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ONE SHOT: 3 STARS. “wall-to-wall video-game style gunplay.”

The title of “One Shot,” a new action movie starring Scott Adkins, Ryan Phillippe and Ashley Greene Khoury, and now available on VOD, is a double entendre of a sort. The adrenalized action heroes at the heart of the film have one shot to quell an attack, and director James Nunn has cleverly filmed all the action in “real time,” using camera tricks to make it look like this was shot in one, long continuous take.

The story begins with a squad of Navy SEALs led by Lt. Blake Harris (Adkins) airlifting junior CIA analyst Zoe Anderson (Khoury) to a remote Guantanamo Bay-esque prison to a “United Nations of terror” suspects. Anderson’s job is to extract Amin Mansur (Waleed Elgadi), a British national who pleads his innocence, but is suspected to be a mastermind of a 9/11 style dirty-bomb attack on all three branches of the American government.

Deputy Site Manager Tom Shields (Phillippe) stalls the prisoner’s release, inadvertently allowing time for the ruthless terrorist Charef (Jess Liaudin) and his insurgents to overrun the place, freeing captives and trying to kill Mansur before he can spill the beans on the plot to bring down the government.

“One Shot” isn’t about the characters, political subtext or even the siege story. It’s all about the “one shot” gimmick, wall-to-wall video-game style gunplay and a sense of urgency.

For the most part the gimmick works, although, if you’re like me, you’ll be taken out of the story as you try and see where the subliminal edits are. It’s a distraction that fades as the running times passes because director Nunn choreographs the action expertly, creating a sense of unpredictable immediacy. You never really know who is around the next corner or hiding behind a pile of sandbags. It’s edgy you-are-there filmmaking, aided by cinematographer Jonathan Iles, that makes the generic story and stereotyped characters somewhat interesting.

The relentless violence, however, becomes tiering after a while. The first gunshot happens around the 19-minute mark and the bullet ballet continues pretty much nonstop for the rest of the running time. There are breaks in the action, usually as someone tends to a wounded person, but they are few and far between.

“One Shot” is a b-movie with efficient brutality and some edge-of-your-seat scenes, but the script is as riddled with clichés—”Sometimes it is harder to save a life than it is to save one,” intones Anderson when the going gets tough.—as the characters are with bullet holes.

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