103 Min | Action – Crime – Thriller | September 2007
IMDB Rating: 6.2
Director: Philip G. Atwell
Starring: Jet Li, Jason Statham, Nadine Velazquez
War Review: The new martial arts-action film “War” comes to us from the former music video director Philip G. Atwell, who injects enough video music theatrics and over-the-top editing fused with Hong Kong-style cinematography and choreography for two established action veterans. “War” could have really been something amazing in that regard because we have two reasonably capable stars (Jet Li and Jason Statham) going head-to-head, toe-to-toe, big time, for the first time in a long time, on the big screen. This is something that even the most distinguished action movie fan would not have thought possible for a very long while. But sifting through the screenplay by Lee Anthony Smith and Gregory J. Bradley is too much of a chore, even if the movie suffers in a number of spots because of it.
The plot, as confusing and twisted as it is, begins with the brutal murder of an F.B.I. agent and his family. His partner, Jack Crawford (Statham), swears bloody vengeance on the mysterious assassin “Rogue” (Li), who is also playing rival Triad and yakuza crime families against each other. That’s really all that can be described without giving away plot details that will lead to a somewhat convoluted “big twist” ending. The film’s action scenes are what “War” is best at. As choreographed by Cory Yuen, the action is fast and furious. However, actually martial arts hand-to-hand combat is at a minimum and the film mostly focuses on your usual car chases and shoot-outs and gun-play (although there is a rather brief sword fight between Li and a yakuza crime boss toward the end). You would expect two heavy-hitters like Li and Statham to actually go to war in at least one scene.
In the end, “War” is yet another Hollywood action flick to serve up some sort of originality in East meets West culture-clashing. But like a lot of these flicks, much gets lost in the translation and as usual, your hopes for a truly good action film. But other than that, “War” makes up for its short-falls in stylish action scenes and the dedication Li has to the material.