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Published February 2nd, 2007 | by Mike Barnard

War Review

Classification: 18 Director: Philip Atwell Rating: 1.5/5

Pitting Jet Li against Jason Statham in an action movie must have seemed like such a sure-fire idea. One has become renowned for his fast martial arts expertise, the other has fashioned himself into a brute force action star. Putting them together should have been a guaranteed pugilistic treat as the deft skills of Li go fist-to-fist with the with the brawn of Statham. We all know they can fight thanks to countless movies such as The One, Hero, Fearless, Crank and the two Transporter efforts – facing them off against each other should have been a no-brainer martial arts epic. But it isn’t. War somehow manages to waste the talents of both to leave a run-of-the-mill cop verses outlaw movie.

Statham plays FBI agent Jack Crawford, whose partner and family are murdered by infamous yet elusive assassin Rouge (Li). Racked with guilt, Jack’s life spirals out of control until three years later when Rouge resurfaces in San Francisco to settle a score of his own. With Jack finally able to plot his revenge, he gets on the trail of Rouge’s plan to ignite a bloody crime war between Asian mob rivals Chang (Lone) of the triads and Yakuza boss Shiro (Ishibashi). There’s plenty of talk and potential to fit in some classic fight scenes featuring all involved, but it amounts to only a few moments of any interest.

Despite the fighting skills of both the leads Statham spends most of his time simply running around and Li rarely does anything more than swing a sword or shoot a gun for his kills. They come together for a couple of brief stares before the long-awaited face-off, however it’s a disappointing show-down. It seems the filmmakers couldn’t get Li and Statham in the same place together to actually fight so when they did, the scene was rushed through to get it done.

When the twist arrives a sudden end dissolves all understanding of what went on before and War becomes forgettable. There are enough flashy camera angles, smart suits, murders, big talk and expensive cars on show to pass the time, just don’t get excited by the thought of Statham going toe-to-toe with Li.

Audio commentaries, trivia track, feature, deleted/extended scenes, scoring war, gag reel.

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