Excerpt: Political agendas and unruly vengeance fill Welcome to the Punch with bloated confrontations and middling character definition. Shot in the knee and suffering residual effects, London detective Max Lewinsky (James McAvoy) journeys on a three-year quest to stifle criminal figurehead Jacob Sternwood (Mark Strong). Intermittent obstacles and grave personal cost only heat Max’s excessive, punctuated viciousness.
Conclusion: Stylish but sluggish, Welcome to the Punch feels like a bad imitation of more exciting British crime dramas from Guy Ritchie and Matthew Vaughn. James McAvoy and Mark Strong are compelling cop and robber leads, but the film sinks under its thinly written characters and underwhelming plot. . What Do You Think?
Excerpt: For a while it seemed like Guy Ritchie had English crime flicks in a stranglehold. While I love Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch , the fast-talking, faster-cutting way of portraying the London underground was getting stale there for a while. What was needed were some new ideas and a fresh injection of influences from beyond English shores.
Excerpt: The sheer wastefulness of Eran Creevy's Welcome to the Punch is off-putting enough, but the film is also falsely painted-up as a crime epic. As Creevy sees it, the rivalry between lawman Max Lewinsky (James McAvoy) and stoic thief Sternwood (Mark Strong), the latter of whom has been in hiding ever since shooting Max during a getaway, is one deserving of the visual and auditory grandiosity he provides.
Summary: Somewhere between Heat and Infernal Affairs —with a bit of John Woo-style slo-mo gunplay worked in as well— Welcome to the Punch is a slick-but-superficial British cop thriller that wears its American and Hong Kong influences like a badge. Writer/director Eran Creevy ( Shifty ) has clearly been studying the classics of the corrupt cop and heist sub-genres.
Excerpt: About halfway through Welcome To The Punch , a British action flick that up to that point functions as a pretty standard bullet-fest, somebody gets killed. That is by no means unusual—lots of people have already been killed by that point in the film, and have long since been forgotten. What makes this scene different is that the murder carries much less weight than the seemingly endless anticipation of the murder.