Strike Back: Season 1 [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy]
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A high-octane, globe-spanning thriller with storylines ripped from today’s headlines, Strike Back is a one-hour drama series that focuses on two members of a top-secret anti-terrorist organization known as Section 20: Michael Stonebridge, a British sergeant in the ultra secret Section 20 anti-terrorist team, and Damien Scott, a Delta Forces operative who was disgraced and discharged on the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
When American cable viewers tuned in to the premiere Cinemax offering Strike Back in 2011, they were actually seeing the second series of a British TV show based on a popular novel by a former British military officer. Known in the United Kingdom as Strike Back: Project Dawn, the 10-part series follows the covert exploits of Section 20, a secret subgroup of Britain's MI6 intelligence agency. The series has a plot arc that extends across the entire season (carried over from the original six-episode first British series), but the hour-long installments are also divided into five two-part stories that stand alone in the larger storyline. The overlying plot concerns a brilliant Armageddon-obsessed terrorist named Latif (Jimi Mistry), who is the target of Section 20's global manhunt. The two field agents on Latif's tail are Michael Stonebridge (Philip Winchester), of the British Special Air Services, and Damien Scott (Sullivan Stapleton), a disgraced American Special Forces alpha dog now working as a contract officer for Section 20. While they follow leads and stay one step behind Latif, Stonebridge and Scott buddy-buddy their way from New Delhi to South Africa, Darfur, Kosovo, Chechnya, and Budapest, leaving a trail of bullet-riddled corpses and sexually satisfied women strewn in their wake. Strike Back unabashedly revels in extreme bloody violence and gratuitous soft porn (they don't call it "Skinemax" for nothing), along with the jargon-heavy tradecraft of realistic counterterrorism dramas like 24, Homeland, and The Unit. The writing is often very good, with a ripped-from-the-headlines vibe that makes for taut narrative structure and plenty of suspenseful action. (The first two episodes portray the siege of a hotel based on the 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai.) Stonebridge and Scott trade a breathless stream of foul-mouthed one-liners and spy lingo between the prolific and often shockingly offhanded violence. Their standing orders seem to be shoot first, kill the people who have the information they need, and damn the innocent civilians who get between their automatic weapons and the terrorists, warlords, drug kingpins, and arms dealers in their sights. The duo have a knack for blundering into situations and blowing their covers for the sake of gun-blazing action rather than quiet intelligence gathering, which certainly packs the show with exciting fun. Despite the superfluous displays of flesh and absurdly high body count, Strike Back is a cracking serial thriller with high-level production standards that are consistently first-rate. The actors in Section 20's support staff make for a fine ensemble, and their crosscut operations maintain a credible level of detail in the multiple story threads that wind through the entire series. Including Jimi Mistry, there is an impressive cast of guest stars that add gravitas even as the mayhem threatens to devolve into the cartoonish. Liam Cunningham plays a psychopathic ex-IRA terrorist hungry for bio-weapons in one two-parter, and Iain Glen is a morally conflicted arms dealer in another. The show does sustain a high level of integrity; key characters are dispatched as the episodes count down to the ultimate face-off with Latif and the way is cleared for another season. While Cinemax continues the search for its golden show, Strike Back is a perfectly fine diversion. --Ted FrySee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Now, on the positive side... It goes without saying that Philip Winchester as Stonebridge and Sullivan Stapleton as Damien Scott are absolutely inspired. This is a buddy show, and these two guys are perfect buddies in that time-honoured tradition - with Winchester the "straight" guy and Stapleton the "loose (but dependable) cannon." They are also allowed at times (never for long) to have fun, and that element of intermittent delight was never written into the (earlier) UK season one (see my review of Chris Ryan's Strike Back). As to the production budget, it's obviously of good size, and thus we are able to travel the world (literally) with our protagonists.Read more ›
This review is for Season 1 (Also known as "Project Dawn"). If you haven't watched any of the other seasons, this is the best place to start because it begins with the events that lead to the teaming of the two main characters: Sergeant Michael Stonebridge (an exceptional Special Forces (SAS) soldier who works for Section 20, a covert unit of the British Military Intelligence conducting high-risk counterterrorism operations across the globe) and Sergeant Damien Scott (an ex-US Army Delta Force operative who was relieved of duty during the war in Irak under questionable circumstances, the official reason given was that he had an attitude problem, that he was unsubordinate, ...).
The differences between these two men and the evolution of their relationship as soldiers and as friends is key to this series. The chemistry between the two actors (Philip Winchester and Sullivan Stapleton, an Aussie playing the US Delta Force guy) is amazing. They become buddies despite their differences and they learn to appreciate the other guy's qualities (on and off the battlefield). The interaction between the two characters and the dialogues are great. They throw each other some great one-liners and they can also talk about serious stuff.
The other characters are also good and the overall acting level is great within the context of the series. There is a tone to the series and the acting is consistent. My personal opinion is that Season 1 is definitely one of the best of the whole four seasons.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
bought it as a gift for someone who watches the show. They loved itPublished 7 months ago by 123 review
great serie with lot of action and suspence i love it...Published on July 29 2014 by Gilles.du Quebec
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