Film review: Stratton, starring Dominic Cooper, tries to be a low-budget Bond but falls miserably short
Based on a series of novels by former commando Duncan Falconer, Stratton is a ropy spy thriller whose main feat seems to be pulling hammy performances out of Derek Jacobi and Connie Nielsen (Gemma Chan is good though)
Dreadful acting and ropy action sequences will likely doom this thriller to well-deserved obscurity. Directed by Simon West (The Expendables 2) and based on a series of novels by British writer and former commando Duncan Falconer, this clumsy actioner about the Royal Navy’s elite Special Boat Service even manages to draw a hammy performance out of venerable Shakespearean actor Derek Jacobi.
Stratton (Dominic Cooper) is a hard-hitting special ops officer with a reputation for not mincing his words. When his partner is killed in a botched mission, Stratton goes after the culprit, rogue Russian spy Barovksy (Thomas Kretschmann), who plans to wreak havoc on London with some deathly gas and a drone. But someone inside Stratton’s squad is passing on information to the enemy.
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Danish actress Connie Nielsen (Wonder Woman), who plays Stratton’s “M”-like boss, puts in an incredibly strange performance that appears to channel Queen Victoria’s regal aloofness. Jacobi plays an old codger with a love of boats, and doesn’t bother to try to make anything out of the bare-bones script. Only Gemma Chan comes out unscathed, in a limited role as computer whizz Aggy.
The story is routine spy thriller stuff. The stunt team try hard to liven things up, and there is a spirited attempt to make something of a chase with a London bus. But they are defeated by a severe lack of budget. The Russian’s deadly drone – which appears to have been bought from a toy shop – turns out to be so small, it is ridiculous. Stratton tries to be a low-budget Bond and falls miserably short.
Stratton opens on October 19
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