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article imageReview: Cinemax's 'Strike Back' strikes again

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By Mindy Peterman     Aug 15, 2012 in Entertainment
In the second season of the action-adventure series, counterterrorists Michael Stonebridge and Damien Scott continue their quest to rid the world of bad guys.
I’m a fan of buddy shows, the ones where two guys (or women) play off each other perfectly yet their ethics or philosophies are different enough to provide a marked yin and yang. Often those differences buoy these relationships and keep them fresh.
So it is with Strike Back’s Michael Stonebridge (Philip Winchester) and Damien Scott (Sullivan Stapleton). These two are tough-as-nails members of a top secret anti-terrorist organization known as Section 20. Scott is roguish, impulsive, a charmer and a skirt chaser. Stonebridge is somewhat more traditional in his ways. Plus he is a married man. Their differences don’t stop them from being the perfect team, as they work to fight terrorism in such remote places as Kenya, Somalia, and Mozambique.
As the first episode of the new season opens, the guys have gone their separate ways. Stonebridge has taken a leave from Section 20 and is training recruits at a military base. His goal is to stay close to home and play the dutiful husband. Scott, on the other hand, is on a hostage rescue mission that takes an unexpected dangerous turn. When a catastrophic event occurs under his command, Stonebridge decides he needs to get back to the field and help Scott out of a life threatening situation. This doesn’t make the wife happy but duty calls.
The show is gritty and intense, owing its impressive realism to the fact that it is filmed with the help of a team of consultants who are experts in the fields of counterterrorism and the military. To prepare for filming, the cast went through nearly a month of military training and tactics, and it shows.
Strike Back is billed as a solid action show but since it airs on CINEMAX, the writers are given more freedom to go wherever their whims may take them. They take full advantage of this, which does not always serve to move the story forward. Rivers of blood and guts abound. Heads are shot off. Brain matter goes flying. Sex? Yes, it’s there in abundance. It doesn’t take long for us to witness Scott and his latest paramour doing the deed. Hardly anything is left to the imagination during this tryst and a couple of closeups are way more explicit than what you might expect on a show like this.
If well plotted, character driven action shows are your thing, give Strike Back a try. You might find getting past the gratuitous nature of the provocative scenes and the over the top violence has its own rewards: the Stonebridge/Scott relationship which is truly what drives the show.
Season Two of Strike Back premieres Friday, August 17 at 10 PM on CINEMAX.
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