John Donne wrote that “no man is an island,” but no one told that to martial artist Scott Adkins, who miraculously dodges bullets and fights hand-to-hand with ease. His audience knows what Adkins is capable of based on his work in Ninja, The Expendables 2, and a host of action-heavy films. But, in One Shot, he’s in an action film dressed up as an art flick – James Nunn has directed his film to appear as one long, live-action take.
As Navy SEAL Jack Harris, he’s assigned to protect CIA analyst Zoe Anderson (Ashley Greene) to a “black site” where they’ll transport informant Amin Mansur (Waleed Elgadi) away. But the site manager, Ryan Philippe’s loud, rude Jack Yorke refuses to let them extract Mansur immediately, and soon terrorists swarm the CIA forces.
Of course, Adkins’ Harris is the only one with the brain, skills, and courage to save the day…
The film has little to say about black sites – although this is supposedly the last one left – or the ways that people of varying degrees of guilt are treated like war criminals. It’s solely setting up a spot where Nunn can film without interruption and Harris can kick, shoot, and punch without worrying about collateral damage.
As much as I’ve become a fan of Adkins’ periodic roles where he gets to fight and act, this film isn’t one of those, and Shooter (the television series) seems pretty far removed for Philippe, too. It’s pretty shaky in terms of plot and dialogue, but that matches the handheld cam feeling that the whole thing leans heavily into, a style that Paul Greengrass has done much better as well.
One Shot is available on VOD on January 25th, 2022.