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: Director Eran Creevy comes from the music video world, so it's not really a surprise that Welcome to the Punch has more style than substance. The film is a stark exercise in icy colors and slo-mo, John Woo-style gunplay, but the story—which intends to have a sweeping scope, from a lowly detective to the high powers of government—just doesn't have much kick.
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.
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.