War (R)

Action/Adventure 91 August 24, 2007
By Jim Ridley
What is it good for? Absolutely nothing. Offering neither the enjoyably preposterous auto-heroics of the Transporter movies nor the lithe, legible athleticism of even second-tier Hong Kong thrillers, the title-card matchup of just-below-A-list-stateside action heroes Jet Li and Jason Statham is pure straight-to-video rope-a-dope. The rip-off starts with the title: The battle, alas, is not between the stars — who have maybe three scenes together — but between rival Triad and Yakuza clans in San Francisco, set at each other's throats, Yojimbo-style, by Li's calculating assassin. Statham plays the lawman who lost his partner to the mysterious pro, which means this time it’s personal. To show his anguish, he chews a toothpick and keeps his stubble at regulation length for grieving. The stars don't face off until the finish, and given director Philip G. Atwell's overall ineptitude — attention-deficit editing, indifference to acting, lighting that seems to have been purchased cut-rate from a morgue — the big fight is less Thrilla in Manila than Disarray by the Bay, capped by a wan double-twist that ends exactly where The Departed started. Is this lemon the only joint star vehicle Li and Statham could find? In the immortal words of Edwin Starr: good God, y'all.
Phillip Atwell Jet Li, Jason Statham, John Lone, Matthew St. Patrick, Sung Kang, Nadine Velazquez, Kennedy Lauren Montano, Mark Cheng, Luis Guzman, Terry Chen Gregory Bradley, Lee Anthony Smith Steve Chasman, Christopher Petzel, Jim Thompson Lionsgate


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