One More Shot is a low-budget action film that is elevated, ever so slightly, by appearing to be shot in one continuous take. Now, obviously, take that with a pinch of salt. If you know where to look, there are many cuts hidden in the space between spaces. But even with all its faults, pulling off this type of feat, coupled with two or three top-notch action sequences, is commendable.
For those of us who are connoisseurs of that direct-to-DVD shelf at Blockbuster (R.I.P.), usually adorned with the faces of Van Damme, Segal, Snipes, et al, the other big draw of One More Shot is the reuniting of Michael Jai White and Scott Adkins. These two took what was a direct-to-DVD throwaway sequel, Undisputed 2, and through their unbelievable athleticism and choreography, they turned it into a cult hit and a (direct-to-DVD) franchise. So the expectations for the action in this movie are very high.
The plot is your run-of-the-mill Tom Clancy-esque techno-thriller stuff. A terrorist cell is planning to launch a dirty bomb in the United States. Tom Berenger and Scott Adkins are here to stomp a mud-hole in that idea and walk it dry.
The bomb-maker of the terrorist cell is intercepted by the authorities at an evacuated airport. Our heroes are ambushed by a shadowy paramilitary force, causing all hell to break loose. At this point, Scott Adkins sets out to punch, kick, shoot, and occasionally stab anyone that gets between him and saving the free world. At one point, he even contemplates punching a pregnant woman in the stomach. Not even a jive turkey of a foetus will get between Adkins and victory.
The plot we can park for a moment. Just like nachos are a delivery mechanism for cheese, the plot is a way to shovel extreme violence into our mouth-eyes. The good news is your appetite for violence will be satiated. The action sequences are very good, especially those that involve hand-to-hand combat.
The biggest benefit of the ‘one shot/one take' idea means that you can't hide behind obscured close-ups and quick cuts to sell your fight. You need legitimate stuntmen and martial arts-equipped action stars like Scott Adkins, Aaron Toney, and Michael Jai White to pull off successful fight sequences.
The final fight between Adkins and Michael Jai White is incredible but brief, which is such a tease given just how good these guys are together. We can only hope that we get to see more from these two together in the future.
Some of the action borders into discount John Wick territory, and especially at the start, there are a lot of scenes where characters are shooting in the direction of the camera to obscure who they are actually fighting, which is way easier than having to line up in one continuous shot who is aiming at who. It comes across a little cheap.
Another notable negative is, unsurprisingly, the script. An AI could have written most of this. Most of the things the characters say or do is largely inconsequential. Even if you didn't speak English, you would still probably be able to follow the plot just fine.
Another minor annoyance was how close the camera was to the action. While you can appreciate being able to see the full fights, if the camera had pulled back just a bit, this would have allowed them breathe. The result is, rather than One More Shot feeling like this one-shot rollercoaster ride, at all times you can feel the cameraman pacing around the action, moving backwards and forwards. The camera never feels like it disappears into the background, which does take you out of the film.
Overall, though, this movie is not about its script or the quality of the plot. It's about how well people get side-kicked in the face, and for the most part, they are kicked very well. This is a fun action movie that has some above-average fight scenes due to the quality of Scott Adkins. So if you are a fan of action movies, particularly the eastern variety, this is highly recommend.
One More Shot is available on Sky from 12 January