TV review: Strike Back

From the August 16, 2012 edition

When Cinemax debuted “Strike Back” last summer, I thought it would just be a vehicle for fast-paced action and gratuitous boobies. Yes, “Strike Back,” a high-octane drama focusing on the British counterterrorism unit Section 20, has plenty of violence and nudity, but there’s a seriousness that pushes the series beyond my expectations.

The best aspect of “Strike Back” — besides some pulse-pounding machine gun battles and break-neck fisticuffs — is the chemistry between its two leads, Michael Stonebridge (Philip Winchester), a British sergeant of the anti-terrorist team, and Damien Scott (Sullivan Stapleton), a former U.S. Special Forces operative. The two came together to stop an attack, and by the end of the season their bond felt genuine.

Season 2 separates Stonebridge and Scott early on, which isn’t ideal, but the storytelling is still pretty strong. The individual narratives are built on solid action tropes, and they set up an enticing conclusion by the end of the 90-plus-minute premiere.

Rhona Mitra (“Doomsday”) is a new nice addition to the cast; her tough-chick skills are underrated and always a welcomed addition in the action genre.

If you missed the first season of “Strike Back,” I recommend catching up before watching Season 2, but if you’re in dire need of good action heroics, you won’t be completely lost. —Jesse Tigges