review by Bobby Blakey
There have been so many spy type franchises over the years with the biggest obviously being that of James Bond. I love that some of these newer takes are stepping outside the norm and trying to offer up a different take on the genre. The latest, Stratton based on the Duncan Falconer book series of the same name and stars Dominic Cooper, Austin Stowell, Gemma Chan, Thomas Kretschmann, Tyler Hoechlin, Tom Felton, Connie Nielsen, and Derek Jacobi with director Simon West at the helm. Could this have that something special to make it stand out or will it fail its first mission?
Stratton follows a Special Boat Service operative for MI6, and his American counterpart Marty, who scope a laboratory complex in Iran in order to intercept deadly biochemical weapons. This most complex of missions goes spectacularly wrong however and in the mayhem Marty is mortally wounded. Stratton knows his trusted friend isn't going to make it. Back at base Stratton is summoned by the big boss at MI6 who has received intel that a former Soviet operative - Barovski - has gone rogue. Thought to be dead for the last 20 years, it is believed Barovski has plans to take revenge on his former paymasters by using stolen chemical weapons. Although I am a fan of Dominic Cooper I never really thought of him in this kind or role, which makes him perfect to make it work. The story is pretty simple and typical for these kinds of films, but having a more unlikely type agent made it stand out more than it might have otherwise.
There are some pretty predictable elements here mostly due to this genre being so common, but thanks to some great action set pieces it still manages to offer up something a little different. The by the numbers direction of the structure makes it fail to really be as original as I had hoped, but I still enjoyed it for what it was and would like to see where they take this character. His more brutish style as opposed to the classy spy we have grown accustomed to in the British spy genre is a nice twist and one they could do some cool things with.
The production feels big thanks to a lot of the set pieces, but there are elements that still feel could have been fleshed out a bit more. Decide for yourself and check out Stratton available now on Blu-ray and DVD.