Viewed – 28 October 2012  DVD

After last year’s Mechanic, I was beginning to feel that a lot of Brit actor Jason Statham’s movies were blurring into one … with not a great deal to tell one from the other.  However on first seeing the trailer to this recent offering, I began to feel that maybe he had stumbled upon something a little deeper.  Statham plays an ex-cop turned cage fighter (!) who whilst in trouble with the Russian mob, stumbles upon the plight of an 11-year-old Chinese girl who has memorized a code and is now the target of both the Russian mob and the Chinese Triads.  Statham soon finds himself in her company and chooses to protect her from the ruthless gangs  – with very explosive results!

Typically for a Statham movie this is packed with gun fights, martial arts (a tube train fight stands out) and car-chases, all delivered with the foot pressed firmly on the adrenaline pedal.  But with the added depth of the young girl and less wise-cracks, I found myself caring much more for the events of the story this time around.  Director Boaz Yakin has delivered a well made, imaginatively shot movie with the kind of don’t-give-a-damn attitude seen in Liam Neeson actioner Taken.  There is also good support from mostly unknown Reggie Lee and as the young girl, Catherine Chan, amongst other more recognisable faces … making this a cut above the usual, style-heavy thrillers awash on shop shelves these days.

The plot does get a bit complicated towards the end, and a final showdown with an interesting bad-guy is kind of wasted … but this is still one of the best things Jason Statham has appeared in for a long time.

Verdict:  4 /5

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