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After his partner Tom Lone and family are killed apparently by the infamous and elusive assassin Rogue, FBI agent John Crawford becomes obsessed with revenge as his world unravels into a vortex of guilt and betrayal. Rogue eventually resurfaces to settle a score of his own, setting off a bloody crime war between Asian mob rivals Chang of the Triad's and Yakuza boss Shiro. When Jack and Rogue finally come face to face, the ultimate truth of their pasts will be revealed. Written by
Jason Statham is the new electrifying action star. Statham is an amazing athlete and accomplished martial artist. However, Jet Li is still the screen's most explosive martial arts star. Be reassured that Li has not yet retired from doing action movies. Old school Li looks lean, calm, and stylish in his black Armani suits, and proves deadly with and without guns. Li is such a dichotomy. On the surface he is clean cut and mild mannered; but can unleash violence with such power and grace at any moment. Director Philip Atwell's "War" takes a while to get its bearing, but once he does so he orchestrates an amazing action movie of blood and vengeance. He along with writers Lee Anthony Smith and Gregory J. Bradley culminates with anticipated payoff: Statham and Li facing off. They also insert a shocking twist, which makes more sense in retrospect. The martial arts as choreographed by Corey Yuen ("Transporter" movies) are exquisite, and acknowledge for its variety. The Japanese katana training between Shiro (Ryo Ishibashi) and Kane Kosugi is classic. The kung fu sequences with Jet Li are crisp and deadly. Jason Statham uses speed and power in dispatching Chinese Triad assassins. There is an amazing sword fight scene with the Wu-shu style against the classical Japanese style. Through Atwell's lens, one has to admire the mastery and physical prowess. "War" is surprising.
Jason Statham plays FBI Agent Jack Crawford, who leads a task force against both the Chinese Triad led by Chang (cool John Lone) and the Yakuza led by Shiro (bold Ryo Ishibashi). Crawford's partner Tom Lone (Terry Chen) and his family are brutally murdered by the assassin known as Rogue. Crawford's life turns a shambleshis wife Jenny (Andrea Roth) and his son leave him during a divorce. Three years later Crawford investigates a horrific hit at a Yakuza club in San Francisco. A signature discovered at the crime scene leads Crawford to believe that Rogue (Li) is back. Consequently, Crawford (Statham) becomes consumed by vengeance. Jet Li plays Victor Shaw a deadly hit man playing both the Yakuza and Triads. Shaw apparently is the mysterious Rogue. However, as played by Li, Shaw though a stone cold killer without equal operates by a code of honor. He too seems on a mission of vengeance. Shaw is in the middle of an all out war between the Yakuza and the Triads. Nothing good can come of that. There is an interesting subplot involving priceless stolen Chinese artifacts, and the command of Yakuza operations in the States by Shiro's daughter Kira (deadly Devon Aoki). The appeal of "War" remains its singular focus: everything culminates in Crawford's mission of vengeance to kill Rogue. Writers Smith and Bradley effectively build the tension toward the finale, and final plot twist.
Atwell inspires strong performances from Jason Statham and Jet Li. Statham has a gruff charisma as Crawford. Also he demonstrates unexpected range in the character's complexity. Statham has a powerful physical presence and grace. Li is very good as Rogue. He plays to his strength which is expressing his anger and angst through his eyes and concise exchanges. He maintains a placid visage that disguises his sheer will and power. As Rogue it becomes crystal clear that one does not mess with him, less forfeit one's life. Even with some awkward dialog exchanges, Li is compelling and powerful. John Lone has a measured darkness as Chang, always under control. He is good. Ryo Ishibashi is great as the larger than life Shiro, providing is a captivating and powerful rival for both Li and Statham.
"War" is a solid action movie with great performances from Jason Statham and Jet Li. Statham and Li are at the top of their games. The action is very cool. The martial arts fights are among the best out there. Atwell's storytelling is engaging and intense, and delivers on all the hype.
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