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Ghost Canyon

'Strike Back: The Complete Fourth Season'
(Sullivan Stapleton, Philip Winchester, Michelle Lukes, Robson Green, et al / 3-Disc DVD / NR / 2016 / HBO)

Overview: 'Strike Back' brings us the actions of 'Section 20', a secretive unit of British military intelligence. A team of special operations personnel conduct several high risk missions throughout the globe.

DVD Verdict: The flashy adventures, all over the world, of British secret service MI6's dashing special ops team Section 20's fearless hotshots are all, and more, showcased here in the brilliant 'Strike Back' TV series from Cinemax. Scott and Stonebridge eagerly chase Latif, the Pakistani Al-Qaeda mastermind behind many terrorist crimes, but also other rogue threats to peace.

Simply put, 'Strike Back' is an edge of your seat, bite your nails, British para-military thriller series. From start to finish the action is bold enough to make one almost wish for an occasional commercial break. And by bold, I must mention the violence, which entails language, weapons, blood, and some very graphic incidents. Speaking of fairly graphic moments, scenes of sex and nudity might assault the viewer sans any kind of introduction or warning. Within the first 20 minutes of episode one, I found myself asking if a great deal of the more colorful images might be rather gratuitous.

Upon further viewing, it became apparent, at least to me, that the various directors (Daniel Percival directed 8 episodes)were needfully tapping into the twisted and harsh landscape and characteristics of war (Iraq) which might beget such raw scenes.

Jim Mistry, as 'the bad guy', Latif, was outstanding. This actor can say so much with facial expression, yet in this series he rarely changes expression from a soul-less stare, arrogantly and calmly laying out and following through with his dirty deeds. His character is irredeemable, yet somehow, to the end he self-righteously postures an honorable agenda.

Philip Winchester (Sgt. Stonebridge), who was the lead in the failed TV series 'Caruso' and acted in 'Fringe', does a bang-up job as a pumped-up, die-for-his-country soldier. Stonebridge is married; he is the thinker, the serious, stable one of the duo. Still, there are layers to this quiet, contemplative man that just might cover a darker side.

Speaking of our duo, Sullivan Stapleton (Sgt. Scott), is brought on board by their Colonel because, of course, they need to go outside their unit to pair Stonebridge with someone of his military-machine-like ilk. Sgt. Scott, a brawny man of might, is a man with baggage, but he does not carry condoms in his baggage. In fact, this man will drop his pants if a women even smiles while glancing sideways in his direction. It appears, Scott is a reckless man with little regard for, or expectancy of a long life. Furthermore, these multitudinous and brief encounters with various women leave little room for one to believe his view of them is quite humane. Again, I ponder ... has Sgt. Scott become a crazed victim of this nightmarish war, killing in one breath, heartlessly and carelessly going from one female to another when there's time? Or, is he is just carrying on, as he was before?

It does eventually become evident that this obverse pairing of Sgt.'s Scott and Stonebridge causes a sort of paradoxical bond. Like two sides of a coin, one heads - one tails, these two characters are able to turn what might have been a negative partnership into an explosively cohesive (I know, oxymoron) machine. You will know what I mean once you watch this series, and this fourth season in particular.

Moreover, the entire talented cast play off each other as if they have worked together for years. The writers are not dull for a moment and do not let us get complacent plot-wise. You never know what or who will happen. Having just filmed the much heralded fifth season, amongst rumors that it will also be their last, 'Strike Back' is here, for now at least. So grab your copy of this fourth season, sit back and prepare to hang on for dear life! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features:

4 Production Recon Featurettes
6 "How To Strike Back" Featurettes