It’s not often a decent cops and robbers film gets released these days.

Whether it’s a case of lack of demand or the fact that Michael Mann pretty much nailed the cat and mouse chase flick with Heat and everyone else is too afraid to tackle the genre, is up for debate.

Welcome to the Punch - DVD Cover

Welcome to the Punch – DVD Cover

Maybe it’s a case that villains are often more interesting, so it’s more entertaining to focus on them?

In this post Lock Stock world, it’s a rare commodity to see a film that initially has you rooting for the fuzz, so Welcome to the Punch deserves some credit for giving the Rozzers some creditability and not portraying them as interfering buffoons.

James McAvoy plays Max Lewinsky, an earnest cop regretting the day he tried to singlehandedly catch a bunch of thieves during a heist in London’s financial district.

Crippled with a bullet to the knee cap by Jacob Sternwood (an ever reliable Mark Strong), Max devotes his time to his job, remaining patient until presented with the opportunity to incarcerate Jacob and rescue his career, until one day both men are drawn into a plot that sees them reluctantly working together.

Along for the ride is some sterling support from the likes of Andrea Riseborough, Peter Mullen, Daniel Mays and David Morrissey.

The pacing of Welcome to the Punch never really let’s up, with various twists and curve balls pulling the rug from under the audience, it’s only drawback is that sometimes the proceedings move along so fast we get little time to learn about the characters and appreciate their predicament.

Visually, the film is a triumph and much like the aforementioned Heat, everything is lit perfectly under fluorescent tubes and neon blues.  The film actually makes London look like quite a striking place, a nice contrast from the gritty likes of so many other London based crime yarns.

While the mockney London accents may grate a little in places, performances from all involved is pretty solid.

Andrea Riseborough and James McAvoy

Andrea Riseborough and James McAvoy

Andrea Riseborough once again shines and demonstrates why she’s an ever-rising talent to watch. While both Mark Strong and James McAvoy provide likeable leads.

After the well received Shifty (2009), Welcome to the Punch is only the second film directed by Eran Creevy so it’ll be interesting to see how his career progresses.

It may punch above its weight (pun not intended) when compared to other British crime flicks, but Welcome to the Punch is entertaining enough that there really is no reason to not check it out on DVD.

Making of feature
Q&A feature with director, producer and Mark Strong


About The Author

Colin lives in south west London. Looks like a hobbit and has been watching films ever since he saw Return of the Jedi at the age of 3. You can follow Colin on Twitter @obicolkenobi.