Mark Reviews Movies

WAR (2007)

1 ˝ Stars (out of 4)

Director: Philip G. Atwell

Cast: Jet Li, Jason Statham, John Lone, Devon Aoki, Luis Guzmán, Ryo Ishibashi

MPAA Rating:   (for sequences of strong bloody violence, sexuality/nudity and language)

Running Time: 1:43

Release Date: 8/24/07

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Capsule review by Mark Dujsik

The point of War is to pair up and set against each either the martial arts talents of stars Jet Li and Jason Statham, but the end result is a cliff notes version of an action movie. It has chases and fights, but they are so abridged none of them has enough momentum to earn involvement. Statham is FBI agent Jack Crawford, whose partner and his family are killed by a mysterious hitman. Three years later, the same hitman, only known as Rogue (Li), is still on the loose, covering his tracks, and apparently beginning a war between the Triads and the Yakuzas, while Crawford is still hunting him down. It's all an excuse for action scene, which would be fine if those sequences weren't so generic and anticlimactic. There's a chase on rooftops, a shootout at a teahouse, a motorcycle chase through the uncharacteristically flat streets of San Francisco, an assassination at a mansion, and etc., but nothing sets them apart from the countless similar scenes in the genre that have come before them. Fight choreographer Corey Yuen gives neither Li nor Statham an opportunity to flex whatever stunt potential they have, and director Philip G. Atwell is in rapid-fire mode, going for flair but ending up with redundancy. The script makes a deadly mistake near the end with a twist that tries to switch heroes but ends up making neither of them sympathetic in the slightest. When the finale comes along, the two men battling, and the movie finally owning up to its promised premise, it ends before it really gets started.

Copyright © 2007 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.

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