A suicidal New Jersey cage fighter protects a young Chinese math prodigy from Triads, Russian gangsters, and corrupt cops in this action thriller from producer Lawrence Bender (PULP FICTION) and writer/director Boaz Yakin (FRESH, A PRICE ABOVE RUBIES). Ten-year-old Mei (Catherine Chan) is a genuine numbers wizard from Nanjing. Unfortunately, her unusual proficiency in mathematics has made her the target of Triad boss Han Jaio (James Hong), who abducts the young girl from her home and sends her to America to help keep his underhanded business dealings a well-guarded secret. Mei has the ability to store a virtual library of financial information in her head, and by having the young girl as his personal bookkeeper, Han is able to operate without fear of being implicated by a telling paper trail. Meanwhile, as Mei follows her new “father” Chang (Reggie Lee) on his many extortion outings, Luke Wright (Jason Statham) takes flight from the Russian mafia after botching a fixed fight and seeing his wife murdered in retribution. Mei’s and Luke’s fates collide, however, when, soon after Han Jiao makes the trip to America to give the young girl a secret number, the fallen fighter witnesses her fleeing from Russian gangsters just as he is about to take his own life. At that moment, Luke pulls himself back from the brink and decides to take action. But now Luke’s death wish may come true sooner than he anticipated; not only are the Triads and the Russians determined to get that number by any means necessary, but corrupt NYPD captain Wolf (Robert John Burke) is hell-bent on beating them to it — and has the power of the law on his side. As day turns to night, Luke realizes that his time is quickly running out. Perhaps if Luke can save Mei, he will have finally taken the first crucial steps down the road to redemption and toward a new life where he won’t have to fight in order to survive.
3 stars out of 4 — “Boaz Yakin’s slick direction, marked by quick cuts, unstinting energy and a lack of sentimentality, makes the action scenes satisfying.” (USA Today)
“Yakin gives his star plenty of room to look mean, think fast, drive faster, punch, quip….It’s a suitably grimy playground for action cinema’s reigning pit bull.” (Los Angeles Times)
3 stars out of 5 — “Yakin proves he can handle action well….And Statham embraces his role with relish…” (Total Film)
“[I]t shows Yakin remains a capable pair of hands when it comes to assembling old-school action material.” (Sight and Sound)
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