Pitch for new ITV series hosted by 'Nightwatch's Steve Scott: 'When Films Go Wrong'.
Episode one: 'Blitz'.
And yet, when you roll the details of this thriller over in your mind it sounds like a really effective blockbuster antidote. It's adapted from a book by Irish crime writer Ken Bruen; has 'The Wire' and 'Love/Hate's Aiden Gillen as the prime suspect for a spate of killings in London, with new movie hardman of choice Jason Statham and the always excellent Paddy Considine playing the cops. All three actors, however, should be cheesed off with the finished product.
Statham plays Bruen's much-loved character Brant, an always-in-trouble detective whose methods generate results, reprimands and newspaper copy in equal measure. Brant's new boss is Porter Nash (Considine), a detective whose open homosexuality has made him a figure of fun on the force.
These two very different men become unlikely partners when someone begins murdering officers attached to their station. The evidence points to local lowlife Weiss (Gillen), a man who was on the receiving end of some Brant justice a year previously.
The problem is proving it. And as more officers are killed, the question for Brant and Nash is whether extreme methods or by-the-book police work will crack the case.
'Blitz' begins with one of the best, if not the best, lines Irish audiences will hear this year. As Brant comes across some car thieves outside his home, he takes his hurley (yes, you read correctly) out to meet them, gives his definition of the game to the gang and then makes sure they'll be hobbling for the rest of their lives. Luckily, you can watch that gem by clicking the link on your left and keep your money for something far more worthwhile, because director Lester's film has nothing else to equal that opening scene.
While the plan may have been to bring the cat-and-mouse dynamics of Don Siegel's 'Dirty Harry' to London, 'Blitz' is more interested in violence than suspense and confuses rushed with fast-moving. Siegel's film also had its wisecracks but the tone of Lester's is all over the place, flinging you from moments of relief to the depths within a couple of minutes, and throwing in unsatisfying sub-plots to make matters worse.
Stuck in a film that's unsure of what it wants to be, Statham, Considine and Gillen try their best as they wade through clichés on their way to an ending that's too far-fetched to work on screen. Given that we've already had a disappointing adaptation of Bruen's 'London Boulevard' starring Colin Farrell and Keira Knightley in the last year, 'Blitz' only adds to the urgency of finding a director who can add something to his work in a cinema.