One Shot: a breathtaking single-shot action film (review)

One Shot: a breathtaking single-shot action film (review)

Reviving the era when big guns could deliver mini classics, the very enjoyable One Shot with Scott Adkins is seriously worth the detour.

At the beginning of 2022, First took a little slap in the face of an action production released directly on VOD: One Shot. While NRJ12 is programming it this evening (see you at 9:10 p.m. on the channel), we are sharing our review again. Since then, its main actor, Scott Adkinscaused a sensation again in John Wick – chapter 4.

John Wick 4: Chad Stahelski prepares a director’s cut

If we rely on the usual internet monitoring (IMDb ratings, over-specialized bloggers, etc.) nothing really distinguishes One Shot (Ultimately released on VOD in France) of any action film featuring the heavyweights of the aerial Scott Adkins. The proof: his other direct-to-video of the moment, the friendly Castle Falls, benefited from a much more flattering love rating from acrobatic nudge aesthetes. Yet it’s a real generic product, a pure 4.5/10, even if it is directed (and performed) by the icon Dolph Lundgren. This fidelity is moving, but seriously how did they manage not to distinguish a summary joke from the incredible exercise in style proposed by the unknown James Nunn? Is the love of 80’s biscotos so blind?

Located in a parachuted Guantanamo in the middle of Eastern Europe (one of the actioners’ favorite tourist spots), the plot of One Shot pits a squadron of Navy Seals against a band of mercenaries (religious and French-speaking) who have come to exfiltrate a high-end inmate. It is therefore a siege film where it will simply be a question of surviving while waiting for the arrival of the cavalry. The small specificity is that all this is entirely captured in (false) sequence shot, one of the most exciting gimmicks of the digital age. Those who found the (real) time a little long ahead Birdman Or 1917 can still remain, since the artifice here has nothing of bourgeois coquetry. Amazement galore is not really the type of James Nunn, immortal author of Marine Rifle 6 – we laugh but we will end up watching it. His entire directing project centers around a certain idea of ​​the visceral that binds, of impeccable topography, and of tension managed like a musical score. His wow process also highlights the increasingly astonishing athletic prowess of his friend Scott Adkins, probably the best action man of the last ten years. It lasts 1 hour 38 minutes, including credits, you can watch it with sweaty hands, shortness of breath and if all goes well you will continue with Castle Falls the next evening – it’s much less good, as we’ve already told you.

The other pleasure, a little less concrete, that provides One Shot, is housed in its way of displaying all the stigmata of direct-to-video (greyness of the former Soviet bloc, disused administration settings, fat has-been come to hide) while refusing the temptations offered by cinema bis. If the film is so good it’s because it is neither degenerate, nor “other”, nor crazy, just incredibly solid, concise, good-natured. Show-off yes, but with chest, pecs and zero irony. Perhaps that’s why he ended up going under the radar of the time. Doplh Lundgren must be the first to be surprised.

Romain Thoral


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