The surprise film at the JDIFF, this cops-and-robbers Mini-Me Michael Mann is a diverting and entertaining crime thriller but there's not a lot here to return to.
James McAvoy is a dogged London detective chasing down Mark Strong's master thief who, before disappearing with some serious booty three years ago, put a bullet in McAvoy's leg. The injury is a daily reminder for McAvoy who seethes with quiet rage, having gone from one Mickey Mouse job to the next ever since. When Strong's son has been captured at the airport, McAvoy now gets his shot at revenge. All McAvoy needs to do is sit and wait for Strong to come out of hiding. However he then discovers that Strong's son is at the centre of a wide conspiracy...
Eran Creevy got himself noticed back in 2008 with the gritty street-level drama Shifty but he's got his sights set on bigger things now - take the accents out of it and Welcome To The Punch walks and talks like an American crime thriller. With its slick and polished direction, its liberal use of blues and greens, and its three-dimensional bad guy, Creevy wears his influence on his sleeve: Michael Mann's Heat looms large. It's no bad thing.
Only every now and then, when Creevy signposts an upcoming twist all too much or when he inexplicably dumps the slick approach for crash zooms and wild pans, does he let the Mann team down. But he pulls it all back in time for the largely unneeded but giddy climatic shootout. The unarmed police vs. armed criminals debate is an interesting subplot, although an expansion on this wouldn't have gone astray. This is Creevy's calling card: I can deliver an exciting thriller with some top performances – come and get me, Hollywood. They should.
The confident and convincing cast do the job they're asked here. McAvoy might not be the first name to pop into your head to play a mean detective – he's too young and sweet-faced – but he gives it socks. Strong is, as always, strong. A special mention goes to Eddie Marsan lookalike Johnny Harris, whose edgy and nasty perp roots the plot in more realism than his co-stars.