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Movie Review: War

Directed by Philip G. Atwell
Written by Lee Anthony Smith and Gregory J. Bradley

On paper, pitting B-action king Jason Statham against legendary martial arts star Jet Li looks like pure gold.  But it seems like many times filmmakers aren’t satisfied with the B-movie label, fearing it inferior to movies that aim higher.  So, War is one of those movies that bloats what should just be a kickass action film into something it’s not.

Jack Crawford (Statham) is an FBI agent whose partner Tom Lone (Terry Chen) along with Lone’s wife and kid are offed by a mysterious killer named Rogue (Jet Li).  Rogue has that Keyser Soze kind of legend built around him where some people don’t think he exists, but nonetheless Crawford is looking for some revenge big time and tries to track him down.

Three years after the killings, Crawford begins seeing Rogue’s handiwork again: he’s killing off large crime families in the Yakuza and Triad organizations, and he double-crosses everyone he meets that has been benefiting from his murders.  We don’t know who Rogue works for or what his motivations are; the film wants to keep this a secret for a reason.

And since this is the case, the movie seems like a laborious build-up to a surprise ending that was probably written in the film’s pitch.  They had to find some sort of story to fill in the rest, and occasionally you get some action, but mostly this is just a wind-up like M. Night Shyamalan’s worst films.  A movie with a surprise ending like this should have lots of meaty tidbits inbetween so that the narrative doesn’t rely on the whopper at the end.

Statham doesn’t even have much of a chance to be cool and Jet Li doesn’t really shine either.  Kind of a letdown when you have those two in the same film, you can’t come up with some decent thrills.

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