Tuesday, 19 January 2016

War (3 Stars)

I'm a big fan of Jason Statham, and I'm an even bigger fan of Jet Li, so this ought to be the perfect film for me. Unfortunately, as my rating shows, it doesn't quite have what it takes.

The story starts with two FBI agents in Los Angeles, John Crawford (Jason Statham) and Tom Lone (Terry Chen), who are part of a task force that deals with Asian organised crime. Their main problem is that there is a turf war going on between the Japanese Shiro family and the Chinese Chang family. Tom and his family are murdered by Rogue (Jet Li), an agent working for the Shiro family. John swears revenge, but Rogue disappears totally.

Three years later Rogue resurfaces, now working for the Chang family. This is where it gets complicated. Why do the Chang leaders trust him? We soon see that he's taking orders from the Shiro family, but he's killing gang members on both sides. He obviously has a hidden agenda, but it isn't clear what it is. There are two big plot twists near the end. I was ready for the first, because there were hints at it for 10 minutes before the truth came out, but the second twist came as a shock.

One of my problems is that Jet Li spends most of the film imitating Jason Statham. In his fights he uses a gun, not his fists. Then there's the constant confusion of not knowing who's fighting who and why. I couldn't relate to the film's good guy, John Crawford, because his character isn't fleshed out enough. He's just a cop with a gun. That's it, there's no depth to him. I blame the lack of experience of the director, Philip Atwell. "War" is his first and only film after a career of making music videos. He should stick to the music videos, he doesn't have what it takes to make films.

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