War Philip G. Atwell

War Philip G. Atwell

I was really in the mood for a good, silly action movie but even I have my limits. War is so outrageous that it shreds all of its credibility long before the final, ludicrous twist.

Jason Statham stars as a San Francisco cop who’s just seen his partner and family murdered by a mysterious assassin named Rogue. Three years later, he thinks he’s found him, looking remarkably like action hero Jet Li. But this alleged Rogue has other things on his mind, such as how to turn the Triads and the Yakuza against each other in the hopes of wiping them out. It’s not entirely certain who this mystery man is but rest assured that when he is unmasked it’s the most nonsensical turn of events in an actioner this year.

Perhaps I could have forgiven that if the shootouts were exciting and the one-liners anywhere approaching witty but it’s strictly no-go on both counts. Despite the suitably hard-R violence, director Philip G. Atwell proves completely unable to stage an exciting action scene. Save for a pretty good swordfight close to the end, the look is so lacklustre that you can’t get excited. And the film’s representation of the two sides of the conflict is pretty flimsy: both the Triads and the Yakuza are rendered in broad, stereotypical strokes, the kind you’d find informing the less intelligent members of your local martial arts class.

I’m not asking for Chekov here, just enough style and integrity to keep you watching, but War is such a below-the-line effort that you’d have to be totally undemanding to get keyed up at all. (Maple)