When we meet Jason Statham's 'old school' style copper, he's battering some nasty street thugs with a hurley club.
The characters in Blitz, the film quickly makes it clear, are from the 'real world' not the PC world. There are dirty cops, hookers, homophobia, and some nasty violence. What makes Blitz work is the way it handles these and turns it all into a watchable mix thts less offensive than it sounds. With a slightly '70s feel, and the gritty 'nasty killer at work in a grimy world' atmosphere of the best of the 'Prime Suspect' series, Blitz centres around a killer who suddenly and nastily starts murdering cops.
Into this mix steps Paddy Considine as an openly gay Sergeant promoted in charge of the investigation. Considine is typically excellent, his character largely avoiding stereotypical pitfalls, except having a penchant for neatness and a 'minimalist' flat - and he has unexpected storyline layers that enrich the tale.
Aiden Gillen has never been better, his 'Blitz' a nasty, rat-like piece of work, all repressed cowardice, bitterness and sadism - far superior to his fey turn as a bad guy in 'Shanghai Knights'. Here he even looks skinny and roughed up, his character convincingly 'lived in'.
The violence is frequent and brief, but occasionally shocking, and the film's story takes us on a journey that's exciting at best and at least interesting at worst.
The ending may feel a little 'contrived', but when thought about afterwards it makes perfect sense. Its a richly plotted thriller that certainly feels like it's still got one foot in its crime novel roots.
Worth a look for fans of British thrillers.