In China, a young girl named Mei is discovered to be something of a maths expert. When the Triads cotton on to this, they take her to the States to use her brain to store the valuable information they'd rather not trust to a computer.
But they're in the middle of a turf war with their Russian counterparts in New York, and they'll stop at nothing to get their hands on Mei who is in possession of a code for a safe containing millions.
Meanwhile we meet Luke Wright (Jason Statham), a hard-as nails ex-cop getting by as a cage fighter. But he didn't go down in the round he was supposed to and so the Russians killed his wife and he's down on his luck and contemplating suicide when he saves Mei from the Russians who've kidnapped her.
Though it's quite an extended setup before we get to the action, it puts Luke in a situation where the only way is up for him, as well as adding a much needed element of humanity to his classical protector role, with Statham at his least monolithic and most sympathetic.
But the reason anyone buys a ticket to something like this is to see Statham taking names, and though what follows is done with little grace, it's muscular and pounding and unapologetic in its scale.
You know where you stand with a Jason Statham movie, and throwing him into a mix of gangsters and corrupt cops offers plenty of opportunity for ferocious action and fluidly orchestrated car chases. At times it seems it's one man against the entire city, and the body count is enormous.
It does tail off a bit in the final stretch when it starts trying to provide too much plot, and a lot of stuff is either wrapped up too neatly or left hanging. But until then, as Luke dispatches unholy retribution by fist and gun, the wrath of the righteous is immensely satisfying.
Director: Boaz Yakin
Running time: 94 mins
SILENT HOUSE (15)
IN this nonsensical remake of a Uruguayan chiller from last year, Elizabeth Olsen (above) and her father arrive at a secluded, rundown house, intending to fix it up. But mysterious noises soon start from upstairs and when her father goes missing, Olsen is trapped inside the house with no electricity and someone or something in there with her.
The proposed unique selling point of Silent House is that it was filmed entirely in a single take, which would be an undoubtedly impressive technical achievement were it not for the fact that this obviously isn't the case.
The joins are clearly visible and the loss of editing makes a relatively short movie protracted and dull, as we're forced to watch each uneventful moment that would otherwise be excised in a cut.
The fact this technique is used at all is nothing more than a gimmick intended to distract from the film's narrative shortcomings, and Olsen, doing little but scurry about in dank spaces, bathed in a nauseating greyness, soon becomes unspeakably boring.
Directors: Chris Kentis, Laura Lau
Running time: 85 mins
THE LUCKY ONE (12A)
THE latest schmaltzy romance to be adapted from the pen of Nicholas Sparks stars Zac Efron as a marine stationed in Iraq who spots a photograph on the ground and goes to pick it up, just as a bomb kills his comrades where he stood a moment before.
Back home and shell-shocked, he's looking for direction and answers and decides to track down the woman in the photo.
Rather improbably he manages to do so just by walking to Louisiana, and it's here he meets single mother Beth (Taylor Schilling) and starts working for her rather than telling her why he's there.
Their blossoming attraction is helped by a strong deep-south flavour and lovely golden photography that makes up for a gentle, fairly humdrum story.
An uneventful first half sets up the obstacles to come, and though heartfelt, it's far from cheese-free, with clunky direction and a ludicrous third act.
Efron's star quality goes some way to alleviating the blandness, but really if you've seen one Sparks film, you've seen 'em all.
Director: Scott Hicks
Running time: 100mins
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (u)
AS Disney continue to churn out 3D make-overs of their most beloved films for the sake of a few more bucks, we come to the arrival of the first ever animated film to be nominated for the best picture Oscar.
Beauty and the Beast is a dazzling musical that many still regard as the glistening peak of Disney's craft in the early 90s, as independent Belle journeys to the castle of the Beast to try to free her imprisoned father.
The fairytale is brought to stunning life thanks to memorable characters, intricate design and sublime songs but, as ever, ignore the pointless 3D and simply take the chance to see an animated masterpiece on the big screen for the first time in 20 years.
Directors: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise
Running time: 85 mins
BEING ELMO (U)
THIS delightful documentary follows puppeteer Kevin Clash (left) and his journey from being a young fan of Sesame Street to creating the persona and worldwide appeal of one its most beloved characters, Elmo.
You're not going to get much insight into Clash's personal life, only that he regrets that he spent more time working than with his daughter, which may have contributed to the failure of his marriage.
Nor is there any nod towards just how much money is made from the merchandising of Elmo.
Instead, like the little red Muppet himself, this is about being adorable.
It's about how Clash put so much of his own personality into Elmo, and the sheer amount of love and goodness he manages to imbue in a bundle of felt and fleece makes this lovely film a deeply moving one.
Director: Constance Marks
Running time: 76 mins
AMERICAN REUNION (15)
NO-ONE was really clamouring for this third sequel in the American Pie series, the first in nine years, which brings back all the original characters including the ones deemed too boring to be in part three.
Everyone has returned to their hometown for a high school reunion, with the focus on Jim and Michelle (Jason Biggs and Alyson Hannigan) who are in something of a married rut.
Meanwhile, others in the gang are having doubts about their respective relationships, but really it's a chance to relive their youth and get up to the bawdy hijinks that defined the series.
The off-the-leash Seann William Scott as the foul-mouthed Stifler still offers most value, and expanded roles for old hands Eugene Levy and Jennifer Coolidge as Jim's dad and Stifler's mom are welcome, but otherwise there aren't too many laughs, and nothing close to a stand-out sequence in between the laboured set-ups and missing punchlines.
But they're a likeable crew who at least realise they're much too old for this nonsense, and though it comes together nicely by the end, they really ought to be leaving this sort of thing to the Inbetweeners.
Directors: Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg