War Review

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by AVForums Jan 22, 2008 at 12:00 AM

    War Review
    Every once in a while, a film comes along that is made to watch once and once only. Top of that list is the Bruce Willis vehicle The Sixth Sense. The reason that you can only watch them once only is because usually, somewhere near the end of the film, is a twist so profound, it makes whatever came before it a totally different story. I watched the aforementioned Sense a second time and spent the duration of the film looking for clues for what I knew was going to happen - and they are all there if you look closely enough.

    War, starring Jet Li and Jason Statham is the latest movie to be added to that list of once only watchers. It tells the story of FBI agent John Crawford (Played by Statham). As the movie opens, He and his partner Tom Lone (played by Terry Chen) are sitting on a bench surrounded by carnage. It appears that a fierce battle has just taken place and they just have to identify their victims to mop up. However, what turns out to be the norm with this movie, all is not as it seems...as both men stand up, weapons are revealed and they both steam in and take out the enemy. During the ensuing firefight, Crawford finds a spent cartridge. He recognises it as only being able to have come from one gun - belonging to the former CIA assassin Rogue (played by Li). A few years earlier, Rogue had been responsible for taking out Crawford's unit - with only Crawford surviving...Crawford's partner comes face to face with Rouge and shoots him point blank in the face. Rogue dives into the river and it's assumed he's been killed...

    On his way to Lones house for a barbeque a little later, Crawford sees a body being loaded onto an ambulance. It's the body of Lone - Rogue has taken him and his family out in retaliation for disfiguring him...and once again disappears, never to be seen again.
    Jump forward three years and Crawford has become the head of the FBI's Asia Crime Force. During an investigation of a shootout at a club, he finds one of the same empty cases he found earlier. It appears that Rogue has returned...

    Delving deeper, Crawford discovers that Rogue is working for the Chinese Triad boss Chang (played by John Lone). His mission is to recover two stolen solid gold horses that Chang has smuggled into the country. What Chang doesn't realise is that Rouge is secretly setting the Triads and their rivals the Yakuza against each other - eventually leading to all out war and the destruction of each other...

    That's about the long and the short of it...apart from that twist. Obviously, I'm not going to say anything about it for fear of spoiling it for you. I will say this though - I never saw it coming...
    Up until the twist, I found War to be a normal mediocre run of the mill action flick. However, because of the twist, it actually turns it into a rather stylish thriller with a complex plot. Sure, the acting's a bit rough around the edges and Jason Stathams' American accent is worse than ever. It sounds more like an American trying to do an English accent. If anything, it proves one thing - you can take the man out of London, but you can't take London out of the man. Listen carefully and you'll hear such classic lines as American Accent On - You know where he isAccent Off DON'CHA! It really is quite comical at times and I think there's more don't cha's and aint' cha's in this movie that there is in a weeks worth of Albert Square.

    Jet Li delivers his lines with the fluidity of an 18-month old trying to say Dada for the first time - but again, it adds to the charm of the movie. He really comes into his own in the numerous fight scenes.
    The action scenes are big and full of explosions and gunfire. Likewise the fight scenes. In fact, until you hit the twist at the end, it feels as though the bits in between the fights are just there to get to the next fight scene, if you see what I mean...

    Director Philip G Atwell is piloting his first major picture here. Coming from a pop music video background, he does a half-decent job. The action flows along nicely and the pace of the movie never really falters. The fight scenes are well choreographed and Jet Li is his usual menacing self - I wouldn't mess with him anyway. The final punch up in the warehouse at the docks where the movie began is like a white-knuckle ride and worth watching the movie to the end for on its own...
    The only thing is, can I recommend the film? As a home cinema demo piece, it's a no brainer (more later). But, because of the limited re-watch value, I would find it hard to recommend. I gave it a second viewing to see if I could spot what was coming and it's not the same movie second time around.

    For the one and only time, I'm going to sit on the fence here and say that maybe you should make up your own minds. Fans of the martial arts genre should rush out and buy it now - the rest of us will probably buy it and then watch as the box sadly collects dust on your shelf...

    The Rundown


    7
    AVForumsSCORE
    OUT OF
    10
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