Reviews written by registered user
|2 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Okay, first and foremost this is supposed to be an adaptation of the
book - if you've read the book and are expecting it to be retold on the
screen you're really not going to like it. It's the loosest form of
adaptation ever known and could have easily have just been it's own
story in it's own right.
The story starts with the ditsy, slightly crazy Dubliner Claire, (Anna Friel) as she graduates from university and sets off for the bright lights of London with boyfriend Adam who's following her under the impression that she's all set for her new career in journalism. Claire's rather sporadic relationship with the truth however has caused her to leave out the fact that she doesn't actually have the new job, just an interview and when things go to pot with that Adam finds out the truth and storms back to Ireland.
Things look up for Claire though as she bumps into (literally) one of her interviewers, James (Jamie Draven), and when she finds Adam gone and James looking for more she thinks why not and starts dating him.
Skipping forward several weeks and Claire's story takes a turn when she finds out that she's pregnant. Knowing that Adam is the father she tries to tell him but he gives her the cold shoulder, in tears she heads back to James to come clean but when he cuts her off with excitement and doesn't let her tell him that he's not the father she gives in and keeps the truth to herself. Skipping forwards again the now heavily pregnant Claire goes into labour while James is ring shopping and their relationship comes to a crashing halt as the discrepancy in the length of her pregnancy comes to light and James is left with the realisation that he isn't the babies father.
Dumped and alone, Claire runs back, tail between her legs, to Dublin and her parents, dropping in a few more tall tales to cover up why she's alone with a newborn until her father collapses with a heart attack as the truth comes out. Forced into growing up and telling the truth Claire comes clean to ex boyfriend Adam about the baby and they awkwardly try to make amends while James turns up at her parents house after realising that he can't just let her go and forget it all because deep down he really loves her.
The final moments of this made-for-TV movie blow up with the showdown between Claire, Adam and James after he believes Claire has just 'moved on to the next guy'. When James lays his heart on the line and tells Claire that he came back to make amends and to see if she would come home to be a family with him he finds out that Adam is the father and, devastated, leaves to head home. Knowing that her and Adam could never be happy together because she loves James, Claire runs after him to the airport to tell him and after a will-they- won't-they chase they finally fall into each others arms.
Anyone who's read the book knows that this version of the story is VERY different, however, it's sweet and funny and feel-good nonetheless.
Yes it's predictable, no, Anna Friel's Irish accent isn't that great, but it's not a Hollywood blockbuster. It's just a sweet little take on a book that runs along nicely, has a fantastic supporting cast with faces such as Brenda Fricker as Claire's mother and is a little over an hours worth of soft-hearted, chick-centric viewing.
If all else fails, ignore the story and just smile, doe-eyed whenever the delectable Jamie Draven comes on screen - he gives a sweet little performance and is certainly easy to look at. Drama fuelled, edgy characters may be more his forte, but he still gives a great performance and it's always nice to see him get a chance to show off his smile!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Giving this show a rating is quite difficult and I've found myself torn
between where to place my vote. You see, Ultimate Force had 2 fantastic
seasons, (1 & 2), and then rapidly went downhill.
Based on Seasons 1 and 2 however I find it hard to give it too low of a rating - they were excellent. However, having seen so many reviews and comments complaining about accuracy it feels like it is necessary to point out this is not a documentary, it's fiction and with fiction comes a need to let the odd inaccuracy slide once in a while. That said of course, Chris Ryan didn't do the worst job in the first two seasons and while anyone can figure out a lot was held back, they tried to give it a decent feel of reality.
Seasons 1 and 2 followed the original Red Troop cast through a nice variety of story lines, from bank sieges, surveillance and infiltration to kidnappings and hostages, even throwing in a little black bag along the way. You were shown the discipline and the characters actions had a large degree of precise accuracy to them. They shot to kill, they didn't miss and they were good at what they did. Unfortunately, this didn't carry on until the shows end.
Season 3 began with the vast majority of the original cast being removed - Jamie Dow (Jamie Draven), Pete Twamley (Tony Curran) and Ricky Mann (Danny Sapani) were all killed off with their faces covered and poor voice doubles while Caroline Walshe (Alex Reid) was nothing but an empty desk and a mention of having been transferred and this marked the beginning of the end.
The feeling of precision and high standards disappeared almost instantly. Rebecca Gallagher (Heather Peace) joined Red Troop as a trooper after going through selection which was hard enough to deal with - you can ask an audience to suspend a little disbelief but suddenly asking them to believe that a woman is let into the SAS is taking it a little too far. The season felt like the production company hoped that a woman who was happy to appear naked and often topless would boost ratings and if that failed they'd try to grab the extra viewers by tripling the explosions. Episodes turned into 10 minute long scenes of explosions and firefights where they appeared to just run into a room and start shooting, often just filling the area with ammo till someone died.
Season 4 seemed to be so desperate to claw back some respect that the writers came up with more and more ridiculous plots, more terrible FX and an even longer list of 'witty one liners', finally culminating in the most ridiculous of all.
While some may find it hard to stomach that SSgt Henno Garvie would shoot a Captain in cold blood (#2.6 Dead is Forever) and thus prove that there was nothing he would stop at to protect the men around him, it's even harder to believe that a recently nearly blinded sniper cuts the wire on the timer of a nuclear bomb with a bullet while his SSgt hangs upside down off of a crane holding onto said bomb 200 feet above the ground....with 1 second left on the clock. All with terrible green-screening and superman jokes.
Let's also not forget the recycled casting from the same episode, (#4.5 Slow Bomb), when the American female terrorist is the same actress that played Marisol, a member of the global action group attempting to kill a European banker in Season 1, (#1.2 Just a Target).
So while I have given Ultimate Force a hearty 8/10 this is based purely on Seasons 1 and 2 and still even now, years later, would recommend them to anyone. They had a great cast with fantastic chemistry, well developed characters, interesting plot-lines and for the ladies, yes Jamie Draven in SAS gear, (the latter alone would make me give it a 10/10 if I wasn't trying to be fair). If I were to rate Seasons 3 and 4 however, it would barely scrape a 4/10 - and that would probably only be for the few flickers of promise that flashed through once in a blue moon - they just unfortunately didn't last.
A shame really, it started so well.