When reviewing a film, I usually like to find similar films to compare it to. In the case of War, the film it is most like is Groundhog Day, not because of any similarities in content, but for the feeling it’s a film we’ve seen over and over again.
Jason Statham is an FBI agent called Jack Crawford, which is in itself unoriginal as Jack Crawford is already the name of the FBI head honcho in the Hannibal trilogy. When his partner is murdered by the Japanese mafia, he goes on a revenge mission against the mysterious assassin responsible (Jet Li). I don’t know how Hollywood keeps coming up with such fresh and original ideas.
It’s a case of style over substance, as the action formula is followed. To its credit, the action is tidily done, and there’s not really a slow moment. As formulaic action films go this isn’t terrible, even sneaking in a couple of marginally surprising moments to keep things interesting.
The main problem is its two stars. I never managed to work out if Statham was trying to do an American accent or not, but he sounds like Christian Bale’s comedy Batman voice all the time. It was ok in moderation in the Dark Knight Trilogy, but when Statham constantly talks in his gruff way it sounds like he’s trying far too hard to be tough.
Li is even worse, however, due the simple fact that he can’t act in English (see The Expendables. Actually, no. Don’t). Instead of sounding like a cool and deadly martial arts master he sounds like a confused tourist, intonating badly through his thick accent. Not very intimidating at all.