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Welcome to the Punch (2013)


Average Rating: 5.6/10
Reviews Counted: 49
Fresh: 25 | Rotten: 24

Critics Consensus: Welcome to the Punch is a little deeper and more thoughtful than most police dramas -- but not quite enough to surmount its thinly written characters and numbing violence.

Average Rating: 5.5/10
Critic Reviews: 10
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 7

Critics Consensus: Welcome to the Punch is a little deeper and more thoughtful than most police dramas -- but not quite enough to surmount its thinly written characters and numbing violence.


User Ratings: 7,469


Movie Info

Former criminal Jacob Sternwood is forced to return to London from his Icelandic hideaway when his son is involved in a heist gone wrong. This gives detective Max Lewinsky one last chance to catch the man he has always been after. As they face off, they start to uncover a deeper conspiracy they both need to solve in order to survive.

R (for violence and language)
Action & Adventure , Art House & International , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Jul 23, 2013
Box Office:
IFC Films - Official Site



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Critic Reviews for Welcome to the Punch

All Critics (49) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (25) | Rotten (24)

"Welcome to the Punch" is derivative, dumb fun.

Full Review… | March 29, 2013
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

One straight-faced gunfight after another, signifying nothing.

Full Review… | March 29, 2013
New York Post
Top Critic

Despite its visual polish and fine ensemble, this British police drama is strictly by-the-numbers.

Full Review… | March 28, 2013
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

It becomes something of a disquisition on mortality in spite of itself.

Full Review… | March 28, 2013
AV Club
Top Critic

Empty, pointless and stupid, the barrage of gunfire called Welcome to the Punch is another unappealing entry in the overworked British gangster genre.

Full Review… | March 27, 2013
New York Observer
Top Critic

Part of the pleasure of watching a movie like "Welcome to the Punch" is peeling away the multiple layers of inspiration, isolating the allusions and figuring out if they're what works or whether the movie earns a little credit.

Full Review… | March 26, 2013
New York Times
Top Critic

Welcome to the Punch is a crowd-pleaser with a minimalistic attitude.

Full Review… | August 11, 2014
Film School Rejects

While it remains mildly entertaining throughout, Welcome to the Punch lacks the snap, crackle, and pop of other contemporary examples of the genre

Full Review… | July 26, 2013
Film Racket

Creevy's ambitions are admirable and he creates an impressive sense of atmosphere throughout, but it's let down by a sketchy plot and surface-level characters.

Full Review… | July 25, 2013
Flix Capacitor

Welcome To The Punch should feel a little grander, like it's on a bigger scale to match the wide-ranging plot.

Full Review… | June 12, 2013
Fan The Fire

What really registers in WELCOME TO THE PUNCH is the chase scenes and the high intensity with which it all plays out.

Full Review… | May 3, 2013
Common Sense Media

Thankfully, a cast of solid U.K. actors pick up the slack, bringing intensity and behavioral nuance to an otherwise airy actioner that feels severely pared down from its original intent.

Full Review… | April 19, 2013

When Max finally gets a chance to ask Jacob why the killer didn't kill him when he had the chance, the answer's as unsatisfying as the movie.

Full Review… | April 11, 2013

Fast-paced storytelling can't seem to hide Welcome To The Punch's tastelessly cookie-cutter script, created using material from every action thriller cliché you can rattle off the top of your head.

Full Review… | April 1, 2013
We Got This Covered

Angry men mumble as they point guns at each other in a series of standoffs in Welcome to the Punch, and it almost works.

Full Review… | March 28, 2013

McAvoy keeps trying to become the Scottish Tom Cruise. In action pictures, he's more the Scottish Michael J. Fox.

Full Review… | March 27, 2013
Movie Nation

A super solid action flick. Strong and McAvoy are terrific, and the film oozes style. Fans of Michael Mann or vintage John Woo need to check this out.

Full Review… | March 27, 2013
JoBlo's Movie Emporium

Ultimately a case of style over substance, and one that its top-notch British ensemble is unable to rescue.

Full Review… | March 26, 2013

The sheer wastefulness of Eran Creevy's Welcome to the Punch is off-putting enough, but the film is also falsely painted-up as a crime epic.

Full Review… | March 26, 2013
Slant Magazine

Audience Reviews for Welcome to the Punch


Welcome to the Punch has a great cast but unfortunately no one in particular gives a great performance except for maybe Johnny Harris. If only they had spent more time writing a good script for all the great and unused actors instead of messing about with bleak, slightly modern looking locations around London it could have been something worthwhile. The fact that they cut and copied so many famous parts of London annoyed me. Eran Creevy has said in interviews that he wanted to do a London film, in and around the City itself but all we get is crappy office buildings and industrial estates with a fake Canary wharf background. There are a couple of great scenes, notably the one with the brilliant (but underused) Ruth Sheen and the music and sound is amazing. Apart from that, it's forgettable and amateurish. Amateurish with fancy cameras and a great cast wasted. A real shame, this country needs to make some decent films quick!

Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer

A real knockout of an action movie that delivers some solid fire-power and star-power. It's a stunning, gripping and intelligent action-thriller. It's stylish, compelling and filled with twist and turns that just keep you going right to the very end. A heart-pounding, exhilarating and hard-boiled thrill-ride. It's intensely character-drawn, wonderfully crafted, and tremendously entertaining. The characters have some great moments together, as well as some very gripping moments that just keep you satisfied. It has a Heat element to it. A dynamite action picture and character piece. A fast-paced, razor-sharp and wickedly cool thriller that's packed with explosive action and sizzling suspense. This movie rocks, I loved it for it's story and two magnificent leads, who are just great to watch together. James McAvoy and Mark Strong are sensational, the two of them are just a dynamite team on the screen. They start off as enemies and reluctantly team-up to achieve vengeance and redemption for their characters and uncover the truth. It's in no way a buddy film for these two, but it dose not mean you wont be satisfied with their performances. McAvoy is sharp and thrilling. Strong is magnetic and compelling. Peter Mullan is terrific.

Al S

Super Reviewer


Good vs. bad: mutations of evil and forgiveness

Mediocre movie! Whilst the casting was strong, the acting solid and the film itself is shot beautifully, I couldn't help but leave feeling I'd been robbed of a real movie, a real ending. Whilst there are moments when unexpected gunshots will cause you jump a good couple of feet out the chair, there are only so many shoot-outs you can sit through before wondering if anyone even knows how to use a gun. Especially when the people using them are supposedly some of the best marksmen around. So whilst there are tales of corruption, unexplained changes of heart and some shocking, upsetting moments, the storyline becomes relatively predictable too early on for my liking and the film seems to come to a sudden, abrupt end. If you're looking to be entertained for just under a couple of hours without questioning too much, this is the film for you. If like me you expect more from a movie with a cast and the budget shown, prepare to leave the screen feeling as if you've been poked a few times in the arm, hardly punched.

Former criminal Jacob Sternwood is forced to return to London from his Icelandic hideaway when his son is involved in a heist gone wrong. This gives detective Max Lewinsky one last chance to catch the man he has always been after. As they face off, they start to uncover a deeper conspiracy they both need to solve in order to survive.

Manu Gino

Super Reviewer


This film marks the start of a trilogy of UK ventures from actor James McAvoy in 2013. It was released practically back to back with Danny Boyle's "Trance" and an adaptation of the Irvine Welsh novel "Filth" will complete McAvoy's year. Let's just say that he hasn't got off the best of starts with this one.
During the pursuit of master criminal
Jacob Sternwood (Mark Strong), doggedly determined policeman Max Lewinsky (James McAvoy) is shot in the leg which allows Sternwood to escape. Now disgraced within his precinct, Lewinsky believes he will never get the chance bring Sternwood to justice. That is, until Sterenwood is forced out of hiding to return to London from his Icelandic hideaway and hunt down the man responsible for shooting his son. Lewinsky is given the perfect opportunity to rescue his reputation but he also uncovers a deeper conspiracy involved.
I've said it countless times before but I'm afraid I'm going to have to say it again; I'm not a massive fan of the action genre. I find it all a bit hollow and the story and logic always suffer for the sake of set-pieces and excitement. This has that very same problem. The reason I went into this was for the actors and the curiosity of how a British made movie, in this genre, could compete in terms with the U.S. At least, on both these accounts, I wasn't disappointed. McAvoy, once again, proves his leading man credentials with fine support by Mark Strong and British character actors like Peter Mullan, David Morrissey and Johnny Harris. The film's, near futuristic, look and gritty feel is also perfectly fitting and for a change, a British action movie handles itself just as well as any other. However, it's ultimately no different from the mind-numbing, generic dross that this genre so often delivers and the plot, as expected, has holes aplenty. In fact, they are so wide, they are actually quite offensive. Despite it trying to play clever and keep it's cards close to it's chest, it's all rather predictable and leaves you with the feeling that you've just wasted your time. Eran Creevy does well in the directing stakes and conducts his action set-pieces with impressive ease but his script has more creeks and holes than his protagonist's dodgy knee. If it wasn't for the committed actors and the neon-infused cinematography by Ed Wild, this would be a complete write-off.
With a better script and more respect for the audience this could have been a lot better. Sadly, it has neither of these and carries so much self-indulgence it would be more aptly titled... Welcome to the Paunch.

Mark Walker

Mark Walker

Super Reviewer

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