Jason Statham plays a cage fighter who after bungling a fight where he was supposed to lose, now finds himself a homeless tramp after the Russian mafia bet on him and lost, and took revenge against him. They killed his pregnant wife and told him they’d kill anyone he ever befriended. After returning to New York, it’s revealed he was a cop who turned in his fellow corrupt officers yet that went nowhere except he got ostracized. About to commit suicide, he witnesses a young chinese girl being pursued by the same Russians that killed his wife, and he intervenes.
What follows is very satisfying action against criminals and corrupt cops. As his character says, “I don’t collect garbage. I dispose of it.” And how very nice of him to help the New York police clean house. The girl that he helps is a young chinese girl with perfect memory that the Chinese mafia uses to replace computers and has memorized a long number which is of much importance to all corrupt individuals and criminals alike. It turns out to be a combination for a safe.
Jason Statham’s character, Luke Wright, is revealed to be more than just a cop but a special favor called in. A killer for the police who helped the mayor of New York clean out criminals. That was his past. It’s great to watch a character with nothing left to lose. The action is visceral, and hard hitting. And did I mention satisfying? I did, didn’t I? Because it is so much so. I will never advocate for violence against anyone but it is so satisfying on a fantasy level, and if you’re a corrupt individual or a criminal, well, you get what’s coming to you. If only the real world was as such, watching videos on reddit of corrupt cops and nothing being done aggravates many. It’s movies like this that allow the population some form of cathartic release. I spoke of this on another movie, Death Wish, and that reasoning is why so many of these movies are popular. Because the common people know that these individuals will not get any comeuppance, such as Tennessee trooper Harvey Briggs. The viral video with the officer in question shows clear signs of a power tripping individual, and as of yet, nothing has happened. Man has not been disciplined. If only they had their own Luke Wright. (Update: As of August 14th, he’s been terminated from his job. Too bad charges have yet to be laid.)
As for the acting itself, Statham delivers. Amidst the violence and grit, he shows off heart. Every single one of his blows packs a rewarding sound of impact, and that power fantasy of revenge gets fulfilled. The villains are honestly a little flat for me, merely simply caricatures of bad guys. However the police captain, played by Robert John Burke, he’s the only one I felt that could be terrifying because of the current political climate regarding cops. Knowing such an individual is overseeing an entire precinct is a bit scary, yet relevant, and probably not too far off from the truth. The head of the Chinese mafia played by James Hong was done well, if again, not as scary as the police captain. Reasoning is you know he’d kill you, whereas you place trust in the police and to have that overturned can be a nightmare.
Ultimately, it’s a fun movie to watch. And the ending is pleasant, our hero lives and the girl has a happy ending. It’s not one of Statham’s better movies, but it is pretty darn good if you fancy watching his movies. And I love watching them, so I might be biased for em.