UK Statham has carved out a niche for himself as an action hero to rival the likes of the US big boys that try and delight and daredevil audiences every Summer....
The question here is, without his sharp suits, fast cars and glamouress locations from the likes of his The Transporter franchise and The Expendables, can "the Stath" still stand up, be counted and deliver?
In a word, plain and simply, no. There are certain stars/actors that you know what you're getting when you go to see them, even if you haven't seen a trailer for their latest offering: Pacino shouting, DeNiro pouting, Willis balding and Statham doing a Jean Claude Van-Damme with a rough-as-nails British accent. But you have to have something else to take your mind off of the same performance otherwise you're interest will begin to wan, if not crumble mercilessly.
It's always great to see the country you're from up on the big screen - 28 Days Later, Notting Hill etc - especially when most movies nowadays will depict views of Americana. But here London is shown in the same light as the film's respect for it's storyline, characterisation and dialogue - scant regard for anything apart from the excuse for unnecessary violence and grunting instead of coherent and plot-driving dialogue.
Now before you start, I know that these sort of films aren't made for the awards season, but as viewers we none-the-less expect meat-with-our-potatoes and when you're served up limp lettuce only, things are never gonna be right no matter how much Statham grunts and one-lines his way through the seedy underbelly of London.
The idea of an English Se7en meets Lethal Weapon is a wonderful notion and one that hasn't been depicted upon the screen before but here they leave it out to dry in favour of re-enacting one of cinema's most stomach-churning scenes (American History X's pavement death) and forgetable one-liners from all the cast no matter how insignificant or recognisable.
The reason why American movies in this genre are better than home-grown talent, this should be blitzed from your schedule... immediately. And Paddy Considine... what were you thinking?!?!
UK release date: 26/05/11