Based on the successful books of former SBS commando Duncan Falconer, Stratton has so far been the lead in nine novels. And this really was the jumping off point for director Simon West, of Con Air fame and a large number of Statham movies, who really wanted to create a more modern and more realistic, contemporary British spy than say James Bond.
Based on Falconer’s first book, The Hostage, Stratton sees the eponymous hero with his brother-in-arms Marty tracking international Russian terrorist Grigory Barovsky. However when the intel turns bad and the inevitable hits the fan, Stratton is lucky to get out alive. And things are far less rosy for his buddy.
Returning to the UK, Stratton is assigned a new partner, and teams up with his MI5 chums, notably Gemma Chan and Tom Felton, to work out what Barovsky is up to before planning to take him down.
Dominic Cooper takes on the lead role, supposedly just a few days before shooting commenced after Henry Cavill had bowed out. Although capable of some memorable performances such as The Devil’s Double and Preacher, this performance is, unfortunately, memorable for all the wrong reasons. Unlike West’s collaborations with the in-your-face but ever watchable Statham, Cooper is subdued and non-descript, delivering a Henry Cavill-esque performance.
And his co-stars are little better with Chan and Felton phoning in their predictable characters, and Nielsen delivering horrifically clichéd dialogue in a somewhat bizarre attempt at a posh English accent. In fact it would appear that the only person to come out of Stratton with any credit is salty sea dog Derek Jacobi, who delivers a few memorable limericks.
With a slow and painstakingly predictable plot, dreadfully weak dialogue and forgettable performances, Stratton is unlikely to be reassigned for further missions.
Cast: Dominic Cooper, Tom Felton, Gemma Chan, Thomas Kretschmann, Derek Jacobi, Connie Nielsen Director: Simon West Writer: Duncan Falconer, Warren Davis II Released By: Vertigo Releasing Certificate: 15 Duration: 94 mins Release Date: 1st September 2017