Welcome to the Punch

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(2013) ★★★

Channel 4 : PREMIERE Sunday 22 November, 11.05pm

London cop James McAvoy is obsessed by nabbing Mark Strong, the armed criminal who crocked him three years ago. He’s tired of colleagues worrying if he’s still up to the job: “I was shot in the leg, not in the head.” True, it doesn’t appear to have affected his judgment, which was suspect to begin with.

Shifty writer-director Eran Creevy’s second feature starts so strongly – it resembles Jason Statham’s The Mechanic shot like Michael Mann’s Collateral – and is consistently so stylish, you’re inclined to forgive its second-half lapse into clichéd melodramatics. They’ve got big guns, these guys, but they’re bad shots.

The clumsily developed conspiracy seems to have been lifted wholesale from the superior French TV series Braquo (although Creevy’s stated intent was a tribute to Hong Kong action pictures). In a sturdy supporting cast, the excellent Johnny Harris stands out as a dead-eyed gun-dealer with a scary smile.

Certificate: 5
Duration: 100min

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