Welcome to the Punch is a 2013 British action drama thriller directed by Eran Creevy, executive produced by Ridley Scott and starring James McAvoy, Mark Strong, David Morrissey, Peter Mullan, Daniel Mays, Johnny Harris, Andrea Riseborough and Jason Flemyng.
Detective Max Lewinsky (McAvoy) chases master thief Jacob Sternwood (Strong) avoiding his superior's orders and ends up defeated by Sternwood. However, Sternwood leaves him alive with a shot in the leg. Three years later, Jacob’s son, Ruan, is arrested at the airport forcing him to get out of his retirement in Iceland. As soon as Jacob returns to London, detective Lewinsky traces him back but some dirty circumstances within their environments turn them into unexpectable allies.
While it initially appears as yet another obsessive detective chasing criminals from his past, Welcome to the Punch is actually more complex than this. This complexity doesn't, however, intrude on the gun death-heavy action.
This film contains examples of:
- Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: The film relies on this. It has spectacular action sequences when it is required, like the chase scene at the beginning or the shooting at the disco. But there are very quiet intimate moments like the scene in the morgue when Jacob sees his son's corpse.
- Affably Evil: Jacob Sternwood is a criminal, but has standards.
- Arrested for Heroism: At the end, Lewinsky is surrounded by his colleagues led by his subordinate Juka Ogadowa, having uncovered a massive conspiracy to arm the police, change the government and secure the lucrative contract for police arms and training for a large corporation only to be arrested for a crime he hadn't committed.
- Bittersweet Ending: Dean and Geiger have been finally killed, Sternwood got his revenge but Lewinsky is arrested by his police colleagues for the law-breaking issues he has done and possibly for suspicion of Sarah’s murder.
- Broken Pedestal: Geiger is considered like a father figure and a friend to Lewinsky as he helps him with the investigation, but in the end he is a corrupt cop like the others.
- Choke Holds: Dean kills Sarah by choking her to death.
- Color-Coded Patrician: In the opening robbery, Sternwood and his gang are wearing identical suits and motorcycle helmets. Fortunately, he's the only one wearing a red tie, enabling Lewinsky to single him out.
- Couldn't Find a Pen: Sarah writes notes on her hand. This becomes a Chekhov's Gun Dead-Hand Shot when she's murdered.
- Don't Tell Mama: Dean's granny doesn't know anything about her grandson's criminal career.
- The Dragon: Dean Warns, ex-soldier, and the man who does most of the dirty work for the film's true villain.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Dean Warns is an arrogant and ruthless goon with no remorse, but he has some heart for his grandmother and stays with her watching films while he's not on duty. Sternwood and Lewinsky use this and take her hostage so that he can confess.
- Frame-Up: Sarah is murdered by Dean and then placed in Lewinsky's bed. Juka finds and takes her to the morgue, where he faces Lewinsky thinking that he killed her.
- Friendly Enemy: Lewinsky and Sternwood are forced to become allies because of the deaths of Ruan and Sarah, Lewinsky's partner.
- Gory Discretion Shot: After Lewinsky kills Dean by shooting his head, blood splatter over a container.
- Handicapped Badass: Jacob shoots Max down in the Opening Case and cripples his knee in the process. However, this doesn't stop Max from chasing after the suspects, jumping through windows and over car bonnets.
- Heartbroken Badass: Lewinsky after Sarah died. Sternwood is a non-romantic variant, being broken by the death of his son.
- Hollywood Healing: Averted; Lewinsky's Knee-capping affects him both physically and emotionally.
- Honey Trap: Sarah seduces a dockworker so that she can investigate the containers.
- I Can't Feel My Legs!: Roy jokes about this after he is shot and injured by Dean.Jacob: How ya doing?Roy: (gritted teeth) I can't feel my legs, Jake.Jacob: (concerned) Really?Roy: (normally) Fuck off.
- I Have Your Wife: Subverted. Sternwood and Lewinsky, the main characters, take Dean's granny hostage, but she is not aware of it.
- Inspector Javert: Lewinsky subverts this. In the first half of the movie, he is in pursuit of Jacob Sternwood. Then circumstances change dramatically for both Lewisnky and Sternwood, becoming temporal allies.
- Instant Death Bullet: Averted by Ruan Sternwood in the opening. He gets shot in the chest, but manages to escape, get to an airport, board a plane, and try to disembark before succumbing to his wound.
- It's Personal: Lewinsky holds a huge grudge toward Sternwood after he shot him in the knee and escaped, though Sternwood doesn't share his animosity.
- Mandatory Unretirement: Sternwood has to come out from his Icelandic retirement because of Ruan's arrest.
- Manly Tears: Both Max and Jacob share them. Jacob when he sees his son in the morgue and Max after realising that most of his colleagues are corrupt and Sarah was killed because she was about to uncover it. He is also framed up as her murderer.
- Not What It Looks Like: Max Lewinsky is forced to take London crook Jacob Sternwood to the hospital to see his son; Sternwood is holding a gun in his pocket. As they're leaving the hospital, they encounter another detective helping wheel a sheet-covered body into the morgue. Lewsinsky starts to explain that his being with a wanted criminal isn't what it looks like, but unbeknownst to him, the body is that of his female partner and Lewsinsky has been framed for her murder, so the detective isn't interested in his explanation.
- Shotguns Are Just Better: Subverted. In the final shootout, everyone goes for assault rifles as their main weapons, but Lewinsky keeps a shotgun as his backup. He uses it to kill Dean.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Max Lewinsky and Sarah Hawks. It is implied especially when they almost kiss. Then the trope is literally invoked as Sarah is murdered by Dean.
- You Wouldn't Shoot Me"You think that keeping a hostage is going to force me into a corner? But none of you have been where I have, seen what I've seen. None of you have the selfless commitment. And not one of you possesses what it takes...to actually put a bullet through the back of that woman's head." (shootout ensues)