SAS: Red Notice Review

SAS: Red Notice cover art by Sky Cinema

SAS: Red Notice is a 2021 British action thriller film, based on the novel of the same name by Andy McNab. The film stars Sam Heughan, Ruby Rose, Andy Serkis and Hannah John-Kamen. SAS: Red Notice was released on 12th March 2021 and is available to watch exclusively on Sky Cinema/NOW TV.

SAS: Red Notice follows Special Forces soldier Tom Buckingham who comes face-to-face with a terrorist organisation who attempt to blow up the Channel Tunnel. As someone who has actually travelled on the Channel Tunnel a few times, I was fascinated by the plot and the logistics around how the terrorist group would physically go about blowing up the Channel Tunnel. The premise of the film is intriguing, with the focus on the Tunnel being a nice twist from regular terrorist based films and there is a bit of a fictional political backdrop to the film which helps give it a little more depth.

Sam Heughan plays the lead character Tom Buckingham, a Special Forces soldier, planning to propose to his partner Sophie in Paris. Sam Heughan is best known for his work in the historical drama series Outlander and following his performance in SAS: Red Notice, it’s clear to see why he is such a well-respected actor. There’s been a lot of talk off the back of SAS: Red Notice that Sam Heughan could potentially be a contender to play James Bond in the future – I certainly think that he has all the charm and charisma to become the next 007.

The supporting cast is impressively star-studded, with Ruby Rose portraying Grace Lewis the leader of the terrorist group, Noel Clarke playing SAS Major Bisset and Andy Serkis starring as hired mercenary George Clements. Ruby Rose’s character is one the better supporting characters, with Grace having a good balance of motive and purpose in her attempts to explode the Channel Tunnel. Unsurprisingly, Andy Serkis is fantastic in his portrayal of the double crossing mercenary, George Clements. Andy Serkis is extremely distinctive in his work and his performance makes George Clements one of the most interesting characters in the film.

With an interesting premise and impressive cast, it’s a shame the story is a bit disjointed at times. There are a few scenes in the film that feel out of place and careless which I think is as a result of poor screenwriting. Whilst the film has a nice, fast pace to it at the beginning, there are a moments, particularly in the final third of the film, that felt far too rushed. I was hugely disappointed with the ending to the film – I’m not sure if it was attempting to set up a sequel, but I found there to be a real lack of closure. Similarly, we do get a few glimpses of Tom’s backstory, but these ultimately just serve as fluff when compared to the entertaining scenes in the rest of the film.

The film does a good job at creating a tense and thrilling atmosphere and this is as a result of engaging action scenes. Whilst the action itself doesn’t break any boundaries from action sequences we’ve seen before, the ‘behind enemy lines’ nature which develops as the film progresses, creates intense heart-in-mouth moments that thrill the audience.

It’s been a while since we’ve had a truly British feeling action thriller and SAS: Red Notice does help to fill that hole to some degree. Whilst there are a few passive moments in the film, for the majority it is a fun, captivating watch. It is often said that “the film is never as good as the book” and if Andy McNab’s written work of SAS: Red Notice explores its fascinating story in even more depth, I certainly want to give it a read!

The Verdict

Whilst SAS: Red Notice is at times let down by lazy writing, its fascinating premise and star-studded cast make it an easy and entertaining watch.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.


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