Amid the blazing machine-guns and squealing hostages, a stacked, Willis-vested bloke skids across the polished floor of a Delhi hotel. He’s just caught a big bastard missile large enough to consign most of the sub-continent to the history books and within minutes his hot naked wife is calling him from blighty to talk about house renovations. He doesn’t mind though, because Stonebridge is the grounded and reserved half of Strike Back: Project Dawn‘s bullet-dodging commando partnership. Although such categorisation is akin to dubbing the taller Chuckle brother the brains of their particular outfit.
Scott on the other hand isn’t so much a loose cannon, as a sex-mad, alcohol-fuelled, terrorist-magnet who employs a strict ‘shoot first, get laid second and demand a pay rise third’ policy during conflict situations. He may have unique information about the mysterious Al-Queda kingpin Latihf, but after being chucked out of the army he’s living in a Malaysian brothel and working as a part-time bare-knuckle boxer. Needless to say, there is a pistol-wielding gangster involved, which means the pair’s introduction is played out to a soundtrack of zipping bullets and cracked noses. As we discover, a theme is developing. These guys might be mavericks, but by god do they get results.
“Thanks to all that HBO investment, we’ve had a lot more money to play with..” says a smirking production bod before the screening of this new Sky One offering. “So we’ve upped the bodycount and upped the boobies..” he adds. He’s not lying either. Suffice to say when Scott is forced to interupt a session of rampant sex with a recently acquainted chamber-maid, to storm the corridor and ice some rogue insurgents, you realise that Strike Back needs to be taken with a medically-dangerous amount of salt. This is Spooks on speed… or what Starz’s Spartacus might look like if he and his gladiator mates popped into our century to fight the war on terror. It’s all total tosh, but brilliant tosh nonetheless. Now in it’s second series, this Chris Ryan adaptation knows exactly what it is and frankly it couldn’t care less what you or I say about its ridiculously dangerous firefights and dialogue which is either pure exposition or macho expletives. It’s here to provide gun-toting, nipple-groping SAS take-downs and god bless it if it doesn’t hit the mark if you’re in the mood to crack a beer and sacrifice logic in the name of testosterone-soaked entertainment.
That’s not to say that Project Dawn doesn’t have a plot – because it does… A twisty and absurd one that involves more double-crosses and conspiracies than a Dan Brown novel. Someone wanted Scott out of the army, half the hostages are terrorists, some of the terrorists could be hostages, Jimi Mistry is wandering around and Middle-Earth-bound Richard Armitage (who certainly knows his way around a hostage situation..) has an utterly implausible code to share with Scott. But why would he use a code that Section 20 don’t understand? “What’s Section 20 mate?” Well exactly Scott, exactly. From what we’ve gathered, they’re a fanciful and vague branch of MI6 who don’t really seem to answer to anyone and are run by that well-spoken bird from Holby City, let’s just call her M shall we?
Strike Back: Project Dawn explodes on to Sky One next month.