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Shooting Robert King 01, Blood Trail, Robert King, Vaughan Smith, Richard Parry 2008 2009

Shooting Robert King (aka Blood Trail): follows an aspiring war photographer through 15 years and three conflicts. First off, Robert King is a total asshat. We meet him as a young – egotistical – douche, and see him grow to a middle-aged cold-and-jaded douche. He comes across as the worst parts of the psychotic “Cool Ethan” from Slackers and the grating Josh from Generation Kill (the singing driver). A lot of the “OMG” moments feel set up, or are ridiculously convenient. For a documentary about a photographer, there’s not actually a lot of his work, and it’s mostly nondescript handheld footage from his freelance cameramen buddies in the ‘good old days’. What’s weird is that he clearly wanted to film a documentary from day 1 of his career – hence the abundance of ‘look at me’ and ‘look at the peril’ type interviews he did. There are a couple of more disturbing / shocking moments – pics of dead bodies, and bombing / war aftermath; and a boring deer-hunting simile / parallel that is just unnecessary filler. The best part of the documentary is a 2-minute montage of his best photos; however the best thing on the disc is a 5-minute slide show in the extras – which are more powerful, interesting and tell a better story than the full-length 80-minute documentary. Most annoyingly, the doc doesn’t tell you anything about the wars he’s covering, showing only Robert King trying to make it all about him. Whilst his story is remarkable, having such an unlikeable person at the centre of this makes it very hard to appreciate.

Score: 3/10

Shooting Robert King 02, Blood Trail, Robert King, Vaughan Smith, Richard Parry 2008 2009

Strike Back Season 1 John Porter Richard Armitage Andrew Lincoln, Orla Brady, Shelley Conn, Colin Salmon, Jodhi May,  Toby Stephens, Ewen Bremner, Dhaffer L'Abidine, Shaun Parkes, Alexander Siddig

Strike Back (Season 1): When he takes the blame for a failed mission, Spec Ops soldier John Porter is kicked out of the SAS, but re-hired seven years later to catch a familiar face. After the briefest of setups Strike Back is pretty much just action-action-action with the odd scrap of plot – it has to be one of the most action-centric, kick ass, blood splattering, neck-snapping, omni-exploding pieces of TV badassery out there. Richard Armitage (as John Porter) holds his own and really makes the show, as the central Damaged Hero, and total badass – channeling guys like Rambo & Mclean – and could probably take on Jack Bauer in a fight; not even kidding! As the series sprints forward, the main backstory becomes more intricate, and interlinked with the current missions. The episodes which are decadently overflowing with set-pieces, deception, betrayal, action, adrenalin and politics – are all surprisingly believable, at least until the Scottish hacker pops up in the final mission. All-in-all Strike Back is like a mythical unicorn hiding in the TV Schedule: an action-heavy, huge-budget, Movie-styled TV show consisting of 3 interlinked adrenaline-soaked 90-minute episodes that truly raise the action bar. Action fans rejoice!

Score: 8.5/10

Strike Back Season 1 John Porter 2 Richard Armitage Andrew Lincoln, Orla Brady, Shelley Conn, Colin Salmon, Jodhi May,  Toby Stephens, Ewen Bremner, Dhaffer L'Abidine, Shaun Parkes, Alexander Siddig