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James Nunn
Scott Adkins, Ashley Greene Khoury, Ryan Phillippe
Writing Credits:
James Nunn, Jamie Russell

On a covert mission to transport a prisoner off a CIA black site island prison, a team of Navy SEALs are trapped when insurgents attack while trying to rescue the same prisoner.

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 2.00:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Dolby 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 96 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 12/7/2021

• “The Making of a Movie in One Shot” Featurette
• “Go Behind the Scenes” Featurette
• Previews


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One Shot [Blu-Ray] (2021)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 8, 2021)

Based on the genre, we might assume 2021’s One Shot’s title refers to a weapon. And we do find ample gunfire here, but the moniker mainly describes the presentation itself, as the movie attempts to convince us that the entire story takes place in one long camera shot.

The potential threat of a terrorist assault on Washington DC sends intelligence operatives on high alert. To combat this possible calamity, Lt. Jake Harris (Scott Adkins) leads a team of Navy SEALs to get detainee Amin Mansur (Waleed Elgadi) at a remote “black site”.

Along with CIA analyst Zoe Anderson (Ashley Greene Khoury), Jake encounters friction from base manager Jack Yorke (Ryan Phillippe), as Jack doesn’t want to release Mansur. Another threat occurs when insurgents swarm the site and threaten the entire operation.

Apparently Alfred Hitchcock pioneered the “one take” movie with 1948’s Rope, and other filmmakers have attempted the same situation over the last 73 years. None enjoyed Hitchcock’s talents, so their efforts tended to fall short, though some worked better than others, with 2019’s 1917 and 2014’s Birdman as recent well-regarded “one take” flicks.

I tend to view this cinematic concept as a fairly pointless gimmick most of the time. It made sense for Rope and Hitchcock pulled it off well, but I think it seemed gratuitous and distracting for Birdman and 1917.

The same goes for One Shot, a fairly “by the numbers” military action flick. I get the feeling it uses the “no edits” conceit as an attempt to spice up a story without anything new to bring to the table, and it doesn’t work.

Not that Shot becomes a poor film, as the basic tension of the story helps keep us involved. Don’t expect much actual plot or character development, as Shot launches into the action after fairly rudimentary exposition.

Once the radicals attack the base, the violence flies hot and heavy and doesn’t let up for the rest of the film. Though this can feel a bit redundant at times, it still manages to create a moderately tense environment.

Unfortunately, the “one take” scenario becomes a distraction. When I go into a movie that uses this conceit, I can’t help but hunt for the edits.

Rather than make the film more involving, the absence of obvious cuts creates a weird sense of unreality. As I noted, I reflexively search for the ways the movie tries to hide the edits, and that can take me out of the story.

Really, the “one take” concept just doesn’t feel necessary for this story, and the movie occasionally seems to violate its own logic. This occurs mainly when the film leaves the SEALs and focuses on the insurgents instead.

Because Shot attempts to resemble a documentary that follows the SEALs, it feels odd to shift to the radicals instead. This just doesn’t seem to fit the movie’s internal structure and – like the absence of obvious edits – it can take us out of the story.

I don’t want to comedown too hard on One Shot, as even with its flaws, it remains watchable and better than a lot of similar stories. Nonetheless, I think it relies too much on gimmicks and would’ve worked better if it went with more traditional techniques.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio A-/ Bonus D+

One Shot appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.00:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Shot looked the way I expected.

While most of the movie presented nice clarity, some interior shots looked a bit tentative, but only a tad. That meant the majority of the flick appeared solid.

No signs of moiré effects or jaggies occurred. The movie also lacked edge haloes or print flaws.

In terms of palette, Shot favored a strong sense of teal, with a bit of amber as well. Those choices came as no surprise, and the Blu-ray reproduced them in a satisfactory manner.

Blacks showed strong depth, and shadows were good, with nice opacity and clarity. All of this was enough for a “B+” that lost points solely due to the occasional slightly soft shots.

I felt consistently pleased with the immersive DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of One Shot, as the soundscape offered frequent room for information to emanate from the various speakers.

The mix used those chances well. The soundtrack delivered auditory material that spread out across the speakers in a satisfying manner and that blended together nicely.

This meant an active track in which the surrounds kept the mix humming. Plenty of action moments made this an impressive soundfield that also brought out environmental elements nicely.

Audio quality satisfied, as speech was natural and concise. Effects turned into the primary factor, and those elements appeared accurate and vivid.

Music played something of a background role, but the score came across as intended. Expect a strong sonic experience here.

We get two featurettes on the disc, and The Making of a Movie In One Shot spans seven minutes, nine seconds. It provides info from writer/director James Nunn and actors Scott Adkins, Terence Maynard, Ashley Greene Khoury, Jess Liaudin, Lee Charles, Ryan Phillippe, and Waleed Elgadi.

“Shot” gives us notes about the ways the movie pulled off the “one take” concept as well as some other production notes. It leans toward praise too much of the time but it gives us a few insights.

Go Behind the Scenes spans two minutes, 24 seconds and brings info from Khoury, Elgadi, Liaudin, Adkins, Nunn, Phillippe, and Charles. They give us fluffy comments in this superfluous reel.

The disc opens with ads for Till Death, The Outpost and Trigger Point. No trailer for One Shot appears here.

A cinematic gimmick separates One Shot from its genre peers, as it attempts to convince us all its action occurs in a single unedited take. While the film pulls off this magic trick well, the story itself feels predictable and fails to bring anything new to the table. The Blu-ray brings very good picture and audio but includes minor supplements. I’ve seen worse military action flicks, but One Shot nonetheless doesn’t turn into anything especially compelling.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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