Welcome to the Punch
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that English crime thriller Welcome to the Punch (the title refers to a location where the final showdown takes place) has plenty of cops-and-robbers-style violence, with guns, shooting, fighting, punching, dead bodies, explosions, and some blood. The main character is shot in the knee during the opening scene, and the wound causes him great pain and trouble throughout the film. Language is strong, with multiple uses of "f--k," plus "s--t" and more. There's a minor, near-kiss scene, and the main character smokes one cigarette. In an interesting twist, the main character teams up with his enemy to fight a greater evil, eventually learning forgiveness. But there's still an awful lot of violence and vengeance here as well.
What's the story?
Hot on the trail of master criminal Jacob Sternwood (Mark Strong), police detective Max Lewinsky (James McAvoy) is shot in the knee and lets his quarry go. Years later, he gets another chance when Sternwood's son is caught in the middle of some dirty dealings; the son can be used as bait to lure Sternwood out of hiding. Unfortunately, it turns out that this incident is just a tiny part of a huge web of police corruption and conspiracy, involving an upcoming election and the issue of gun control. Lewinsky realizes that his only chance to solve the entire puzzle is to team up with his old nemesis.
Is it any good?
Writer/director Eran Creevy seems to have put a great deal of work into this mystery story, doling out clues at certain spots and piecing it all together at the climax, but what really registers in WELCOME TO THE PUNCH is the chase scenes and the high intensity with which it all plays out. Even a typical conversation, a simple exchange of information, occurs in places like a murder scene at night.
McAvoy never seems to let his character rest; he simply quivers and hungers for vengeance and retribution. Happily, the usually over-the-top Strong is refreshingly subtle here, and he ties together some interesting character relationships, especially between the two enemies. Indeed, the entire cast of British character actors is effective in this movie. Where it falls short is in its pacing. It's a bit too quick and jumbled, and it can make the movie seem fairly lightweight. But even for a lightweight entertainment, Welcome to the Punch still isn't bad.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about Welcome to the Punch's violence. Is it necessary to tell a story like this with so much shooting and killing? What's the overall impact?
What does the main character learn over the course of the movie? Could you have forgiven your enemy? What does it mean to forgive?
Many of the characters argue over whether police in England should carry guns. Would carrying guns make them safer, or would it result in more violence?