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Review: Last Resort and Andre Braugher deliver thrills
Last Resort's Scott Speedman and Andre Braugher. Image: Sky
In Last Resort, Sky1's latest US import starring Andre Braugher (as Captain Chaplin), the crew of a US submarine disobey suspicious orders to launch their nukes, forcing them to take refuge from on a tropical island as traitors.
Where to begin? A pilot crammed with tense and surprising moments, but my pick would be the startling actions of Captain Chaplin against his homeland in the final act. The best TV kick since the heyday of Kiefer Sutherland's 24.
The weakest scene involved actress Autumn Reeser (as Kylie Sinclair) in her lingerie, but only because the "sexposition" of the moment felt so ridiculous.
High-concept military thriller Last Resort delivered a tense, gripping, exciting, and ambitious scenario with influences ranging from Crimson Tide, 24, Battlestar Galactica, Lost, and pulpy Tom Clancy/Clive Cussler novels.
This eagerly-awaited pilot doesn't disappoint, but the only question mark hanging over the show is a familiar one: can this idea evolve and adapt to the needs of a weekly TV series, or will it turn flaccid now the cinematic pilot has aired?
"Last Resort delivered a tense, gripping, exciting, and ambitious scenario."
Last Resort's pilot laid foundations, explaining the show's high-concept: after receiving orders to nuke Pakistan, Captain Marcus Chaplin of submarine the U.S.S Colorado doubts their legitimacy and, with the support of XO Sam Kendal (Scott Speedman), refuses to follow protocol.
As a result, the Colorado's fired upon by the U.S.S Illinois, and makes its way to the island of Sainte Marina to commandeer a NATO listening post...
This was a terrific opener, particularly if you're a fan of its many inspirations. Ryan's script was drum-tight, the action sequences genuinely thrilled (courtesy of Casino Royale's Martin Campbell), and the confidence in plotting and performances was engrossing.
I particularly enjoyed how the story set-up sources of conflict among the characters: in the whiffs of sexism from an almost entirely male crew, the presence of some confrontational Navy SEALs, and potentially mutinous sailor Prosser (Robert Patrick).
On the South Pacific island where the crew land, there's also the issue of local despot Serrat (Sahr Ngaujah); he isn't happy his territory's been invaded by arrogant Yanks.
Add that to the government conspiracy about who sent the Colorado its distrusted orders and why someone's obscuring the reasons they're at war with Pakistan, and you can see promising future scenarios.
Did you enjoy the Last Resort pilot?
Thanks for being one of the first people to vote. Results will be available soon. Check for results
- 84 %Yes - it was thrilling
- No - it was overrated
As marvellous as this pilot was, it also delivered uncertainties; how long can this idea last as a TV series?
If Last Resort is to be a show about treasonable sailors trying to fit into an island community, while rattling sabres at the world until their names are cleared, I doubt large audiences will stick around for that.
However, it does help that the actors are captivating, particularly the marvellous Braugher (whose bravura closing speech is worth watching for alone).
But if this action-packed premiere isn't indicative of what Last Resort's truly about, then it's perhaps unfair to judge it at this point.
If it turns into a compelling study of patriotism and ethics, there's hope... but it'll take masterful writing to pull it off. Still, engaging characters and fantastic sequences abound. The only doubt is its conceptual longevity.
- Verdict: A dazzling, exciting, stimulating thriller
What other reviews say
The Guardian - "Don't turn this into another Lost, a show with a brilliant premise that disappeared up its own bum."
Entertainment.i.e: "It's a bit like Voyage To the Bottom of the Sea, but with no space creatures made from garden hose, sticky tape and a bit of imagination."
What people on Twitter said
@Simon_T_Barker - "At last something decent to follow on tv. Last Resort on sky 1. Gripping stuff."
@wildirishcat - "Just caught up with last resort on sky plus, its not the newsroom, but its pretty good! x"
The views in this article are those of the author alone and not of MSN or Microsoft
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