When FBI Agent Tom Lone (Terry Chen) gets murdered, his partner, Jack Crawford (Jason Statham), vows revenge. Several years later, Crawford finally catches up to his partner’s killer, the elusive assassin known as Rogue (Jet Li), and finds himself caught in the middle of a feud between two rival gangs.
War is your average action film, chock full of explosions and violence, with not much plot (at least until the end). Jet Li is one of my favorite action stars, and I have enjoyed many of Jason Statham’s movies, so it was fun to see them work together. If you enjoy any of Li’s or Statham’s other action movies, War is the movie for you.
Action sequences felt more believable than in other action movies. Not a lot of wire stunts were done (at leas t that I could see), so it added a sense of realism that usually isn’t present in movies containing martial arts. But then again, for two action stars know for their fighting skills, not a lot of it was on display. When Li and Statham finally meet, the fight felt a little lackluster. I think some of feeling was because I expected something more exaggerated from a fight between these two action heavyweights.
But throughout the rest of the film, there was a nice mix of action scenes, including hand-to-hand combat, gun battles, explosions, and a few sword fights. There was a little bit of everything. Most action films tend to have a camera style that is very jerky and utilizes quick cuts, but War did a good job of not following that convention. Shots were tight at times, but it wasn’t shaky, allowing the action to be easily visible without leaving the audience wondering what is happening.
With one character trying to play both sides, the plot can be hard to follow at times. I had some difficulty keeping up with who the character was working with/for, which made me lose interest in for a while. At the end, everything was explained, but it was a pain to get there. Also at the end there was a series of reveals that were pretty good and made the rest of the movie worthwhile.
It seems small, but something cool for the movie was the way the subtitles were done. Since one gang is Chinese and the other is Japanese, there are a lot of subtitles. To differentiate between the two languages, one was done in red and the other in yellow. As I said, it’s something small, but it’s a nice touch.
The action of War is much more realistic and not so over-the-top than other action films. The several plot twists and reveals at the end help make up for some of the shortcomings during the rest of the movie. Although War isn’t anything groundbreaking, it still offers all the break-neck action you could have hoped for.