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War

Douglas Curran/Lionsgate

Review in a Hurry:  What is it good for? Absolutely nothin', unless you're in the market for 90-plus minutes of vacant macho brooding, dog-eared action-flick clichés and so-so fight scenes that squander the talents of its star players.

The Bigger Picture:  Turns out the teaming of martial-arts maestro Jet Li and latter-day British badass Jason Statham isn't exactly an event of Ali-Frazier proportions, regardless of how much ass they've kicked—or how bloody good they've looked doing so—in recent years. War finds these two charismatic cats going capably through the motions in a revenge against the bastard who killed my partner melodrama, seasoned with some hard-hitting but forgettable action sequences and a dodgy ending that poses as a climactic twist.

Statham wields his impeccably furrowed brow and razor-sharp stubble as FBI agent Jack Crawford (no relation to the one in The Silence of the Lambs), whose elite unit specializes in tracking, pursuing and cleaning up after rival Asian gangs in San Francisco. After his partner falls victim to a bloody hit, Crawford finds himself fixated on a shadowy assassin known only as Rogue (Li). It's unclear which side of the burgeoning Yakuza-Triads feud Rogue is on, and finding out proves to be less about polite questions and Google searches than it is about steely threats, fierce gunplay and dialogue borrowed from every cops-and-mobsters movie you've ever seen.

Fight-scene choreographer Corey Yuen is the Balanchine of Hong Kong action, having branded countless films—including Statham's Transporter series and a number of Jet Li classics—with crackling kicks and flying fists. That's why it's a letdown to reach War's end credits and not feel the usual adrenaline aftershock. There are bullets and bruises aplenty here, but precious few of the superhuman leaps or gasp-inducing showdowns that a genre picture like this one demands.

The 180—a Second Opinion:  For a guy who's spent the last two decades punishing his body for a living, Jet Li is aging well. His turn as the stoic Rogue suggests a classic Hong Kong baddie as rendered by Harrison Ford. Give or take the language barrier, Li's stateside film career could easily have a life after death-defying-stunts.