Chris Ryan's Strike Back [DVD]
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Based on ex-SAS man Chris Ryan's bestseller Strike Back is a story of deception, redemption and revenge, all played out in the interlinked lives of two former soldiers; Major Hugh Collinson and discharged veteran John Porter. Their paths last crossed seven years ago. Now, amidst a new hostage crisis in the Middle East, their lives are about to collide again.
It’s 1993, Basra City and Porter leads a team to rescue a kidnapped British businessman. The decisions taken on that night inexorably unite the fate of both Porter and Collinson. Porter bares the burden of guilt and the repercussions haunt him for years, until an opportunity presents itself for him to return to Iraq and redeem himself.
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This does have some subtitles [even with subtitles off] in order to translate the ‘local’ languages. When released many of the topics and circumstances depicted or discussed were current which gave this a reality and edge not found in many action dramas. The gung ho atmosphere generally rings true to life –not over hype, but there are some glaring errors made in the name of action drama.
Disc one holds the first episode, extras [making of, guns & ammo, locations] and subtitles [on/off]. The second disc has the remaining 2 episodes and subtitles [on/off]. Rated 15 this has profanity [including F word], frank adult talk, realistic violence, attempted rape and intense action scenes and some male bare bottom nudity could make this uncomfortable ‘family’ viewing for some, but if you like plenty of action and a decent plot-line, this will do the job.
Three feature-length episodes, all of them gripping - high body counts guaranteed, as are gruelling chases, explosions, last minute rescues. This, though, is not simply gung-ho fare with Porter a one-dimensional action man. At times, emotions briefly overwhelm, he affected by the loss of those held in high regard. Nor is this simple conflict between Good and Bad. Both sides contain a mixture of both - genuine idealists and ruthless opportunists, with quite a range in between. The unexpected humour is welcome, Porter occasionally with intriguing companions on his exploits (not least Ewen Bremner, who manages to be both manic and moving).
Throughout the aim is realism. Bonuses tell of the efforts to get everything right, experts always at hand to advise. For example, Armitage's body building must not be the type secured in a gym, but the result of the rigid training army personnel have to undergo. Undergo he did - as did the others.
Here is an excellent example of a series that does exactly what it sets out to do, all concerned rising to the challenge. I had not intended to watch everything in one go, but from the start was totally hooked.
Richard Armitage (as John Porter) holds his own and really makes the show, as the central Damaged Hero, and total badass – channeling guys like Rambo & Mclean – and could probably take on Jack Bauer in a fight; not even kidding! As the series sprints forward, the main backstory becomes more intricate, and interlinked with the current missions. The episodes which are decadently overflowing with set-pieces, deception, betrayal, action, adrenalin and politics – are all surprisingly believable, at least until the Scottish hacker pops up in the final mission.
Strike Back is like a mythical unicorn hiding in the TV Schedule: an action-heavy, huge-budget, Movie-styled TV show consisting of 3 interlinked adrenaline-soaked 90-minute episodes that truly raise the action bar. Action fans rejoice!
Score: 8.5/10 - From ParagraphFilmReviews dot com
What you get is alot of bangs for your bucks, big toys for big boys, an unfeasibley teflon coated hero with a bit of drama thrown into the pot, stirred well over a simmering heat and presto ! Chris Ryans Strike Back is served !
All the action sequences - and there many -have an authentic feel, its well filmed on cinema standard 35mm and to my,admittedly ignorant,eye all the main "theatres" -Basra-Zimbabwe-Afghanistan felt real.
The strongest drama was probably the first episode ,particularily the hostage scenes the weakest the last, where you really do have work hard to suspend your disbelief at times.
All said and done tho' this is exciting stuff helped on by an exhilerating music score.Best actor was Orlah Brady's hostage..nothing wrong with Richard Armitage he starts off seeming a bit wooden but that is how his character is supposed to be ,slowly "humanising" over the entire piece..ironically the exact opposite of Lucas North in the very poor last Spooks (in my opinion!).
All the actors do their best with what they given but RA apart I found the "regulars" a bit uninvolving..the "guests" in the three episodes seemed to get the best parts and they really make the series.
All in all ,if you like action drama that you can just park your brain and sit back and enjoy for what it is ..and don't we all from time to time..This is for YOU (and Me)..now what's Hamlet doing with that Kalashnikov.?
NB One major spoiler gripe..why oh why do "they" put the extras on Disc 1.?Because if you make the mistake of watching them before going on to 2 it will spoil your enjoyment.. DON'T !..you have been warned..
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