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"Blitz" - Jason Statham as a British Dirty Harry

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Blitz

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“Blitz” is a British police thriller starring Jason Statham as a tough cop chasing a serial killer. That is pretty much all you need to know. Naturally Statham’s character is the kind of cop who can take out three guys with lightning-fast moves and then tops it off with a badass on-liner. However, the people around him and the direction by Elliot Lester makes this a decent if not too memorable affair.

Statham’s Tom Brant starts off on thin-ice after having beaten up three young car thieves with a baseball bat. Brant is a drinker, a smoker, and a very politically incorrect person, which he makes very clear during a mandated visit to a psychiatrist. His latest violent outburst has attracted the attention of the press and as though no one in London had ever seen “Dirty Harry,” his superiors advise him to keep a low profile until the bad publicity blows over.

That is going to prove difficult, as a serial killer has begun targeting cops. The killer, Barry Weiss (Aiden Gillen) has a major chip on his shoulder when it comes to the police and wants the world to know his exploits. Whereas Brand can barely work a computer, Weiss posted a video of a burning a police dog on YouTube and once he escalates to killing cops, he calls a lowly journalist (David Morrissey) to give himself a nickname: Blitz, as in blitzkrieg.

The movie’s best moments come when Brand interacts with Sgt. Porter Nash (Paddy Considine) who takes the lead on the case. Whereas Brant is an old-school macho cop who gets his answers by beating them out of informants and would like nothing more than to crack open Blitz’ skull, Nash is an openly gay cop who follows the rules by the book. Everything is different about them, from their personal hygiene to the way they dress. Yet while having a drink in Nash’s neatly organized apartment, they bond over their shared work stress and desire to cross the line when it comes to chasing the worst of criminals. You wish the two of them would be in a better movie, or maybe even a good weekly TV show.

The story tries to be morally ambiguous by having cops debate when it is all right for them to cross the line if it means protecting their own, but this is territory that has been threaded many times before by many other cop movies. However “Blitz” manages to stay captivating with a well-orchestrated foot chase, old-school violence, and good chemistry between the two lead. You can easily tell where this is going to end, but until you get there it’s decent enough fun.

(Blitz is available on DVD, Blu-Ray and on Netflix.)

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