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 Strike Back dvd reviews

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Join date : 2011-03-24

PostSubject: Strike Back dvd reviews   Thu Aug 09, 2012 2:06 pm


06 August 2012 | 8:52 AM
British spy series ‘Strike Back’ keeps adult action going
Posted to: British drama TV series War


Blu-ray widescreen and DVD widescreen, 2010, not rate, contains extreme language, violence and sexual situations

Best extra: Only one: five episode commentaries from actors and crew

A JOINT VENTURE between Cinemax and a British production company, “Strike Back” deals with a mysterious British intelligence agency named Section 20 that races to save England and the United States from a chemical weapons Armageddon. The two primary field agents are square-jawed, clean-cut British intelligence officer Michael Stonebridge (Philip Winchester), and a scruffy, volatile former member of Delta Force named Damien Scott (Sullivan Stapleton). In the first episode, Scott, who was discharged on the eve of the Iraq invasion, joins Stonebridge and the agency in their mobile base of operations known as "The Crib," run by young, tough-as-nails Colonel Eleanor Grant (Amanda Mealing).

Each two-hour Season 10 episode is a mini-movie of sorts with Stonebridge and Scott racing from country to country for intel on international terrorist Latif (Jimi Mistry) in the first hour, then ending on a cliffhanger that resolves in the next. Think of Stonebridge and Scott as Jack Bauer of “24” split in two with Stonebridge as the superego and Scott as the id. In the field, Stonebridge is mostly by-the-book and professional, while the wily Scott has sex with nearly every woman in his line of sight (graphically depicted as only Cinemax can). The introductory pair of episodes ‒ which is actually a continuation of a season already aired in Britain but not yet available here ‒ are so tongue-in-cheek they're like "Miami Vice" on steroids. By the third episode, however, the series developed by “X-Files” alum Frank Spotnitz, nicely hits its stride, slowly peeling back the layers of the main characters and allowing the audience to develop a genuine interest in them. Also fascinating are the uniquely drawn terrorists Section 20 encounter along the way, who exude a genuine and chilling menace as the body count piles up.

On the Blu-ray, colors throughout the series are frequently muted and flat ‒ orange environments are a dull orange, for instance, and scenes in shadow can sometimes be enveloped by them. Nonetheless, there’s still no doubt that we’re watching a Blu-ray. Wide panoramic shots, such as cities or large groves of trees, seem to go on forever with excellent clarity and depth of field. The blacks in all scenes are also very clean with no jaggies or artifacts in the picture. (As most of the environments are dusty and raw, there aren’t many pure whites.) Meanwhile, the Blu-ray’s sound design handles action sounds of gunfire, explosions and car chases with ease. Heroic background music is also first-rate, flowing from all the speakers in a manner both majestic and all-encompassing.

Five casual running commentaries with the three main actors, a guest actor and an executive producer are the sole main extra. While they mostly describe the day-to-day activities on the set, they also detail a few informative tidbits about set design, casting and reactions to the international vistas they encountered. They also describe how famous actors from around the world wanted to be on the show, and how extras from the military provided invaluable assistance. Finally, the set also includes a DVD version and a digital copy.

If you’ve been pining for “24” or “The Unit” and have no qualms about extreme violence or sex scenes, “Strike Back” is a worthy successor.

― Carl Hott
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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back dvd reviews   Thu Aug 09, 2012 2:07 pm


Friday, August 3, 2012
HBO's Strike Back Coming to Blu-ray and DVD on August 7

By Paul Hunter

HBO Canada's hit new series Strike Back in many ways fills a void that's been missing in mainstream TV for quite some time now. While there have been plenty of special forces military TV series in the past, ranging from The Unit with its ultra-realism, to 24 with its comic book style pace and presentation, Strike Back stands on its own with its charismatic cast and fresh take on counter-terrorism operations.

Headlined by rising stars Philip Winchester (Camelot) as the by-the-books Sergeant Micheal Stonebridge, and Sullivan Stapleton (Animal Kingdom) who plays former U.S. Delta Force operative Damien Scott, the two must band together in an effort to stop the Pakistani terrorist Latif, who is plotting a deadly operation known as "Project Dawn".

I recently had the rare opportunity to sit down with Philip Winchester for a one-on-one interview to discuss the upcoming Blu-ray and DVD release of Strike Back: Cinemax Season 1.

Asked why the series become so popular so quickly, Winchester says fans were immediately drawn to how the show "peels back the curtain on an elite counter-terrorism group, Section 20, which is comprised of real characters who are flawed in some way. So we don't see perfect people doing perfect stuff, we see broken people trying to do the best they can." That's a pretty good description for the TV series, which certainly shows many sides to these tough-as-nails operatives.

Fans of the series seem to love the interplay between Stonebridge and Scott, who maintain a sense of competitiveness throughout the first season, yet at the same time make a surprisingly good team. Winchester says the two had a "month of intense military training" from real former SAS and SBS operatives prior to filming, and it was during this time that two actors "developed this deep sense competition, and a natural banter grew out of that competition." He adds that this on-stage competition came into play several times while filming as the two would go "off-roading" and add their own improvisations during some scenes.

The Blu-ray and DVD sets include all ten episodes of Strike Back: Cinemax Season 1, with episodes running for approximately 47 minutes each. The box set also includes audio commentaries from stars Philip Winchester, Sullivan Stapleton, Liam Cunningham, Amanda Mealing and executive producer Daniel Percival.

When asked about the second season of Strike Back, which premieres on HBO Canada on August 17, Winchester remarks "we've just finished filming in Johannesburg, and look it's the second season, so we blow more stuff up and we ramp up the drama very early on, I think fans will really enjoy it."

Strike Back: Cinemax Season 1 is releasing on August 7, 2012, and will be available on Blu-ray with HBO Select and DVD. The TV series is being distributed by HBO Canada.

Posted by Paul Hunter at 1:23 AM
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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back dvd reviews   Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:58 pm


Aug 09 2012
TV on Disc: ‘Strike Back’

Strike Back: Season One (HBO) – Originally developed as a British action series about international intelligence agents infiltrating enemy organizations and stopping terrorist threats around the globe with a mix of spycraft and violence, “Strike Back” was reworked and relaunched as a co-production between Britain’s BSkyB cable channel and the American pay cable channel Cinemax and relaunched with a new cast. That’s the version released here as “Cinemax Season One,” which stars Philip Winchester as Sgt. Michael Stonebridge, an agent in Britain’s super-secret covert Section 20 and Sullivan Stapleton as American Damien Scott, a former (dishonorably discharged) Delta Force officer drafted to help out when a fellow agent is captured by a terrorist organization in Pakistan. Amanda Mealing co-stars as the Section 20 commander and Eva Birthistle is a veteran agent, and guest stars include Jimi Mistry, Liam Cunningham, and Iain Glen.

It’s compared to “24″ but it actually plays like a supercharged “MI-5″ by way of a “Bourne” movie, with high-energy action, plenty of gunplay and explosions, maverick field agents, politically-minded commanders, and any number of conspiracies and double crosses winding through the stories. It doesn’t have the intelligence or complexity of an ambitious HBO drama, but it’s clever enough and delivers plenty of well-executed action sequences with a gritty style. The ten episodes play out as a series of five two-part adventures with a cliffhanger in the middle, and a season-long story connecting the individual stories. Give the show credit for an inventive conspiracy: it’s all about the WMDs that were *supposed* to be found in Iraq and the blowback from the failure just now reaching escape velocity in a terrorist plot.

10 episodes on four discs on Blu-ray and DVD, with commentary on five episodes. The Blu-ray set features a bonus DVD version (on two flipper discs) and digital copy for download (via iTunes).
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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back dvd reviews   Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:02 pm


J.C. De Leon August 8, 2012 0

Studio: HBO
MSRP: $59.96, but Amazon has it for $29.99.
Running Time: 600 minutes

What’s Going On?

Official Synopsis:

When a resourceful international terrorist group plots a major attack involving a cache of weapons of mass destruction, a charismatic former U.S. Special Forces operative joins forces with a stealth British military unit to stop them.

Who’s In It:

Philip Winchester (Camelot) as Michael Stonebridge, a British sergeant on the elite counter-terrorism team; and Sullivan Stapleton (Animal Kingdom) as Damien Scott, a former U.S. Delta Force operative who was disgraced and discharged on the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Rounding out the international cast are Amanda Mealing (Holby City), Eve Birthistle (Silent Witness), Jimi Mistry (Blood Diamond) Rhashan Stone (Episodes) and Richard Armitage (The Hobbit).

If You Like…:

If you like your TV shows violent and bloody, there’s a lot to enjoy here. It’s not an HBO production, but one that they’ve signed on to develop beyond this first season. Oh and if you like to play Call of Duty, this is your wheelhouse in spades.

Special Features:

Here’s where it’s obvious this isn’t an HBO production: There aren’t that many supplemental extras. It’s got 5 Audio Commentaries With Cast & Crew Including: Sullivan Stapleton, Philip Winchester, Amanda Mealing, Daniel Percival, Liam Cunningham

The Technical Gist:

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.78:1

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
French: DTS 5.1
Spanish: DTS 2.0
German: DTS 5.1

The Verdict:

For a show that may have flown under the radar, it’s remarkably good. Great action, but also a really smart show. Those that like they’re action to be a little more cerebral and not just dumb fun will be glad to know that this show delivers on an extremely high level. At the price it’s available at currently, it’s definitely worth a BUY.
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PostSubject: Re: Strike Back dvd reviews   Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:12 pm


03 Sep 2012 Leave a Comment

by dvdiva

Summer is a quiet time for watching broadcast TV. So that makes me particularly susceptible to blind buying TV on DVD at Costco. The latest such purchase was Strike Back: Cinemax Season 1. It had 2 really buff guys carrying big assault weapons on the cover; not the usual stuff that I am drawn to. However, I was perplexed that I knew nothing about this show. As I picked it up and read the back synopsis, I recalled that Season 2 was due to air soon. It was being heavily promoted on TV. So I handed the box-set to my husband and asked if he was interested. Since he was, we added it our collection.

Well, we started it that night and finished all 10 episodes within a week. The cliff-hanger, 2 episode per chapter structure made it impossible to view just one episode at a time.



The story revolves around 2 military operatives, Mike Stonebridge (Philip Winchester) and Damian Scott (Sullivan Stapleton), of Section 20, which is a covert branch of British Military Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). They are on a world wide hunt for a terrorist named Latif. They hope to find out what he knows about a secret called Project Dawn. Stonebridge is British (convincingly portrayed by an American actor, Winchester) and Scott is American (another compelling portrayal by an Australian actor, Stapleton), together they form a typical buddy cop duo, with heavy artillery. The story arc of what exactly Project Dawn is, concludes over the course of 10 episodes that are divided into 5 chapters comprising 2 episodes each. It is well paced, not too complex, but manages to throw a few twists and conspiracies along the way. As the duo get closer to their target, we realise that this not a straight forward case of good guys and bad guys. The villains are not simply evil terrorists and the Section 20 soldiers are hardly knights in shining armor. It illustrates that in times of war, the degree of moral ambiguity is astonishing. I think the portrayal of antagonism between allied forces (U.S.A and U.K.) is aggravatingly realistic. It certainly doesn’t ennoble war, although it does glamorizes it.

This show is fun, with manly men, charging into almost cartoonishly volatile situations. There are tense moments of pursuit and subterfuge with high stakes and an endless body count. This show is somewhat formulaic. Somehow, I find that flaw easy to overlook. The characters are not well-developed, compared to most of the dramas that I watch, but that is not too surprising. Considering it is such an action packed programme, it is no wonder little time is left for character development. There are a few more flaws that are worthy of mention. The way women constantly throw themselves at Stapleton’s character, Scott, is so ridiculous, my husband and I can’t help but laugh. It is beyond belief and becomes comical after the first few times (yes, there is gratuitous nudity, lots of swearing too). The overall tone is serious; however, there is a little bit of buddy cop humor and some funny bits poking fun at U.S.A. and U.K. culture clash. There are some refreshing aspects of this show, that are worthy of noting; it deserves kudos for a multi-ethnic cast and depicting women fighting alongside the men. That women also play major leadership roles is also refreshing.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed watching this testosterone soaked, explosion filled, bullet riddled show. I was puzzled to learn that the DVD’s I bought was actually the 2nd season of Strike Back for U.K. audiences, who refer to it as Strike Back: Project Dawn. The previous season was a 6 episode U.K. production called Chris Ryan’s Strike Back. It never aired on this side of the pond.

Richard Armitage

It dealt too with Section 20 operatives, involved in a different military assignment and had a completely different cast. The hero of the 1st U.K. series, John Porter (portrayed with steely grace by Richard Armitage), does have a cameo in Project Dawn. I couldn’t resist ordering this original installment of Strike Back from Amazon.uk, as it was not available in North America (I love my multi-regional DVD player and Amazon.uk’s ridiculously low prices, $15 including shipping). As a bonus, Andrew Lincoln (currently playing a convincing American in The Walking Dead) also stars. This installment deals with the creation of Section 20, the redemption of a fallen soldier, lots of betrayal and conspiracies. The original installment was quite compelling even without all the gratuitous nudity.

The show is currently airing its 2nd series in North America (3rd in the UK called Strike Back: Vengeance) and it seems to be expanding in the character development department while maintaining ridiculous Rambo-esque kill ratios.

Is it great TV? No. But it is great fun, action packed, with a little bit of MacGyver type ingenuity. It is a guilty pleasure.
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