From Con Air to Tomb Raider, to The Expandables, Simon West’s name is synonymous with the big budget Hollywood action films so to take on an extremely low-budget affair in an attempt to give it an injection of West explosives could have only been a lapse of judgement and the end result is so laughably diabolical and utterly inconceivable the thought of a sequel only induces screams of save your money.
Based on the thriller novels from Duncan Falconer, Stratton already started with a major car crash, just a short number of weeks before filming was due to take place Henry Cavil dropped out of the picture which saw West replace his star with Dominic Cooper. Although Cooper, who has a habit of attaching himself to stinkers, turns in a decent performance, he simply can’t polish a turd of a script that starts off with a tension filled mission through water filled pipes then quickly disintegrates into a big puddle of wannabe Bourne clutter.
British Special Boat Service Commando Stratton (Dominic Cooper) a leading operative within the MI5, his life is his work and his home is a canal boat holed up in an undisclosed location within London. On a mission in the Middle East to collect a much sort after poison the retrieval goes horrendously wrong and Stratton and his partner have to fight their way out of a trap through speeding car chases and badly aimed gun shots which raise questions where were these special agents were actually trained, but this is just the first in the frown inducing action.
With the loss of his partner, Stratton heads back at the badly decorated MI5 offices a plan of action to find the culprit of the theft and thwart his plans to drop the deadly biochemical on the unsuspecting and innocent. With any plot of this vein, there is always that one mole within the MI5 who gives up the secrets and no sooner as the character appears on the screen its instantly inevitable they turn out to be that said person.
We dart back and forward from one mess to another, Doused in delusional dialogue and performances that raise the more than occasional eyebrow especially from Connie Nielsen who plays the commander in chief, Sumner, spouts of lengthy speeches that would put any sane person to sleep if it wasn’t for the dreadfully awful upper-class accent spewing from her mouth – it begged to question was this done for comedic effect? A lack of care given for any of the characters and the preposterous Bus chase across a busy central London and Thames boat chase that falls spectacularly flat gives an air of awkwardness for all those who signed up for the project.
Stratton’s only redeemable feature comes from Derek Jacobi, a minor player in a random subplot in which he plays a father like figure to Stratton with a penchant for naughty limericks. West has spoken about a possible sequel here, but unless it can find a bigger budget and a better screenwriter this one should be written off as a bad judgement.
Stratton is released September 1st.
DIRECTOR: Simon West
STARS: Dominic Cooper, Tom Felton, Tyler Hoechlin
RUNTIME: 94 Mins