Starring: Jason Statham & Jet Li.
Story: An FBI agent (Statham) hunts a rogue CIA assassin (Li) who murdered his partner. They both end up in the middle of a gang war between Triads and Yakuza in San Francisco.
Comments: Looking through some old reviews, I chanced upon my comments on Running Scared. Remember that one? Nope, I'm not surprised, I didn't really either. It's a by-the-numbers crime thriller with an ending so stupid I had to wipe it from my mind.
Then I watched War.
Woh, deja vu. (Though thankfully it wasn't Deja Vu deja vu. That would have been even worse.)
Yep, the film is OK but many of the elements feel included simply for the sake of it. In particular, there's a dull and superfluous car chase somewhere in the middle that's completely pointless. Nonetheless, War would be decent enough if the makers hadn't felt compelled to round it off with some unlikely revelations.
Imagine a world where at the end of Aliens the queen learns to tap-dance, where Love Actually culminates in a shoot out with vampires or where the final fight in The Matrix involves animated penguins.
Fortunately, War doesn't come from that world. It does come from somewhere fairly close by, however. To quote my Running Scared review, "There's a plot twist ten minutes from the end which is so sharp it dislocates the plot entirely. It essentially re-writes everything which has gone before, causing it to make much less sense. The resulting conclusion feels like it was stolen from a generic action movie." Since War is a pretty generic action movie to begin with, this isn't such a disaster but it doesn't exactly help matters.
Statham and Li make it all passable but even the added presence of Robert Downey Jr, Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock wouldn't make it great.
Conclusion: Shoot, hit, hack, drive, boom... forget.
Explosions: Two (because you can't have an action film without multiple explosions).
Car chases: One (because you can't have an action film without a car chase either, apparently).
Meetings in a strip club: One (because... well, take a guess...)
Cool, exciting plot twists you don't see coming: Two. (That's double the statutory requirement!)
Reasons you don't see them coming: One's rubbish and the other's insane.