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From the Past

Films on the to-do list

  • Armageddon Time
  • Black Widow
  • Chimes at Midnight
  • The Killing of a Sacred Deer
  • Last Christmas
  • Remember Sunday
  • Shazam! 2
  • Thor: Love and Thunder
  • Spy Guys

Strike Back: Project Dawn (2011) 2.1

TV episode review: Strike Back: Project Dawn, episode 1 (2011), directed by Daniel Percival

So, Strike Back has returned to UK’s Sky One. Together with US channel Cinemax, we get an even more macho version of something so testosterone fuelled to begin with that I almost feel a penis starting to sprout from my nether regions. Ugh. I wasn’t keen on this show to begin with, but as it starred Richard Armitage, I bit the bullet and watched it anyway. He got his top off a lot, and even went full monty at one point, so all in all, it was worth watching. Of sorts. Toby Stephens showed up in a suit too, which was also very much appreciated.

So what about series two? It starts out with a scruffy John Porter (Richard Armitage) who has been captured by a group of Muslim terrorists. He gets to record a message and a hunky Philip Winchester with a British accent (not that I’ve ever heard him with any other), who goes to get an American pal of Porter’s. American dude (Sullivan Stapleton), while hunky too, is a sleazy womaniser. And the rest of the one-hour episode was about how they were tracking down a terrorist leader in an Indian hotel, which they found through encoded clues left by Porter. Shootings ensue. And hostages. And womanising. And oh so predictable “wait, YOU’RE the bad guy we’re looking for?! Cor blimey, who’d a-thought it? You seemed like a jolly nice fellow!”

How impressed was I by this episode? I wasn’t. Obviously.

Sex for the sake of it, boys with guns, same old, same old. The only redeeming features were the two starring hunks being hunky, brief glimpses of Richard Armitage (only like two minutes total) and the fact that made me go “oooooh!” at the very start: it was written by Frank Spotnitz. As an old X-Phile, that’s a name I’ve come to know and respect. He used to work on The X-Files back in the day. Biggest squeeeeee moment – after seeing and hearing Porter – was when the hunks checked in to the hotel … as “Mr Byers” and “Mr Langley”. Took me a couple of seconds to realise, but then I was happy for the rest of the episode, listening out for the mention of a “Mr Frohike” too. Never came, but still. Just one nerd short of the Lone Gunmen, and for that, I salute the writer.

But that’s it. Just because they’ve slapped a “Project Dawn” on the end doesn’t mean Strike Back has evolved from machismofest. It still is, but now it has genuine Americans in it. Big deal. And the cipher didn’t make sense. Nor was it worth our whiles as fans of the Armitage either. If you’ve seen it, you know what I mean, aside from how brief his appearance was. No fair. At least he was on screen slightly longer in Captain America … which I’d much rather be watching.

1.5 out of 5 besieged hotels, which it only gets for Spotnitz and his X-Files reference. But at least I don’t have to watch the rest of the series, as the incentive has gone away.


An easily distracted and over-excited introvert who never learns to go to bed at a reasonable time. Enjoys traveling (when there's not a plague on), and taking photos of European architecture. Cares for cats, good coffee and Boardwalk Empire. A child of her time, she did media studies in school and still can't decide what she wants to be when she grows up.

4 thoughts on “Strike Back: Project Dawn (2011) 2.1

  1. I thought about you as soon as I saw Spotnitz’s name but I didn’t stick around for the Lone Gunmen reference, lol. *Sigh* Think of it this way: the Syndicate is behind it.

  2. Yeah. What a waste of RA’s time. They could have given him more screen time than that!
    If it had been any longer I probably would have nodded off. (Too many useless action scenes make my brain turn off and then I’m asleep!)

  3. by “it” I mean the show — not Mr. A’s screen time. Believe me I was wide-awake for that…sadly.

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