The one take action scene has become something of a trope within the genre. When carried off well they can really make an action movie stand out from the crowd. Some of the best recent examples of this are John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023) and Extraction 2 (2023), both of which had lengthy set pieces seemingly carried out in one continuous take. Unsurprisingly both these films featured on my top ten best action films of 2023, with these set pieces being a contributing factor.

Of course, these scenes only make up a short part of these films’ running times. The decision to shoot an entire film like this would be a massive undertaking. Which is all the more remarkable that One More Shot is director James Nunn’s second stab at it. Obviously the hard work he and his team clearly put into the original One Shot (2022) wasn’t enough to put him off.

Reteaming with leading man Scott Adkins for the fourth time, Nunn sets his sequel pretty much right after the ending of the first film, with Navy Seal Jack Harris (Adkins) escorting terrorist Amin Mansur (Waleed Elgadi) back to the U.S. so he can inform the C.I.A. of the location of a dirty bomb. In order to coerce Mansur to give them this information, they have brought his pregnant wife Niesha (Meena Rayann) to convince him.

Jack isn’t exactly met with open arms, with C.I.A. big shot Mike Marshall (Tom Berenger) putting the failure of his last mission squarely on his shoulders. Unfcermeonoulsy dismissed, it is until Jack is about to leave the airport that he overhears some passerby’s discussing how they will re-capture Mansur. It isn’t long until bullets are flying once again, with a team of mercenaries led by Robert Jackson (Michael Jai White) striving to take Mansur, cutting down anyone in their way. Now Mansur must once again rely on Jack if he wants him and his wife to survive the night.

Unsurprisingly, Nunn does an excellent job of keeping proceedings moving at a terrific pace, with One More Shot being jam packed with action, even more so than the first film. The novelty of the film being shot in one take is slightly diminished, mostly due to Nunn already having pulled it off in the first film. What isn’t diminished is the quality of the filmmaking on screen. Each of the shootouts and fight scenes are expertly handled, with Nunn doing an excellent job of covering up the joins. Now and again you can see where a scene has been edited but it’s not too jarring and covered well.

The sequel does seem to have a slightly larger budget, although I couldn’t honestly confirm this. This is mostly to do with the filming location, with the majority of the film taking place in a massive airport. Storywise, the airport is meant to be in Washington D.C. but in reality was filmed at London Stansted. Nunn expertly uses the location to his advantage, with the different sections of the airport making for a perfect backdrop to the on screen action. Now and again it is obvious that the movie was shot in the U.K., but it isn’t much of a distraction considering the amount of quality action that is going on.

After the initial set up to introduce the characters and scenario, Nunn swiftly throws us into the action, with Adkins’ Jack barely having a chance to catch a breath before he is being thrown into the thick of it.

Like the first film, Tim Man is back once again to choreograph the fight scenes, with Dan Styles coordinating the stunts. Similarly to the first, the action is also a mixture of gunplay and hand to hand fight scenes, with Adkins getting multiple opportunities to show off his martial arts skills.

Standouts are the multiple fight scenes Adkins has with Aaron Toney’s Dunbar, with the two of them really putting each other through their paces. They impress so much that Adkins’ eventual fight with Michael Jai White pales in comparison. Another impressive sequence has Adkins’ Jack silently taking out a small team of mercenaries in a closed off section of the airport, with Jack sneaking and hiding between the scaffolding, taking each of them out one by one as Dunbar looks on in disbelief.

Those expecting the fight scenes to resemble those from Adkins’ films like Boyka (2016) or Accident Man (2018) may be disappointed. Due to the shooting style, the fight scenes are much more grounded and frenetic, being perfectly suited to the story being told.

Regarding the story, One More Shot is pretty straightforward. Some may be disappointed by the implication that the terrorist activities aren’t the work of Islamic terrorists but rather a group of Americans looking to create a new world order. Still, one doesn’t watch a film like One Last Shot to dwell on the plot or the politics behind it.

With the film moving at such a relentless pace, there isn’t really much in the way of character development. Adkins does get to show off a bit of an emotional side during the opening moments of the film where he telephones his wife to let her know he is okay. It is the furthest we have gotten to know about his character over the two films, and the first inkling he actually has someone waiting for him back home. This however is as much backstory you get to know, as all that really matters here is that his character is a badass and will kick ass when the time comes.

Like he did the first time around, Waleed Elgadi acts suitably distressed and harassed, although there will be points in this you will want Adkins to hit him because of his actions. Tom Berenger is his typically grizzled self as Marshall, the pissed off senior C.I.A. agent, who seems like he just can’t be arsed with everything that is going on.

Michael Jai White fans may be left wanting more, as he only has around 10 minutes screen time. Clearly he is there to face off against Adkins during the finale, which he does with considerable skill. As mentioned, it isn’t the finest action scene of the film but still manages to impress. White is set up to be the film’s main villain but as the film develops another shows up, which I won’t spoil here. Unfortunately they are completely unconvincing, failing to distill any form of menace.

Other than some minor issues with plot and characters, my only other gripe of the film is to do with the finale which seemed much smaller in scale in comparison to the action that has come before. Additionally several plot strands are left open as the film ends, with it being obvious that Nunn has another film planned. I don’t think it will be that long until we probably see Adkins show up in something like “One Last Shot”. While this sounds like a complaint, it’s not like I won’t be first in line to see another entry and look forward to seeing what Nunn and company come up with.

One More Shot has already been released by Sky Cinema in the U.K and is coming January 16th Stateside from Sony. Any fans of Adkins or action films will hopefully find a lot to enjoy. Well, unless they write for the Guardian.

Adkins can next be seen in the upcoming Lights Out (2024), reteaming with director Christian Sesma. It looks to be a smaller role for Adkins but considering he will be sharing the screen with Frank Grillo it’s definitely one to look out for.

Plot: 2.5/5
Acting: 4/5
Action: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.