Personally, I like James McAvoy whether its the very relatable Wesley (Wanted) or as the rejuvenated Prof Charles Xavier (X-Men First Class). I always found him with exuberance and portraying a great amount of energy & sincerity in his roles, even as Mr.Tumnus in The Chronicles of Narnia. Welcome to the Punch was in my list for long among other McAvoy starrers like Danny Boyle’s Trance and the upcoming Filth. Considering that this was a British production I knew this would be quite different from the US action genre. I’d seen the previews of this one and the stylish shots and some intense chase sequences made me wanna see it. I admit I am not a big fan of British Action Genre where I’d end up stamping them as ‘offbeat’; the reason? Coz I am so used to (read ‘brainwashed’) seeing big budget US action flicks.
Welcome To The Punch had a neat nifty feel to it and the action scenes I’d witnessed in the trailer made me believe that I might keep this on par with those US action flicks suffice to say I was wrong. Welcome to The Punch could be categorised as a cop drama starring McAvoy as Max Lewinsky who is hellbent on catching his arch enemy Jacob Sternwood (Mark Strong) who shot him in the knee (couldn’t help thinking about Skyrim there) and left him humiliated during the initial sequence. The film is shot stylish and it was evident from the tension-exuding first scene where Sternwood and his gang is chased by Max through what seemed like a utopian cityscape. Sadly though the tension that it had built up in that scene was nowhere to be found afterwards. The futuristic shades in this movie is very noticeable and couple that with Andrea Riseborough, last seen in Oblivion, had me thinking that it was indeed taking place in a not so distant future. Apart from McAvoy and Strong, the supporting cast were severely underused even David Morrissey (the ever-villainous Governor from The Walking Dead).
The director, Eran Creevy, attempts to squeeze in game-changing plot twists but the narrative falls flat towards the third act where these unnecessary twists are introduced, none of them drastic enough to change the narrative leaving the film a bit gauche. Even with Ridley Scott as an executive producer it didn’t help much.
Had it been more slickly directed, Welcome to The Punch had great potential to be a cult classic but for what its worth watch it for McAvoy and Strong’s commendable performances and some striking visuals. Its got more style than substance and best suited for a lazy evening watch and thats about it.