Scott Adkins and Michael Jai White face off in a low-budget yet punchy action sequel. Here’s our review of One More Shot.
Action movies are technically tricky to execute in the first place, but British director James Nunn decided, with 2021’s One Shot, to add to the challenge by – as the title implies – make the film look as though it was captured in a single take. It introduced us to Lieutenant Jake Harris, Scott Adkins’ US Navy SEAL, who was charged with extracting a terrorist from a black ops site somewhere in Poland, only for things to go violently sideways. Much gunplay and martial arts ensued.
One More Shot takes place mere hours after the first film, with Jake landing with captured terrorist Amin Mansur (a returning Waleed Elgadi) at what purports to be an airport in Washington DC.
“I’m Stateside,” Jake drawls into his phone, standing in what is clearly the departure lounge of an out-of-hours Stansted Airport. (Like its predecessor, One More Shot uses British locations as stand-ins.)
As CIA agents hunt for the location of a dirty bomb dispatched by Mansur’s terrorist cell, an army of highly-trained mercenaries descends on the airport; before long, a siege situation has unfolded, with Jake and an assortment of government officials (including a dazed-looking Tom Berenger, reprising his role from the first film) forced to contend with an army of Kevlar-clad, tattooed goons led by Michael Jai White.
Like One Shot, the sequel was filmed with digital cameras on a low budget, but Nunn makes his limited means go a long way, with CGI puffs of blood and bullet holes ensuring the production doesn’t do too much public property damage as the body count rapidly increases.
The star of a legion prudently-financed action movies, Adkins and Jai White are the main attractions here, with Adkins gamely throwing himself down flights of stairs and engaging in bone-crunching fisticuffs with dozens of bad guys. The stunt work in this department is impressive stuff, all things considered, given that the one-take conceit means there’s no room to hide feigned punches or injury-saving crash pads through carefully-timed edits. I’d say there were more than a few cuts and bruises sustained by Adkins and his team of stunt people during filming.
In One More Shot’s quieter moments, though, the absence of visible edits unfortunately works against it. There are pregnant pauses as characters move from one location to another which ordinarily would have been trimmed out, for example. Nor does the production have the resources to stage the kinds of complex, bravura set-pieces that lit up, say, Alfonso Cuaron’s Children Of Men – there’s a vehicular sequence in One More Shot that immediately recalls a similar moment in that earlier movie, and it’s fair to say that one pales in comparison to the other.
In terms of drama, though, the heart of the movie is arguably Waleed Elgadi, who was really good in One Shot and given more to do emotionally here, paired as he is with his estranged, heavily pregnant wife, Niesha (Meena Rayann, who’s also very good). Couple this with a solid plot twist and an impressively villainous turn from a secondary character whose identity we won’t spoil here, and you have a diverting action-thriller that just about manages to overcome the limitations of its budget.
One More Shot may lack the go-for-broke mayhem of The Beekeeper – an action film that, in an odd bit of release strategy, lands on Sky Cinema on the exact same day – but it’s still eminently watchable Friday night entertainment. It proves, once again, that Adkins is one of the most underrated action stars currently working. Doesn’t he deserve his own Hollywood franchise by now?
One More Shot is available to stream on Sky Cinema now.