In the world of Kingsman, Bourne, Bond and even Spooks: The Greater Good, Stratton is unlikely to stand out. More than unlikely, it’s downright certain that this is a franchise that will be sleeping with the fishes, long before it gets out of port.
From the opening sequence in an Iranian bioweapons facility, Stratton sets up its stall as one of the most generic, middle-of-the-road, average action flicks you’ll see. It’s not ostensibly awful, but Stratton never innovates or differs from your expectations. Save for one impressive stunt with a double decker bus, Stratton is a film that will not linger long in the memory. Its passivity to invention makes the film feel like an overlong 91 minute show reel for a London stunts company.
The cast are unfortunate here. Dominic Cooper is given little to help remove his good guy image (see: Tom Hiddleston in Kong: Skull Island), Chan, Felton and Jacobi all talk in clichés, and the villain is as thin as they come despite Thomas Kretschmann’s efforts. Shame too for Connie Nielsen whose extremely bizarre English accent is very hard to ignore or explain. Once again director Simon West – gun for hire on Stolen and The Expendables 3 – has failed to emulate his wondrous debut, Con Air.
The greatest tragedy is the disservice the Secret Boat Service endures. In the opening credits the SBS is heralded as one of the leading military units of the 21st century; a special forces unit with a rich tapestry of history, adventure and bravery. Stratton sheds no light on their methods, missions, or valiant men who serve. Shame.
A frustrating, bland, cliché-ridden affair that does nobody involved any favours. Blink and you’ll forget it, and that’s no bad thing.
CAST: Dominic Cooper, Connie Nielsen, Tom Felton, Tyler Hoechlin, Thomas Kretschmann, Derek Jacobi
DIRECTOR: Simon West
WRITERS: Duncan Falconer (based on the novel by), Warren Davis II (screenplay), Duncan Falconer (screenplay)
SYNOPSIS: A British Special Boat Service commando tracks down an international terrorist cell.