Ewan (Sean Bean), a burnt out secret service agent must pursue and eliminate a deadly suicide bomber and dismantle a terrorist cell that is wreaking havoc on the streets of London before they strike again.
A down-and-dirty action flick with a surprisingly melancholy sting in its tail, this streamlined thriller stands as a commendable example of how a B movie can successfully smuggle in deeper themes without losing a step. Based loosely on actual events, the story follows a ruthless Secret Service agent (Sean Bean) with a personal stake in hunting down a series of London-based Islamic terrorists. While recovering from a botched bodyguard assignment, Bean is tasked by his superiors (James Fox and a Sahara-dry Charlotte Rampling) to take down a squad of suicide bombers, by any means necessary. From there, the story skips back in time to show how a young cell member (Abhin Galeya) is transformed from an idealistic student into a man with a terrifyingly single-minded mission. Writer-director Hadi Hajaig manages an uneasy balancing act throughout, well illustrating the elements that lead average people to tragic extremes, without ever glorifying the results of their actions. (The film's title refers to an extremist with no prior connections to terrorist activities.) The narrative's thoughtful lack of gloss also extends to Bean's character, whose brute-force tactics end up deepening as many problems as they solve. By the time both sides inevitably collide, the differences between black and white have long been obliterated. In a time of indestructible heroes and post-gunfight quips, Hajaig's film comes as a welcome, terrifically acted rarity: a relentless shoot-'em-up that keeps you thinking long after the endorphin rush has worn off. --Andrew Wright