Tag Archives: Sam Heughan

SAS: Red Notice (2021) Review


SAS Red Notice

Time: 124 minutes
Sam Heughan as Tom Buckingham
Ruby Rose as Grace Lewis
Andy Serkis as George Clements
Hannah John-Kamen as Dr Sophie Hart
Tom Hopper as Declan Smith
Noel Clarke as Major Bisset
Owain Yeoman as Oliver Lewis
Jing Lusi as Zada
Ray Panthaki as Prime Minister Atwood
Richard McCabe as Callum
Douglas Reith as Sir Charles Whiteside
Anne Reid as Charlotte
Tom Wilkinson as William Lewis
Director: Magnus Martens

A groom’s (Sam Heughan) wedding plans are disrupted when a small army of well-trained criminals hijack the Eurostar deep beneath the English Channel.

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I saw SAS: Red Notice (also known as SAS: Rise of the Black Swan) widely advertised all over Netflix’s front page. I was very sceptical about it, despite the actors involved. It looked like yet another disposable Netflix action thriller. I went in with fairly low expectations and on the whole it mostly met those expectations. I wouldn’t say I dislike the movie, but I wouldn’t call it good by any means.


SAS: Red Notice does have a familiar setup, pretty much Die Hard on a train, however it isn’t nearly as interesting or fun as it should be. I put that up to the mediocre at best screenplay. The story is unoriginal, and the plot is full of cliches but that’s not enough to sink the movie. However, it is pretty much impossible to care about what is happening. I wouldn’t say it’s boring, but it isn’t all that interesting either, and the plot is rather forgettable. I think the aspect that annoys me most about the writing is the tone. Some of the bad elements of the script are bad cheesy B-movie action flick way, which could potentially allow for some enjoyment. However, this movie actually tries to be intelligent and thoughtful, and somehow ends up worse as a result. For example, the movie opens with Tom Wilkinson going on this long monologue about psychopaths. It does seem to think highly of itself and thinks its clever, and as such play the movie very seriously. This makes the movie hard to enjoy even in a cheesy kind of way. The ending is pretty ridiculous in the way it seems to try to set up a sequel. Even the final scene is rather laughable, containing quite possibly the most boring use of drone footage I’ve seen in a movie. SAS also runs for far too long at 2 hours long, and if it was 90 minutes long, I probably would’ve enjoyed it more. However there are so many scenes which seem to drag on, with tired and run-down dialogue that don’t add to the plot, characters or entertainment, and it just becomes tedious to watch at times.


There are some good actors involved with this movie, unfortunately they are generally all wasted with the very lacklustre writing. Sam Heughan is in the lead role as an aristocratic SAS guy named Thomas Buckingham the Third (not making this up) who ends up in a hostage situation and has to Die Hard his way out of it. I’ve heard it said that this is essentially Heughan’s audition for James Bond, if that’s true, then that’s very unfortunate. He does try his best here, but the role is incredibly boring and bland, and the character is rather difficult to like (and not in an intentional way either). I haven’t seen Sam Heughan in much. but I assume he has charisma in his other roles, however he has none here. There is virtually no chemistry between him or his love interest played by Hannah John-Kamen. She tries her best as well, but also suffers greatly from the writing. The main villain of the movie is played by Ruby Rose as the leader of a group of mercenaries. She did work very effectively as a supporting villain in John Wick Chapter 2, but unfortunately doesn’t quite work in here in SAS, and isn’t that convincing in her part. It doesn’t help that the character is just evil for the sake of it, not that this can’t work, but in this movie it just came across as lazy more than anything. Besides, Rose just doesn’t have the screen presence necessary to make that archetype work outside of the action scenes. The only actor I really liked in this movie is Andy Serkis, who at least looks like he’s having a lot of fun chewing the scenery in his part. Like the other actors, he’s given some really silly lines and moments to deliver, but somehow manages them better than the rest of the cast.


The movie is directed by Magnus Martens, and it really does have a feeling of a straight to streaming action flick, specifically one from Netflix. While the direction isn’t bad, it doesn’t seem to have any style at all, almost like it was directed by a bot instead of a person. There are some decent set pieces that are generally shot, but at times some of the action is shot in underlit hallways where you can’t tell what’s going on. Despite the serious tone the movie goes for and the attempts at making the violence ‘shocking’, it just lacks all the impact that it needed. The fight scenes are weightless, and the shootouts and explosions have some really bad CGI. With that said, the action is watchable and hardly my main issue with the movie.


SAS: Red Notice is a watchable but forgettable movie, which gets worse the more I think about it. The cast are wasted in underwritten roles delivering mostly average performances, the action is generic albeit mostly competent, and the script is borderline bad, if not bad. I can’t say I really dislike the movie that much, but it’s not worth checking out.


Bloodshot (2020) Review



Time: 109 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence & offensive language
Vin Diesel as Ray Garrison/Bloodshot
Sam Heughan as Jimmy Dalton
Eiza González as KT
Toby Kebbell as Martin Axe
Guy Pearce as Dr. Emil Harting
Director: Dave Wilson

After he and his wife are murdered, marine Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel) is resurrected by a team of scientists. Enhanced with nanotechnology, he becomes a superhuman, biotech killing machine – Bloodshot. As Ray first trains with fellow super-soldiers, he cannot recall anything from his former life. But when his memories flood back and he remembers the man that killed both him and his wife, he breaks out of the facility to get revenge, only to discover that there’s more to the conspiracy than he thought.

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I heard about Bloodshot a while ago, I knew it as being based of a comic book from Valiant Comics and it was starring Vin Diesel in the lead role. I didn’t really know what to expect really, I didn’t know of the comics, and while I enjoy a lot of Vin Diesel movies, they are often just above average action flicks and not much more than that. The trailer certainly made it look like another Vin Diesel action movie, but I went in cautiously optimistic and hoping for something fun. Unfortunately, the experience was rather mixed, fun in points but otherwise rather average.


For the record, the trailer does reveal a big aspect of the plot, and to put it bluntly you can figure out the rest of the plot from that. So if you haven’t watched the trailer and are intending to watch Bloodshot, don’t watch it before going in. Not that I wouldn’t have figured out something like that during the early parts, but knowing it going in made many of the early scenes kind of a chore to sit through. Fortunately it does pick up after the first act, but even then the plot remains pretty standard. It’s a revenge thriller mixed with a conspiracy sci-fi movie, and almost everything in this movie is quite predictable. Not to mention the characters have multiple exposition scenes where they spell out the plot clearly for the audience, even though it’s obvious what’s going on. If they removed the scenes it wouldn’t have affected the movie too much. A lot of the tension and suspense is ruined by the fact that Vin Diesel’s character is essentially unstoppable and regenerates any damages he receives. I know near immortal characters as protagonists like him are hard to balance in blockbusters, but Bloodshot didn’t seem to figure out how to handle him. The writing is pretty poor, and really limits the movie to generic action territory. The biggest disappointment was that Bloodshot was either too campy or not campy enough. This plot has been recycled from numerous other blockbusters, but there were some opportunities to take it further and explore certain areas, but it’s trapped as a generic sci-fi action flick. On the other hand, while it has its over the top and cheesy moments, it still has a semi-serious feel, so it doesn’t even reach that level of entertainment on a guilty pleasure sense.


Vin Diesel acts like Vin Diesel in the lead role, just like you’d expect him too. He’s serviceable but doesn’t take the material to the next level that this movie really needed, and honestly most actors probably would’ve been better had they been cast instead of him. He does try to display emotions in the scenes that he needs to, but to put it generously, he’s not good. In fact most of his attempts were more hilarious than anything. Most of the rest of the cast does fine, including Eiza Gonzalez, Sam Heughan and Guy Pearce. However most of the side characters are written pretty unevenly, with motivations all over the place. Some side characters were particularly written and performed way too over the top. Toby Kebbell despite being a talented actor, once again doesn’t get much to do in another average blockbuster (outside of maybe his first scene).


This is the first film from Dave Wilson, and it’s not directed the best. Sure it’s made competently enough, but it lacks any sort of style. The action is a mixed bag, on the one hand it is over the top, but it only really provided mild entertainment at best. With the slow motion and panning shots, it felt like they were wanting action on the level done by the likes of Michael Bay or Zack Snyder, but unfortunately it was nowhere near that level, and felt rather weak. There’s a little too much editing going on during the action, not to the point where you can’t see what’s happening, but to the point where it was distracting. It didn’t need to be R rated and I’m not sure that it would’ve made it necessarily better, but going all out with the violence would’ve it a little more entertaining than the end product turned out to be. Visual effects are hit or miss, mostly miss as it’s so reliant on the CGI. The level of visual effects at points made it look like a movie from the early 2000s. There’s an action scene in an elevator, where it has a falling CGI body meant to represent Vin Diesel, and it just looked really dumb.

BLOODSHOT (Vin Diesel) in Columbia Pictures' BLOODSHOT.

Bloodshot feels like one of those goofy action movies from the early 2000s, and in this case it’s not really for the better. While it has its moments of entertainment, at best it is a disposable flick that is really only worth checking out if you’re very curious about it and have 2 hours to spare. The direction is okay at best, the writing is terrible, and while most of the acting is fine, Vin Diesel really doesn’t do enough to elevate the material. If it was all in on the silliness it would’ve been more enjoyable, but it also could’ve been better, there was a lot of potential even with the rather generic plot. In all honesty, it really feels like a Vin Diesel vehicle, and the fact that Vin Diesel produced the movie doesn’t make things better. It was made with the intention to start off a series, but even without the recent pandemic, Bloodshot just doesn’t have enough here to make people interested beyond the first movie.