James McAvoy (Trance) is all frowns and glares as Max Lewinsky (kin to Monica?), a cop still pining three years later for the One Who Got Away — not a girl, but a criminal. Fleeing from the scene of a big score on motorcycle, robber Jacob Sternwood (Mark Strong, Zero Dark Thirty) managed to miss being nabbed by Lewinsky bythismuch, yet left his pursuer with a gunshot to the leg.
It’s tough for Lewinsky to let go of, and not just because he’s draining yellow fluid from the wound every day. Sternwood has been in hiding and in retirement ever since, but the bond of family — read: his no-good son screwing up big-time — forces him back to London and, therefore, well within Lewinsky’s sights.
Unfortunately, the exit of one character and teaming up of two others puts the brakes on the stakes and pace. Up until then, the film by writer/director Eran Creevy enjoys a solid showing in both. At least it’s flashy-looking throughout, what with night lights of baby blues, but the story doesn’t even realize it has allowed the visual sheen to overtake it. What remains is as routine as brushing one’s teeth before bed.
If nothing else, Welcome to the Punch — erg, that awful title! — represents another tick mark in the column with the header “Andrea Riseborough Can Do No Wrong.” Recently seen in movies big (Oblivion) and small (Disconnect), the actress is the UK’s current greatest export. —Rod Lott