By: John M Jerva
Welcome to a new feature here at Action-Flix which is called the Tubi Top Pick! A lot of you know that Tubi is a free streaming service that offers countless movies and TV shows both old an new and aside from a few commercial breaks, this is really one of the best sites out there especially for action cinema lovers. On Tubi you’ll find blockbuster movies along with more obscured titles which is really a blessing for film buffs like myself. I already do a feature called the Tubi Top Five which I’ve been meaning to do more of but here I’ll spotlight a certain action film that’s needs some love and is currently streaming on the site.
The first title for the feature is actually a movie called One Shot but it’s not to be confused with the Scott Adkins action film coming later this year. This one is actually from 2014 and it stars one of the most underrated actors/producers working in indie action cinema today. His name is Matthew Reese and he’s also got some lethal fighting skills and a sense for military tactical moves on screen and he’s one that definitely needs to be used more in the industry.
Reese has his own production banner called fittingly enough Matthew Reese Films and through it, he’s put out this film as well as the Navy SEAL action flick along with a prison film called Riot. Reese has real screen presence and like I said is a gifted on screen combatant that he’s displayed multiple times in movies which also includes the aforementioned Riot which he starred alongside veteran tough guys Dolph Lundgren and Chuck Liddell.
In One Shot, the plot is pretty straight forward as it concerns an alien race named the Ceruleans hell bent on eradicating the human race. In a desperate attempt to fight back, humans take the war to them by invading their home planet and fighting a guerrilla style war against them. One such soldier is elite sniper Kyle Matthews (Reese) who after suffering heavy casualties with his unit is left behind enemy lines alone and must battle the alien force to stay alive.
Along the way he runs into a female alien named Mirra (Nichelle Aiden) who was mysteriously left for dead by her own race. Matthews rescues her and nurses her back to health and during this ordeal, he becomes infatuated with Nira and thus must make a choice and take a stand to protect her all the while trying to win a war snd save humanity. No pressure at all.
At first glance, One Shot doesn’t really stand out as it’s clearly a low budget affair and while the special effects are of the video game looking variety, it still has presence. It’s also important to point out that the aliens look human aside from having blue eyes so this is clearly probably a way to save money so no creature effects are needed. I for one found it refreshing that they were human looking because who says there isn’t a race out there that doesn’t look like us.
Matthews throughout the movie continues his tactical war against the aliens all the while Commander Gibson (Kevin Sorbo in an extended cameo role) looks on from the military’s space station. Gibson does what he can to help from a distance but it’s clear that Matthews is essentially on his own and must dig deep inside himself to pull out the one man army lurking within.
The real strength of One Shot is Reese himself who also produced the film and he’s excellent in the film’s many action sequences where he runs and guns along with dispensing some empty handed close quarters combat whoop ass on the bad guys. There’s multiple slo-mo shots of Reese leaping into action and some of them are exhilarating with some expert moves pulled off by the actor. Reese excels in the action and his martial arts, knife fighting and CQB skills are precise which adds a layer of authenticity to the movie. I should know because I’ve trained in the arts for decades.
There’s something about the one man behind enemy lines plot point that I’ve always admired and it’s probably due to the fact that it showcases a hero who just won’t quit. In today’s age of the flawed hero in movies, it’s nice to see good guys that are exactly that…good. Also knowing that there’s no backup coming gives these types of films a more tense and taut viewing experience for audiences.
There are some pacing issues that might frustrate fans as there is some down time between action beats but I felt it was to move the plot along. Also the production budget probably only allowed for so much but when the action does come, it’s fierce and brutal.
The real highlight of One Shot is the inevitable man a mano showdown between Mathews and an alien enemy combatant named Omar played by Adam Abram who is also a gifted martial artist. Abram also fought Reese in The Eleventh Hour and here their rematch is a standout. The film does suffer from not having a bombastic climax but this throw down makes up for it although I would have preferred it to be longer in length.
Sorbo isn’t given much to do except bark orders while looking at a computer screen but he does the best with his limited screen time and he’s definitely a name to draw people to the movie.
Fellow collaborator to Reese and director John Lyde, who helmed The Eleventh Hour and Riot as well, does an admirable job here and the action is shot clearly and edited well. There’s no real shaky cam effect and all the moves can be seen in full detail which is always a big plus. You can see the chaos and the stars do their thing to full effect.
Overall, One Shot doesn’t reinvent the wheel and it’s straight forward indie action cinema with sub par special effects but Matthew Reese elevates it with his presence and particular skill set. There’s enough practical action and stunt work to be had and even though it’s slows down in the middle, the fights are worth sticking around for. If I had reviewed this film upon release, I would have given it a solid 3.5 out of 5 stars. Hopefully Reese does more with his talents in the future as the genre can use more people like him.