‘One More Shot’ Review: A No-Holds-Barred DTV Spectacle

James Nunn’s One Shot had the biggest potential out of any direct-to-video actioner Scott Adkins led in so long: an action film staged like a one-take in which Adkins would topple as many baddies as possible as if the audience were playing a video game. And while it certainly contained its moments of pure spectacle, the overall result wasn’t as grandiose as it should’ve been, focusing too much on the technical exercise and less on the characters. Worse yet, the staging of its action scenes didn’t warrant the “one-take” gimmick, with most scenes competently choreographed but visually unimpressive. The sequel, One More Shot, picks up just a few hours after the first left off.

The story of One More Shot

In One More Shot, Nunn refines the skills he introduced in the original for a more fun and spectacular actioner that decidedly takes advantage of the “one-shot” gimmick as Jake Harris (Scott Adkins) has to fight another group of baddies at the Washington Baltimore Airport, as they are on the hunt for terrorist suspect Amin Mansur (Waleed Elgadi) to take the fall for a potential nuclear bomb attack during the President’s State of the Union address. 

The group are mercenaries led by Robert Jackson (Michael Jai White), who plan to set up the biggest terror attack on US soil the world has seen. With Mansur and his wife, Niesha (Meena Rayann), in danger, Harris must once again protect them and find out where the bomb is hidden before Jackson and an operative working under the shadows enact their plan in action. 

Nunn makes a striking use of space in One More Shot

What sets One More Shot apart from One Shot is Nunn’s striking use of space, which never goes to waste here. The first film is set in a CIA black site and constantly moves its camera inside and outside without a clear vision of properly using its environment. The airport setting in the second installment means tight corridors, large open areas, escalators, moving trains, tarmacs, and airplanes, of course! With this vast geography, Nunn crafts action scenes that fit each space while keeping the momentum and tension high with its “one-take.” 

Scott Adkins and Waleed Elgadi in One More Shot (2024)
Scott Adkins and Waleed Elgadi in One More Shot (2024). Image courtesy of Sony Pictures.

Here, the oner doesn’t feel like a technical exercise or, worse yet, a gimmick. There’s nothing worse than watching a movie when its visual language doesn’t support what’s on screen. One Shot had the potential for a lean and mean one-take DTV actioner, but Nunn’s incredible unconfidence at staging action that would fit its small budget and gimmick didn’t really work. In One More Shot, he’s elevating every aspect of the first film’s action, never letting up on the momentum built by its first setpiece and constantly putting Harris in trickier and scarier situations than the last. 

One scene, in particular, sees Harris impersonate a member of Roger’s group in an attempt to save Amin as he is forced to read a manifesto that will implicate him in the terrorist attack. The sequence is masterfully paced and takes full advantage of the “oner” gimmick, with the camera constantly moving to Amin, Harris, and his wife, as they are stuck in a situation that could lead to his demise if Harris doesn’t play his cards right. The tension naturally builds itself as the situation grows tense, with the handheld camera deftly observing the characters inside a moment they can’t control. The conclusion to the scene feels shocking but strangely predictable, as Nunn quickly established in the first installment that everyone is expendable. 

Scott Adkins lead any movie he stars in with grit and gusto

As an action star, Adkins has consistently proven himself to lead any movie he stars in with grit and gusto. The fact that his career has mostly been in the DTV world feels like a disservice to the skills he can bring to every action film. In many respects, he is one of the truest action stars of our era, who has always elevated the craft of a fight scene through his precision and tactility. Nunn fully understands the talent he can bring as an action star and consistently puts him in sequences where his talents shine the most. 

One of those is a one-man-army battle inside a moving train, which leads to the film’s best use of its constantly moving camera as the goons pursue Harris inside an underground area. As the baddies are looking for Harris in the foreground of the space, Harris is always seen in the background quietly toppling each person one by one before he gets to the main villain of the group, leading into the grittiest and most cathartic fight scene of the entire film. Each move is incredibly kinetic and powerful, resulting in the film’s bluntest – and most violent — death that finally elevates the shoddy R-rated action of the first into a full-on bloodfest. 

Scott Adkins in One More Shot (2024)
Scott Adkins in One More Shot (2024). Image courtesy of Sony Pictures.

Yes, give us the countless bodies killed in a grueling fashion by Adkins as he attempts to escape the airport’s chaotic frenzy and tries to find the bomb before the mercenaries do. Give us the tactile one-on-one, hand-to-hand combats with Adkins and Jai White (who makes the most of his limited screen time) and shootouts where characters have no time to breathe or think. They only have time to act quickly, as one false move will surely lead to their death. Make us care about the characters through poignant moments where Harris and Mansur lay out their respective vulnerabilities to trust one another instead of circling in one-note conversations that read as if they’re non-playable characters inside a video game. 

It’s a shame, however, that none of the villains are particularly interesting. They’re all boxed into clichés and can’t seem to elevate their portrayals beyond the monotonous attributes given to them at the start, particularly one specific character who starts the film as a hero but is revealed to be the biggest operative of the mercenaries. The performance itself is fun to watch, but the character is so shoddily written it’s almost a miracle the actor came out of the film unscathed. 

The film’s non-ending also disappointedly caps off One More Shot with a whimper instead of a ‘closed chapter,’ like One Shot’s approach. Still, it’s almost inevitable that One Last Shot (I have no insider information, but there’s no chance in hell it isn’t called that) will happen now. Whether it’ll be released next year will remain to be seen. However, there’s no chance it will not be one of the biggest events in direct-to-video action cinema since the real introduction of Luna Fujimoto as a bonafide action star in Sniper: GRIT – Global Response & Intelligence Team. Perhaps she could join in the fun with One Last Shot? Your move, James Nunn. 

One More Shot is now available on digital and on demand.

Have you watched One Shot or One More Shot?  What did you think? Do you agree that One Last Shot is inevitable? Let us know on X @MoviesWeTexted.


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