (The Mechanic) in the role of Detective Sergeant Tom Brant; a no-nonsense London cop who’s not afraid to get his hands bloody, bend the rules to suit his agenda, and give the odd lawbreaker a slap (or a smack in the face with a crowbar) should the situation call for it; and sees him trying to track down a relentless cop killer.
Elliott Lester’s (Love Is the Drug) movie doesn’t try to create a murder mystery out of the situation, and instead makes no bones about showing us exactly who the killer is right from the outset; a tracksuit wearing, wannabe hard-man, who’s arrogant, cocky, and a real prick, but somehow still a strangely likable character (simply because he’s so arrogant and cocky, it begs belief, and makes you laugh); and instead simply shows the viewer his killings, and the way in which Brant and his boss/partner Porter Nash (Paddy Considine, The Bourne Ultimatum) attempt to track him down.
Brant and Nash’s relationship is one of the best things about the film; as they clearly respect each other (and there aren’t too many people Brant respects), but seem to have very different approaches to the job; with Brant being the head-smashing, dive-right-in, detective who’s looking for vengeance, and Nash being much more reserved, by-the-book, and aiming to apprehend and punish the killer legally; a conflict which raises its head a couple of times (creating some appropriate tension in places), and works thanks to the great chemistry between Staham and Considine.
Both Jason Statham and Paddy Considine fit into their roles excellently; Statham’s Brant is filled with more charisma than many of Statham’s other roles (yet obviously handles the action just as well; even if there aren’t too many Transporter-like challenges thrown his way), and has such a cocky attitude and way of speaking to people (often using darkly funny humour to great effect) that he becomes truly endearing (though not someone it’d be easy to make friends with, and definitely not someone you’d want to cross), and Paddy perfectly embodies the slightly weasely, officious type that can get the job done, but that no other bobby would dare to befriend.
However, despite this clearly being a Jason Statham movie, it’s The Wire’s Aiden Gillen who gives the most memorable performance of the film, as the serial killer who nicknames himself Blitz; a shell-suit wearing prick that it’s so easy to hate, yet one that you can’t help but laugh along with and admire in certain scenes as well; a man who’s ruthless, moral-less, and seemingly motive-less actions make him a truly despicable human being, yet who’s backwards sense of humour, publicity whoring, and arrogant belief that he is untouchable, make him endearing; both sides of which Aiden seems to take on with relative ease (even including the fitting, through grating, accent).
Films about serial killers come ten-to-the-penny and it’d be difficult to say that there’s anything truly original or fresh about Blitz, but it’s also impossible to deny that it’s a really easy to watch film (though some of the more violent parts may make some more sensitive viewers cringe slightly; especially an incident with a hammer, and a, kind-of reverse American History X, curb stomp), with some truly compelling characters, that becomes a great bit of fun, and has a fantastic ending that instantly elevates the film above many of its lower competitors; perfectly concluding the storyline, and leaving you thinking about Blitz for a long while after the credits roll.
It’s true the direction is nothing special, the soundtrack is average, and aside from the main cast the acting leaves a little to be desired, but once you start watching Blitz, it’s guaranteed to pleasantly surprise you; after watching the trailer I thought it looked like a petty poor film, yet once I’d watched the film itself I realized that it does has some decent action, a good story, and a fantastic conclusion. It feels a little low-rent, it obviously doesn’t hold a candle to the best American dirty-cop movies, and plays out like the pilot episode of a TV show (Brant would actually make for a brilliant leading character in a detective show), but once you’ve watched Blitz, you’re not only guaranteed to have had a good time, but you’ll find yourself wishing, and hoping, to see Brant again in another movie; because Statham plays a character so compelling he should never be away from the screen for too long.
Blitz is out now on Blu-ray and DVD in both the US and UK, and you can find the film’s official trailer here, or simply order the Blu-ray or DVD directly from the links below.