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Blitz


Make a play for the Stath!

Rod Lott August 11th, 2011

"Blitz" isn't your average Jason Statham flick, in that: a) it skipped theaters, and b) his partner is a homosexual. I can't recall seeing that mix in cinema crime stories since the days of Ryan O'Neal and John Hurt in "Partners," and that 1982 film was a comedy.

blitz

"Blitz" has little need for humor — who does when you've got that winning Statham scowl?

Lensed in London and based on a grit-noir novel by Irish crime writer Ken Bruen, "Blitz" casts Statham as Detective Sgt. Brant, whose temper has become a liability for the station in the form of bad publicity. This makes him the perfect person just crazy enough to be on the hunt for a fellow "nutter," the serial killer who calls himself Blitz, as in "blitzkrieg."

Blitz (Aidan Gillen, TV's "Game of Thrones") is a cop killer, so bold as to take out his targets in broad daylight. He's also manipulating a journalist (David Morrissey, "Red Riding: 1974") to help carry out his reign of terror. Aiding Brant on the force is his new superior, Porter Nash (Paddy Considine, "Red Riding: 1980"), the aforementioned homosexual.

To the film's vast credit, Nash being gay really has no bearing on the story, beyond the initial swagger of Brant and the other officers perhaps to cover up being uncomfortable. "Pillow biter" and "poofter" are uttered, and that's about it. No longer is it an issue, which is how it should be in life. Considine doesn't even play him "gay," which is to say stereotyped, as many movies do; he just turns in another solid performance.

As for the Stath, he's the Stath: an actor of limited range, but who nails that range. He can make any line sound menacing: "Do I look like I carry a pencil?" He also gives us film's best-ever squash one-liner.

As Roger Donaldson did with Statham in "The Bank Job," second-time director Elliot Lester ("Love Is the Drug") doesn't tailor things to an American audience. Heavily British and Irish, the accents come thick, talking of tea and biscuits, The Sun, the sport of hurling, using the name Nancy as an adjective, and the oft-repeated insult of "wanker."

In sharp contrast to the gunmetal sleekness of Statham's "Transporter" series, Lester lets "Blitz" be shaded in muted '70s browns and golds, all hazy at the edges. It's also refreshing to see the big chase scene be one on foot. This care and handling makes the movie's goodness quite clear. —Rod Lott

 
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