Stratton (2017)

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Duncan Falconer’s military hero comes from the pages to the screen in this thriller from the director of Con Air and The Expendables 2.

John Stratton is a Special Boat Service officer who works for MI6 in London. With partner and Navy SEAL Marty Sturges, Stratton is on a mission to retrieve and destroy a biochemical weapon known as Satan’s Snow. However, when Stratton and Sturges arrive at the rig where the chemical is being developed, they find it empty at first. As they find the laboratory, the duo finds all the workers dead and Satan’s Snow missing. In the ensuing shootout and escape attempt, Marty is killed by a mysterious figure.

Returning to MI6, Stratton is ready to take the fall for changing protocol, but his superior Sumner has other plans. The revelation of Satan’s Snow being one of the most dangerous airborne pathogens has been revealed when a small Ukrainian village falls prey to the chemical. When Stratton and allies Aggie and Spinks discover who killed Marty, Sumner knows him. The man in question is former agent Grigory Barovsky, who has long thought to be dead for twenty years. Stratton also has a new partner in Hank Munro, whose former commanding officer was Marty himself. Together, Stratton and his team must find all routes to stop Barovsky, who has a special plan to unleash Satan’s Snow in London.

Former military officer Duncan Falconer takes his iconic novel character of John Stratton to the screens. Having co-written the screenplay himself, Falconer takes various elements from his iconic book series, and comes up with a well thought out screenplay with some nice twists and turns that keeps the viewer engaged in the mission at hand. The script is well executed at the hands of someone who is capable of complementing action and drama and that is none other than Simon West, the director of hit action films such as Con Air and The Expendables 2.

Originally set to be played by Henry Cavill, the titular Stratton is given to current Preacher star Dominic Cooper, who does a great job in the role. A somewhat unorthodox SBS officer who works for MI6, Stratton may have a soft spot for those close to him, but ultimately it is all about getting the job done. He proves this when he meets his new partner Hank Munro, played by Austin Stowell, and tells him that if he is joining the mission to avenge Marty, then he may as well go back home. Stowell and Cooper work well together not so much as mismatched partners, but two guys who may have a connection, but agree, mission first, buddy up later.

Gemma Chan provides some ample support in the role of MI6 techie Aggie alongside Jake Fairbrother’s Spinks. Draco Malfoy himself, Tom Felton, has a very interesting character in MI6 agent Cummings, who seems to have a love-hate relationship with Stratton as the two somewhat have respect for each other but also tend to butt heads. Thomas Kretschmann’s villain is quite mysterious as he doesn’t need to open his mouth, but let his action do the talking for him. As for Connie Nielsen, she brings quite the authoritative figure as Sumner, Stratton’s superior, providing not only her superiority but being a worthy ally when needed.

The action of the film is quite a hoot as it brings loads of tension. From the opening action sequence involving both underwater action and a shootout to numerous shootouts spread out all leading to a finale involving a double decker bus, these are pretty good action scenes that are edited quite well and not too jumpy or shaky. Altogether, the action sequences complement the serious nature of the film’s storyline and are well shot.

Should Stratton be the first of a franchise action film series? If Duncan Falconer can pull off any more like this, then that is an affirmative, as long as Dominic Cooper is in the role because he pulls it off quite well.

WFG RATING: A-

GFM Films presents a Stratton Films production in association with SquareOne Entertainment and Twickenham Studios. Director: Simon West. Producers: Guy Collins and Matthew Jenkins. Writers: Duncan Falconer and Warren Davis II; based on the novel series by Falconer. Cinematography: Felix Wiedermann. Editing: Andrew MacRitchie.

Cast: Dominic Cooper, Austin Stowell, Gemma Chan, Thomas Kretschmann, Tom Felton, Connie Nielsen, Jake Fairbrother, Derek Jacobi, Tyler Hoechlin.

Momentum Pictures releases the film on January 5th in select theaters, Video on Demand, and Digital HD.

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