Witness: And you’re not taking any notes?
Det. Sgt. Tom Brant: Do I look like I carry a pencil?
That’s Jason Statham as Detective Sergeant Tom Brant in a film called Blitz. Brant is the South East London Branch’s version of Inspector Harry Callahan, S.F.P.D. Brant faces censure, suspensions, even dismissal for over the top brutality and violence. He’s just a bad man who tossed away the police rule book years ago.
They establish his character quite early on. He awakens on his sofa, at 2:30 in the morning, but he needs a double whiskey to get going. Get going means to take on three street punks looking to boost a car downstairs. Brant’s weapon? A field hockey stick. Naturally by the time the press gets ahold of this, Brant is portrayed as the vicious cop who beat the stuffings out of the three innocent lads.
Another man, a Barry Weiss, is targeting cops – specifically the ones that arrested him in the past. Since he’s been arrested multiple times, the list of targeted cops isn’t small by any means.
One by one they go down. A lady copper is shot in the throat and bleeds out. A cop in a traffic cruiser is shot point blank in the face. And another cop is bludgeoned to death with a hammer. This Weiss is a walking crime wave all by himself. Or said another way – he’s a serial killer of police officers.
Statham’s Brant goes after Aiden Gillen (best known from tv’s The Wire) as Barry Weiss aka The Blitz, as in Blitzkreig. Barry’s kind of a celeb-wanna-be. He loves the killing, but he loves the media attention even more. So there’s your set up.
The problem is that the set-up isn’t anything new. A serial killer has to be taken down, and who is better to go after him than a brutal cop. And they get him, only he’s going to sprung out of ‘gaol’ in 48 hours because the cops don’t really have any hard evidence.
So the real question is – how is Brant going to get this man?
Which means, we need a few more characters and their side stories tossed in to create some depth to the film as well as some time and diversions between the violence.
Zawe Ashton plays Constable Elizabeth Falls. She’s got issues and problems. She said when she worked narcotics she was a cop playing at being a junkie. But in reality, she says, I’m a junkie playing at being a cop…”
Paddy Considine plays Porter Nash. He has a tough and rough road to deal with as well. He’s a supervisor of Detectives – and he’s gay. In case you don’t recognize the name, Paddy played opposite Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne in the first act of the 3rd Bourne film when they went round and round in London’s Waterloo Station. Paddy was the reporter.
The film has plenty of violence, and if that’s what you want to see, then the film more than fills the quota. However, none of the characters is more than a slim and reflective surface – you really don’t get to understand anything about any of them.
The film lacks memorable quotes, and for the most part, everyone is speaking English, but if you’re on the side of the pond called North American rather than the UK side – I’m sure you won’t be able to decipher everything you hear. It’s almost as if English subtitles for this spoken English would have been useful.
Statham doesn’t give you a lot of range as an actor. Here, he provides just what you’d expect from him – no more and no less. But what this film does give us is a dose of real violence, and a dose of immorality. Statham’s copper might not be righteous but he doesn’t let that stop him.
In fact, in a well done roof top chase on foot which makes it’s way into a train yard, we hear the instructions going out over the police radio – Don’t let Brant engage Weiss. Meaning Brant will need to be restrained by his own men.
But not for long.
(Available from Netflix: Stream or DVD)