Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Blu-ray Review - Strike Back: CINEMAX® Season 4

Arriving today on Blu-ray with Digital HD Strike Back: Season Four, the final season of the CINEMAX® action series. The 3-Disc set includes all 10 episodes. Bonus Features include 4 Production Recon Featurettes and 6 "How To Strike Back" Featurettes.

Based on the novel of the same name by Chris Ryan, Strike Back was originally a six-part British series that aired on Sky 1 in 2010 and starred Richard Armitage (The Hobbit trilogy) and Andrew Lincoln (The Walking Dead). Many changes occurred when a second series (season) was ordered. CINEMAX® would team up with Sky 1 as a co-producer; which would air the second series as season one in the United States. Actor Richard Armitage couldn't return due to his commit to The Hobbit trilogy, so he only had a cameo in "Episode 1."

CINEMAX® Strike Back centers on an ex-Delta Force operative Damian Scott (played by Sullivan Stapleton) being recruited by the Section 20, a secretive branch of the British Defense Intelligence that fights terrorism around the world. Scott's partner is Sergeant Michael Stonebridge (played by Philip Winchester), a dedicated soldier who always follows orders.

The final season kicks off in Bangkok, were Section 20 is on a daring mission to rescue Chloe Foster (played by Eliza Bennett), the daughter of the British Ambassador. Sadly, things are never easy for the team as several twists & turns occur, which the evil strings are being pulled by the British Ambassador's wife, Mei (played by Michelle Yeoh).

While the Section 20 is under attack, Scott must deal with his teenage son, Finn (played by Christian Antidormi), that he has never met. The kid got into a little bit of trouble, so his mother sends him to live with Scott. Shortly after picking Finn up at the airport, they are tossed into the crossfire of Mei's men.

From Bangkok to Europe, Stonebridge, Scott and the rest of Section 20 globe-trot in the pursuit of justice.

The "How To Strike" featurettes are:

How to Jet-Ski Through A Marketplace
How To Piss Off An MMA Fighter
How To Bulldoze A Car
How To Scale A Skyscraper In Bangkok
How To Interrogate With Electricity
How To Say Goodbye

The Production Recon featurettes are:

Day 14 (Bangkok, Thailand)
Day 36 (Krabi, Thailand)
Day 62 (Haimasker, Military Base, Hungary)
Day 63 (Budapest, Hungary)

Final Thoughts

I only recently became a fan of Strike Back; watching the first two seasons on Amazon Prime. At first glance it looks like a cliched action series, but it actually has well-written stories, a great cast with chemistry and decent cinematography.

The grittiness that made the earlier episodes intriguing is completely loss in the final season. However, adding Asian locations and well- choreographed chase scenes does enhance the season. Michelle Yeoh and Will Yun Lee both give good performances as the villains. The only thing I didn't care for was the unneeded death in 4th episode and the addition of Scott's son, which felt a little forced to me. 

The picture quality on the Blu-ray discs are topnotch. There is a quick season three catch up on the first disc when you access episode one (Episode 31 to be exact). There are plenty of featurettes on the three discs, but I do wish there were a few commentaries from the cast and crew.

Strike Back: CINEMAX® Season 4 Blu-ray is a must have for fans of the series. It's more of a standalone season, so you can still enjoy watching season 4 without any prior knowledge of the series. Overall, I have enjoyed watching the Blu-ray and I recommend it to others.

*Disclaimer - I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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