Dir: James Nunn
Star: Scott Adkins, Meena Rayann, Waleed Elgadi, Tom Berenger
I was a huge fan of the original One Shot, which I thought was a tremendous achievement on a limited budget. So I was naturally stoked to hear about a sequel, using the same idea of being made to look like everything takes place in a single take. Though I was also a little nervous, considering how hard I loved the first movie, as to whether it could possibly live up to it. Turns out both emotions were likely justified. This is still a slick technical achievement, pulling the viewer in with a tremendous sense of immediacy. But while One Shot was the best action movie of its year, the sequel is probably only the best action movie of… January.
This begins a few hours after the events of One Shot, with captured terrorist Amin Mansur (Elgadi) being brought back to the US by special agent Jake Harris (Adkins), still refusing to give up the location of his dirty bomb. As leverage, CIA director Mike Marshall (Berenger) has brought Mansur’s wife, Niesha (Rayann), to the closed-off airport, hoping she can convince him to talk. Before that can happen, they come under attack from a well-trained group, who are very keen to get their hands on the terrorist – or, more specifically, his device. Harris needs to keep Amin alive and out of their control, while also convincing him to provide the information necessary for the bomb to be found and made safe.
What follows is a close to seamless 103 minutes, including a number of moments which will make you wonder how the hell they pulled it off. To the film’s credit – and unlike 1917 – I still found myself pulled in, rather than simply admiring it from a film-making perspective. The action is considerably less flashy than most of Adkins’s vehicles, yet is appropriate to the setting. He needs to dispose of his opponents in as short order as possible: this isn’t John Wick 4, with showy moves in a fat suit. It’s more a “punch someone once, hard in the throat” film. One disappointment: Michael Jai White is more prominent on the sleeve than in the movie. Anyone hoping for an Undisputed II rematch is likely to be left feeling short-changed.
The plot here is very easily picked apart, and that’s probably the biggest downgrade from its predecessor. There, things were kept simple. Here, the script ends up tying itself in knots to achieve its ends and there are points where obvious loopholes are simply ignored. However, once the attack commences, the movie barrels on at an unstoppable pace, barely pausing for breath. There may not be quite the same sense of novelty here, and the ending is a little too open: if the third installment is not called One Last Shot, or some variant thereof, I will want to know the reasons why. But it’s still a beautifully-crafted gimmick, and having an actual airport (Stansted) to shoot in certainly helps, providing a real ‘rabbit warren’ feel. It’s a lot of fun.
This review is part of Project Adkins, covering the movies of Scott Adkins.