Blitz Is Not What You Think It Is
If you find yourself flipping through the channels or browsing Netflix and come across the movie Blitz you will find the description goes something like this:
“With a serial killer on the loose in London, a detective takes on the case while working out his aggression issues with a police-appointed shrink.”
And then you will see that it is starring Jason Statham and you will immediately think to yourself “I know what this movie is.” You will be wrong, mostly. This movie isn’t The Transporter or The Expendables or The Mechanic or Killer Elite or choose your recent Statham vehicle. This is an attempt to be Great Britain’s version of Dirty Harry where questions of the means justifying the ends play out against the horror of a serial killer, the muddled frustration of bureaucracy and the immorality of the news. Heady stuff for an action star. The problem is the film is a mess, where characters and plot lines are introduced and then disappear, where performance are rich but characters suddenly do things entirely out of character with no explanation, where we are told how clever people are when they continue to do nothing even remotely clever on screen. Here is the other thing about Blitz, I enjoyed watching it.
Why did I enjoy it? Maybe it was a simple as hearing British street slang and profanity (something about hearing that stuff makes watching fun, Guy Ritchie made an early career out of that phenomena). Maybe it was watching Aidan Gillen (Littlefinger on Game of Thrones) chew up scenery as the serial killer. Maybe it was the fact that Statham managed to keep his shirt on for the entire movie. Maybe it was the nonsensical plot turns that made you scream “wait! what?” at the screen (particularly at the ending). Of course the truth is it was all of the above. Blitz is a massively flawed movie (read plot summary below if you want to see just how flawed) and yet somehow entirely watchable.
Blitz = Level VII movie (flawed yet ambitious)
Blitz begins as you would expect a Jason Statham movie to begin. After police clippings fill the screen through the opening credits letting us know that excessive force is a problem for our would be hero we see the Transporter sitting in his apartment, looking out the window, and wouldn’t ya know it noticing some street tuffs breaking into a car. Statham goes down, beats the kids up with some kind of stick from an Irish hokey-esque game spewing witty banter throughout. You can almost see the studio say “we need a Statham scene, the fans will demand it” so the filmmaker gets it over with right at the start. Now Elliot Lester is free to make his movie.
Statham’s Brant blackmail’s his police captain to keep his job (a running theme for all the cops in this particular station) and then goes out to be with his former partner as he cremates his recently deceased wife then they go get drunk together and loose the urn. None of which matters. While Brant is getting drunk a mysteries figure in a hoodie walks up to a beat cop and shoots her in the neck. Brant is called in and since being drunk doesn’t matter he heads to the crime scene, as does officer falls (the striking Zawe Ashton) who must have been working vice because she is wearing a very short skirt. Other than seeing her legs there is no real reason officer Falls is at the crime scene, but she does have nice legs.
The next day a new chief inspector is appointed to take lead over the case (turns out Brant’s ex partner was the chief inspector). He is gay. Apparently that is a problem for some cops but Brant doesn’t care, nor does he care that he was passed over for the job “less paperwork for me” is his response. The gay cop (played by Paddy Considine, a solid British actor with a ton of credits) is of course anal and by the book and begins having everyone look over evidence and the like. Meanwhile Brant starts to go to various seedy places and beats information out of anyone he can think of. In the meantime Littlefinger a.k.a the bad guy a.k.a. Aiden Gillen walks up to a cop sitting in a car and after insulting him for a few minutes shoots the cop in the face, in broad daylight, with a whole bunch of witnesses watching. After he shoots the cop he pulls his hoodie over his head and walks away, which ends up being enough to make it so no one saw him (trust me, even more nonsensical when you watch it).
With two cops dead the pressure is on to find the killer. While gay cop keeps looking into evidence which somehow doesn’t exist (no conspiracy, Littlefinger just somehow does not leave evidence even though he is overtly cavalier while killing these cops). Meanwhile Brant crushes an informants testicles and gets the name Barry Weiss. Rather than immediately acting on this info Brant goes over to gay cop’s house and tells him he respects him and that he thinks he is losing it. Gay cop tells him he is just burned out and needs a goodnight sleep, then gay cop tells him how he couldn’t find enough evidence to convict a pedophile at his last post so he snuck into the guys house and killed him. Brant falls asleep in the middle of the story and spends the night at gay cop’s house (see Brant is not a homophobe!).
Brant and gay cop decide to partner up. They go to this Barry Weiss’ house and Littlefinger opens the door. After a few moments Brant realizes that Littlefinger is the guy who he almost beat to death in a pool hall for no real reason (the incident was on tape and leaked to the press and this is what started all of Brant’s problems with excessive force charges). They don’t have any evidence so they leave and apparently forget that Brant’s informant told him this guy confessed to a room full of people.
Littlefinger is pissed, so he calls a newspaper guy and tells him he is going to make him famous. He gives the guy some exclusive info and then tells him he is going to kill eight cops. He also asks that he be called Blitz, like blitzkrieg. The reporter is excited and Littlefinger goes and kills Brant’s former partner in his apartment and then lights the apartment on fire.
In the mean time, Officer Falls receives a visitor at her home, a kid she knows from rehab. He tells her he was on something last night and he an his friends probably killed somebody and asks if she can help. Like any good cop would do she says sure but she tells him if they did this means that kid has to quit the gang and get clean. Yup, London is filled with really good police officers. Falls asks Brant if he knows anyone at the station that would be investigating the murder, he does and Falls goes on her marry way trying to get a kid off for murder.
Brant’s pissed when he finds out his partner is dead and he and gay cop are frustrated because they don’t have any leads (nope, never occurs to them that the guy who they just harassed and that reportedly admitted to doing all of this may be a good lead). While the cops are flummoxed the sleazy guy who had his testicles crushed by Brant goes through Lttlefinger’s trash, finds a receipt for a parking garage, goes there to find the car where Littlefinger stashes not only the gun he uses but also trophies from every murder (it takes him about 30 minutes to uncover all the evidence in the world, the cops still have none). Being sleazy and still a little mad at Brant for the whole testicle crushing thing, he calls the newspaper, gets the same reporter Littlefinger is using and says for $50 grand he’ll give him the killer. The reporter, caring much more about getting the scoop than stopping the killer, agrees to his terms and tells him where to meet. The problem is Littlefinger sees our sleazy friend leave the garage, figures out what is going on, and follows sleazy to the bar where he is going to meet the reporter. The reporter gives sleazy an envelope full of cash, tells him about the parking lot, but needs to go to the bathroom to count the cash before he tells the reporter the name. Littlefinger kills sleazy and takes the money.
Brant and gay cop interview the reporter who tells them about the envelope of cash and the parked car. By the time they get to the car it is cleaned out of evidence, but they do know that it is Barry Weiss’ (a.k.a. Littlefinger) car. Do they go arrest Littlefinger? Nope.
Back to officer Falls who has reached out to the cop in charge of what she still believes is a murder. Turns out the guy isn’t dead, just beat to one inch of his life. Phew. She begs the cop to keep her druggy friend out of it and he agrees as long as they meet for drinks later. Turns out the other cop is good looking too, so this all makes sense. Falls meets him for drinks and all seems to be going great. Until the end of the night when the good looking cop drives Falls home and doesn’t kiss her goodnight or walk her to the door. He just says he’ll call her. Falls gives him a lecture about how women will just sit by the phone waiting for men to call them, so he better call (because nothing is more attractive to a man than hearing a woman is so desperate that she will do nothing but wait by the phone for your call). She storms out of the car and begins walking to her flat.
Brant’s back at the office and being an action guy doesn’t know how to work computers. Fortunately another good looking female cop is there who helps Brant look up Littlefinger’s rap sheet (wait, they hadn’t done that yet?). Turns out Littlefinger has been arrested a bunch of times. The first time he was arrested the cop who was shot in the neck was the arresting officer. The second time he was arrested the cop he shot in the face was the arresting officer. The third time he was arrested the Brant’s ex partner took him in. And the fourth time he was arrested officer Falls was the arresting officer. Brant finally puts it together (in all fairness, he is the first one to put it together, not counting sleazy) he tries to call Falls, who is still walking to her flat (how far away did good looking cop drop her off?). Sure enough Littlefinger attacks Falls, they fight and out of nowhere druggy boy comes to her rescue. Or at least tries to, Littlefinger kills him but before he can get back to Falls he hears sirens and runs away.
Brant watches over Falls and gay cop lectures good looking cop about what an ass he was for not walking Falls to the door. Then they go after Littlefinger. It takes some searching and then a prolonged on foot chase scene but they finally catch Barry Weiss and stop Brant from beating him up. When they get him to the station and into the interrogation room they are immediately reminded that this brilliant serial killer has left them no evidence and if he doesn’t confess in 48 hours they will have to let him go. NO EVIDENCE! The guy has been drunk half the time, bragging about who and what he is doing, and carrying around the envelope full of cash that he stole from sleazy. That’s not even counting the circumstantial evidence that Brant just uncovered about the arresting officers. Nope, not enough. Brant tries to goad Littlefinger into doing something by showing him the tape of when he nearly killed him, admitting he didn’t even remember his name or why he beat him up. Littlefinger stays strong and is released as the cops watch with malice in their eyes.
Falls is depressed. She is depressed because her rehab buddy is dead and because Littlefinger is free. So she goes back to work, steals some crack from a drug dealer, goes home and gets messed up. When the drugs she stole isn’t enough she calls one of her past druggy friends and continues her rapid downward spiral. Fortunately for her good looking cop is being told by an informant that a good looking female cop stole drugs from a drug dealer, he puts two and two together, calls Brant, and they both rush over to Falls house. Falls is home snorting something with the new druggy guy, who Brant literally throws out of the room. Brant and good looking cop put Falls in the shower and wash her down with cold water (does that really work?). When she wakes up Brant is there, gives her a pep talk and leaves. Good looking cop sticks around and now Falls is ok. Who needs rehab when you have a couple of good looking male cops to throw you in a shower.
Brant and gay cop express frustration and Brant intimates that maybe they should do what gay cop did to the pedophile. Gay cop adamantly says no. All of the cops go to the funeral of Brant’s ex parter, including Littlefinger who stole the ex partner’s uniform before torching the apartment. None of the cops recognize him. In the middle of the service Brant gets a text and leaves, Littlefinger follows. Brant drives through London, Littlefinger follows. Brant drives into a parking garage, gets out of his car, and takes the stairs to the roof. Littlefinger follows. On the roof Littlefinger draws his gun and starts to crack wise to Brant before killing him. Brant turns around, only its not Brant, its gay cop. Littlefinger is shocked and almost immediately is hit with a crow bar. They have Littlefinger now, he is wearing the uniform of one of the cops he killed, he is holding the gun he used, they could not ask for more evidence. Brant hits him a few more times with the crow bar, picks up Littlefinger’s own gun and kills him. He and gay cop quickly cover up any evidence that they might have been there (apparently not a hard thing to do in England) and crack that this is a homicide they will likely go unsolved.
The End. Nope, sorry, no explanation as to why they didn’t arrest him or why gay cop changed his mind. Blitz a.k.a Littlefinger a.k.a. Barry Weiss is dead, the good guys win, hooray!