Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe (TV Movie 2011) Poster

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Fun, retro look at Sam Axe and his history.
Virago617 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Backgrounder for Sam Axe, our much adored side kick to Michael Weston. Totally in character, well laid out. Even answers the oft spoken question of from where the name 'Chuck Finley', Sam's alter ego, arises. Hokey special effects, less than strict attention to detail as to military rank, uniforms, and protocols. Yet, enjoyable all the same. Should be released as a DVD copy, especially with outtakes and bloopers. Written by Matt Nix, so we get the delicious inside jokes and humor we know from Burn Notice. Good direction by Jeff Donovan, plus his appearance is an appealing portion of foreshadowing. It would be nice to have similar retro looks at Michael and Fiona's beginnings.
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Very Groovy
WOLVERINE25th24 April 2011
Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe is a journey into the past of the series' most enigmatic character as only Bruce Campbell can play him.

Set in 2005, the movie follows Sam's last mission as a Navy Seal before he wound up retired in Miami. A moment of indiscretion gets Sam sent into the South American jungles to deal with a terrorist group causing havoc. But, things aren't what they seem.

So far, the biggest complaints about this movie are that some of the uniforms are inaccurate, which means they must be doing everything else right. As made for TV movies go, this was very good. Even thought it felt more like one of Bruce's B-movie romps than an actual extension of Burn Notice, that only helps bring home the fun of the movie. Bruce gets many a great line, and a few nods to both his past and his fans.

The other characters ranged from well-acted to a kind of meh performance, and the overall direction by Jeffrey Donovan was well done. Fans of both Bruce and Burn Notice will enjoy this picture and come away feeling satisfied. Was this necessary? Maybe not. Was it worth it? Hell yes.
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Most enjoyable and funny
hemmetti20 April 2011
Been a fan of Burn Notice from the beginning I thought this movie was just an other ripoff of my favorite show. Never been so wrong. This movie is so hilarious and exciting from the first seconds right to the last frame. It's been so long that I have laughed so much watching the whole thing through. Now I know what lies behind Sam Axe, and as someone pointed, it would be nice to see the beginning of Michael Westen's story (he made a cameo role here) as well. I think this is one the the best movies I've seen in years. Nothing deep and meaningful, just pure fun without the serious over exaggerated exploding action. Comedy? Yes! Entertaining? Absolutely! Full of action? Rright on! Compared to any other action/comedy movie: A Winner! I think The Fall Of Sam Axe is one of the most recommendable movie for anyone who likes a good old-school action comedy.
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One for the Bruce Campbell fans!
chrichtonsworld23 April 2011
People can moan and shout all they want. Bruce Campbell has charisma. He doesn't have to do anything and he still is likable on the screen. Aside from the simple storyline. Bruce Campbell shows what makes Same Axe such a great character. With all his flaws he is a person you can rely on. No wonder that Michael Weston trusts him. While there aren't many references to the show Burn Notice itself. It does give the fans where they have been craving for from the start. To have a Sam Axe storyline not involving Mike Weston. I think they should do a whole bunch of these. Even if the show would end. Only with much better story lines.Now it is possible that even having charisma is not enough for people to like Bruce Campbell. Well,if that is the case than I think you will have trouble liking this movie. Since the whole movie is build on Bruce.I was skeptic at first. But overall the movie is very entertaining. Forget about the show and it's twists and just soak in a little bit of Bruce.
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Burn Notice on Burn Notice, Sam needs his own show.
kelvaris-119 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
TV movies are awful. They tend to be a 40 minute show stretched out to 90 minutes. This is not the case with BN:TFOSA. Bruce Campbell does his usual awesome job of entertaining the audience that you forget you are watching TV. I especially appreciated the nods to Evil Dead, and his book, thank you Bruce for being a fans actor. Many "A-listers" could learn a lesson or two about respecting the fans from you (yes I am looking at you George Lucas).

Jeffrey Donovan does a admirable showing as a director. He used some good moves behind the lens without getting crazy. Many times directors will so desperately want to "show their style" they get funky beyond reason, not the case here. He kept the action steady and allowed us to enjoy it. Thank you.

The writing was better than average as well. I can't review the script ( I didn't read that, and who knows how close the shoot came to it) but I can certainly see Mat Nix's hand on it. I would be surprised if they deviated much from his very excellent work as a writer.

The only complaint I could make would be the realism factor was down. I know BN tends to lean toward the A-Team side of realism and The Fall stuck with that style.

Since this movie was announced at Comicon last year I have been eagerly awaiting it. I was not disappointed, and if you like Burn Notice, neither will you.
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Distracting but uneven in tone and not particularly good in any specific regard – it is carried by Campbell though
bob the moo20 May 2011
Between season 4 and 5 of Burn Notice, this prequel movie of sorts was produced that focuses on Sam who, when we join him, is undergoing an informal military "interview" over his actions during a mission in Columbia. This flashback structure takes us away from the normal settings in the main but (hopefully) still allows for the easy mix of style, comedy and action that makes Burn Notice a "safe pair of hands" when it comes to prime time. From the start it does feel like we are in a "lesser" product though because the camera work and sets seem to lack the style, colour and flair of the TV show proper. It feels and looks like either less money was available for it or the makers were playing it in a slightly different way.

The result is somewhat of a B-movie thriller except with an oddly uneven tone running across it. Sometimes it is amusing but it is never hilarious; sometimes it has action but it is never exciting; it just tends to have a little bit of everything to make it passable for those willing to go along with it. If you sat to watch it without any vested interested in the character of Sam then probably you'll not get much from it but then this is because it doesn't offer a huge amount for you. The main selling point here is Campbell and he does make it more entertaining than it deserves to be because his performance and his character are quite fun. The in-jokes for his fans are a nice touch if a little clunky, while he throws himself into it with energy and good comic timing. The supporting cast are never more than average though and it does hurt the overall film.

The effects are solid enough and the A-Team-esque action is decent and bloodless enough to distract. The direction is surprisingly "straight" though; the TV show has lots of music and quick cuts and sliding transitions but here the presentation is a lot more drab by comparison – a bit of "oomph" in this regard would have helped the film feel slicker and more fun as works for the show. Overall The Fall of Sam Axe is a distracting bit of filler to those fans of Burn Notice, even though it never gets to the same level of entertainment or fun as the actual show does. Bruce Campbell fans will get a kick out of it and it is certainly an "easy" watch but nothing more than that.
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Flaming Notice: Sam Axe is on the Rise
Jaymuller18 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The concept is easy enough; a made for television spin-off prequel to a popular series with a cult following, on a dirt cheap, shoestring budget. Who said executing a concept is easy? The humor exhibited in Burn Notice: The Rise of Sam Axe spans the gauntlet from down-right imbecilic to border-line sophisticated.

At the very beginning we see foreshadowing, in the form of his seemingly obsessive compulsive attention to the precision of his belt buckle's orientation, soon contrasted by a scene making one have no choice but to smell the possibility of the video game rights being sold to the makers of "Donkey Kong". Sam Axe, brilliantly portrayed by the affable Bruce Campbell, of "The Adventures of Briscoe County Jr." fame, is a living, breathing, oxymoron sans the "oxy", capable of leaving his calling card at the scene of the alleged crime while simultaneously reminding us how the likes of James Bond, Jason Bourne, and Jack Bauer often take themselves too seriously (perhaps those guys should be connoisseurs of Scotch, like Sam). I can't vouch for the authenticity of his uniform, or verify whether or not naval personnel are required to salute indoors, but I enjoy a good laugh when I see one.

The cameo with Michael Weston (played by Jeffrey Donovan) is priceless. Jerry Seinfeld was not a better mentor to George Costanza, nor was Bud Abbott to Lou Costello. Accordingly, the tone of the movie is much more comedic than that of its progenitor. Fans of "Burn Notice" will especially appreciate the term of endearment Sam uses when referring to an un-named ex girlfriend of Michael's. The interplay of the source of the soundtrack with specific situations is reminiscent of a Mel Brook's movie.

On the more sophisticated end of the comedy spectrum are the way subtitles don't always correspond to the spoken words, whether or not subtitles were even necessary in a given scene, and how Sam clumsily, yet fluently, spoke Spanish so inconsistently. I am reminded of numerous scenes in Quentin Tarantino's "Inglorious Basterds". Two examples are how Sam says "flaming sword" instead of "burning sword" for his interpretation of "ardiente espada", and when the subtitles display "thank you" when he says "gracious bandidos".

Sam Axe should also receive the "Second Best Use of a Chainsaw in an Under-funded Film" Award. The name of the first best user of a chainsaw in one of those situations escapes me, making me feel like a tree. Chainsaws don't help trees, people help trees. To cap it all off, the song played at the end is about Snow White, in celebration of a Cinderella victory. Nice.
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Vintage Bruce, not much else.
RamblerReb8 May 2011
As a long-time Bruce fan (I first saw Evil Dead in the early 90's, not realizing the man already had a cult fan base), I enjoyed every scene Bruce was in, and since he was in virtually every scene in the film, obviously I enjoyed most of the film. The doctor guy was annoying, the love interest was whiny but an OK foil, the teen girl was hot but evidently found the scenery too tempting to resist gobbling up in big bites. The villains were competently played but telegraphed oily evil immediately, losing all sense of suspense there.

It was predictable and a bit preachy, and the mention of the SOA was bordering on heavy-handed, but Bruce charms and smirks his way through it and makes an otherwise forgettable bit of tripe an actual pleasure to watch. It is significant, however, that no one but him could have.

Of course, one doesn't watch Bruce Campbell for the outstanding special effects (Alien Apocalypse, anyone?), the great supporting cast (The Man with the Screaming Brain?), or the realistic, down-to-earth plots (any Evil Dead you care to name), one watches for Bruce. By that standard, this movie does fine.
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A Brucie Spin on Burn Notice
Parks8 May 2011
Fans who only know Bruce from Burn Notice might feel that this movie isn't as tightly plotted as usual and focuses too much on comedy. Bruce-only fans meanwhile will probably be surprised find Bruce playing it more straight than usual.

But if, like me, you love both Bruce AND Burn Notice, you'll lap this up! It comes across a little like a TV movie version of Romancing the Stone, with a sharper political edge. Writer/creator Matt Nix clearly has a somewhat jaundiced view of US foreign policy in Central America.

Bruce, as always, lifts the whole thing with his charisma - he's like a more self-aware, mocking version of James Garner and Matt Nix cleverly plants lots of in-jokes for both Burn Notice fans and Evil Dead-ites alike. Jeffrey Donovan's cameo felt a little forced, but other than that it's all good.

If you're immune to both Bruce and Burn Notice you'll spend your time finding fault with the accuracy of the thing. Otherwise you'll just sit back and be entertained by a fun action/comedy for 90 minutes.
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A great way for a Burn Notice follower to fill the absurdly long inter-season hiatus.
rrjmdpa18 April 2011
The long anticipated prequel to the Burn Notice series answered many of our nagging questions about the series and Sam Axe in particular; but, posed even more. Matt Nix (the writer) and Bruce Campbell (the actor) played the Sam Axe character true to the form we would expect of a former Navy SEAL, if anything even more so. Affable, caring, not taking himself too seriously -- but with a high sense of loyalty and duty as well as street savvy. For the most part, a "squared away" SEAL - except that most of those guys that I'm acquainted with are quite a bit more serious, and anything but easy going.

Unfortunately, not all the show's characters fared the same. Don't get me wrong, none were poor actors; just that, some were weaker than others. And, most were appropriate for the genre and situation; but, just as in the series, some were written unbelievably stupid, or uni-dimensional or repetitive. Matt does seem to have a bit of a penchant for writing controlling shrews as lead female characters.

The director, Jeffery Donovan (Michael in the series), and writer are apparently much more acquainted with crooks, thugs and terrorists than they are with anything military. Guns, bombs and thugs are portrayed with amazing accuracy but anything military (especially Navy) seems to end at the mere term: "Navy SEAL." Supposedly Mr. Nix relies heavily on spy consultants but no one associated with the show appears to have even served in the military. No attempt seems to have been made to even approximate the correct insignias, uniforms, badges or military law (J.A.G) processes.

None-the-less, the series isn't about the military, TV budgets aren't the same as movies, Jeffery is a beginning director, and Matt... well he's Matt, one of a kind. The character-driven story was so compelling that, if you didn't look too deeply, or become annoyed with the characterizations, it was two hours well spent. Followers of the series will not be disappointed and will be well served with the new explanations, the new questions to answer, the expansion on a well-liked character, AND a great filler to a terribly long season hiatus.
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Fun to see Sam Axe back story.
film12723 April 2011
Our family was thrilled to see that we'd be getting more of Bruce Campbell as Sam Axe. He did a good job with the material. You definitely see his Burn Notice character's core integrity in this.

The writing has some funny and some drama, but at times was a bit obvious and clunky. The only thing that really nagged me was the shrewish attitude of the lead female. Don't know if she was directed to play it that way or if it was the writing, but it was annoying.

Some of the other posters commented on the CGI. I didn't really care about that. You still get the gist of the action regardless.

Overall, it's worth a look to get the back story on a popular character. And get more Bruce Campbell in your life.
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If you were going to make a prequel he was the right one to use
gary-722-63616125 June 2013
For whatever reason I never knew this even existed and just watched it this night (6-26-13).

The movie itself was nothing to write home about but was nice to see Sam being Sam.

With Burn Notice ending after this season I am actually glad I didn't know about this till now as it was the beginning to the end of a TV show I greatly enjoyed.

For such a hodgepodge character set I was always amazed that they made it work. Campbell's character was a big part of its success and quite possibly its glue.

If you are a fan of the show it is worth watching.
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A story about a fictional military character should get the uniforms right.
orion_ss122 April 2011
I really wanted to like this movie. I am a big Burn Notice fan, and like the Sam Axe character. But other than the basic uniform colors being white and khaki, little else showed anyone connected with the project had ever met anyone in the Navy. I got the bit that he was supposed to stand out in the jungle, which is why his superiors gave him blue urban cammies ( on a covert op, but with his name on his cammies ), and while usually Seals go in as a team, Sam went in alone. Sam was supposed to be a Navy Seal, but wore a Surface Warfare Officer device. His white hat did not have the scrambled eggs a full Commander would be wearing. The khaki uniforms of his interrogators had no rank insignia.

The story wasn't bad, but it wasn't that good either. It would have been a passable two-part episode, but it left a lot of room for improvement.
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TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews5 October 2016
Colombia. A hospital needs protecting. The final mission before he retires to Miami. After it goes wrong, Sam(Campbell, and it is *his* show for sure: charming, goofy, serious when called for) faces an informal inquiry. What happened back there? With framing device securely in place, explaining the narration, we can begin.

Sanchez' charity aid worker is too similar to her infamous Niki, though the snark fits the tone of the franchise. She does end up less frustrating than that. Maybe it's that I've seen both her and Paolo in roles where I don't hate them. Xerxes! Even when they give him nothing to do, he's awesome. And she's solid in A Perfect Getaway, an enjoyable if flawed film. A role not everyone could have handled. A doctor, an angry teen girl, and a few individuals who shouldn't be trusted - good guys and bad alike are compelling. We get nice, big fireball explosions, gunplay, stunt work and more. Guerrilla warfare, strategy in the face of uneven odds, this fits right in. You can go into this blind, though there are great nods for the fans.

There is some bloody violence and disturbing content in this. The DVD comes with several extras. Its full hour and a half commentary track is informational and funny, featuring the star, the director and the show creator. There's 26 minutes of a great Comic Con panel. The Fall of Jeffrey Donovan is an 11 and a half minute joke documentary, as the talent supposedly cracks under the pressure – it's hilarious and easily the single best thing to come out of the production of the picture. The 1 and a half minute deleted scene is fine. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys spy action thrillers, and/or the work of the deeply enjoyable, the one, the only, the Bruce. 7/10
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Nobody asked me, but...
dmbishop23 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
OK, as a big Burn Notice fan I looked forward to seeing this TV movie. And, in truth, I did enjoy the whole two hours. It was the same great character Bruce Campbell plays on BN. For that it is worth the time. BUT! As a career US Navy man I feel the producers were disingenuous to the viewers with their lack of almost any idea on navy customs or uniforms. Surely, if being a Seal is so important to the plot and the inquiry the basic setting, then someone should have spent a few minutes with attention to details like proper uniforms. Rank insignia, mismatched uniforms and even uniforms not in existence at the time could be kind of overlooked. But when the officer, whatever his rank, referred to Sam as "soldier," I had to write. Not even in your wildest dreams would THAT have happened. Boys and girls, come on, this is not deep research we are talking about here. Nobody asked me, but...
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Burn Notice tease!
dak955420 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This was a great film because Bruce Campbell stayed so true to his character, Sam Axe; the Sam Axe we know and love from Burn Notice.

The appearance of Michael Weston just brings a smile to your face and the fact that the inside jokes or small jabs they take at each other are from Burn Notice.

Yes, some parts are super cheesy but they still make you feel good because you just cannot dislike Bruce Campbell and his charming self and smile.

I think this was probably one of the better TV movies ever made. The story was simple enough and most of all it related to BN and that almost gave me goose bumps. God I miss that show and all those characters.

Cheers, Daniel
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For Campbell fans..
A_Different_Drummer18 November 2014
... and if you are not one, you should be.

Look, Campbell was pushing 60 when he did this and his performance is so smooth that he qualifies for the title KING OF COOL with the likes of Steve McQueen and John Travolta.

The whole thing has a tongue in cheek feel, but that is hardly a bad thing since most of the headlines these days have a foot in your *&&%% feel.

The dialogue is sharp, the scenery is interesting, the women (all two of them) are pretty, and there is a beginning a middle and even an end to the story.

What more could anyone ask for?
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Playfully lightweight action comedy
BeneCumb15 August 2013
As of today, I have consecutively seen all available Burn Notice series and, in general, I can say I like it a lot. Well, some activities make you shrug your shoulders and ponder on moral and disclosure issues, but the versatility of characters is the strongest part of the series. Including Sam Axe, whose certain frivolity provides additional value - also visible in The Fall of Sam Axe. The plot has been exploited multiple times and series viewers know the outcome, but still: Sam's attitudes, nattering, cautiousness and finding witty solutions are pleasant to follow, and some twists included bring the movie beyond trivial punishment expedition of Latin American cartels. Many other characters are seen in the series as well.

Must for series followers (as Sam's past was only briefly referred there), for the others - nice 1,5 hour in front of screen.
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Very Good
navyman133 November 2011
When making such a movie, the producer should hire a Navy expert. I am a Chief Petty Officer (Retired) and willing to work as an adviser from a more realistic standpoint as the movie lacked technical accuracy as well as a serious lack of detail to uniforms. I would provide a realistic boot camp for the actors as they needed more of a military type approach to acting in-spite of the comedy involved with the acting.I would also provide a sense of weapons used for more accurate handling. I am a Gunner's Mate by trade and handling of small arms was a special warfare training protocol as I served in direct support of the SEAL Teams in Vietnam. My experience with such details would be of great help to any production of these types of action movies.
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my notes
sstrunks-0524527 July 2019
Eh. couldn't keep my interest. not on the same level as the show (about 2 viewings)
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nogodnomasters16 April 2019
Warning: Spoilers
What we learned from this movie is that Bruce Campbell can only play one type of character. Fortunately he does it well. You know this is going to be a comedy from the beginning when Campbell as Sam Axe is escorted by two SPs, with serious swagger music, through mis-operating gates and doors. Sam is a Navy Seal. He is not the "kill Bin Laden" type SEAL but the have sex with the admiral's wife (Chandra West) type of SEAL. This lands him on a job in Columbia dressed in camouflage garb designed to hide someone in the middle of the Atlantic.

In Columbia, while looking for terrorists, things take a twist and then another, and another. Kiele Sanchez plays a clinic doctor and was marvelous in her role. And of course what would a Bruce Campbell movie be without a chainsaw? 4 1/2 stars. Acting is not something Bruce Campbell does well, but we love to watch it anyway. The twists is what made the movie humorous.

No F-bombs, no sex, no nudity.
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Great Bruce Campell movie
grimes-scott66020 April 2017
Typical of many Bruce Campell movies. Mix of humor, a little bit of emotion. Though a prequel to Burn Notice, so very different, with its humor. But great to tell the story of how Same Axe left the Navy. If fan of Burn Notice, a must see, but don't expect it to be serious. It is listed as last episode of Season 4 on Netflix, but really is a standalone movie.
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Sam Axe's Story
Terryfan28 October 2015
When I saw the promo for Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe I thought I would check it out.

Being that Burn Notice is one of my favorite shows I thought it would be worth the watch. Lucky I didn't fee disappointed. The film feels like a prequel to Burn Notice and having a story from Sam's point of view.

It also gives us a look into what Sam's life was like before the events of Burn Notice. Along with the fact they actually took their time in this TV movie

The acting in the film matches that of the TV series and it works very well and Bruce does a good job and shows why he was picked to play Sam Axe. The music in the film is good and the story is strong enough to hold your attention.

Overall Burn Notice: The Fall Of Sam Axe is a good prequel to Burn Notice and fill you in on the history of Sam Axe.

I give Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe an 8 out of 10
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Burn Notice The Fall of Sam Axe: Very enjoyable spinoff
Platypuschow17 May 2019
I'm a big Burn Notice fan, and I deem Bruce Campbell a god among men. This was tailor made for me, right?

The Fall of Sam Axe tells the origin story of our titular hero, his early antics and adventures in the deep jungles of Columbia.

It sets itself apart from the show well and doesn't really utilize the other cast much. It does however still feel like Burn Notice, what with the familiar beloved character, story development style and narration.

I was concerned whether it would work but as Campbell has proven time and time again he works just fine as a leading man. Combine that with a surprisingly great supporting cast including Pedro "Game of Thrones" Pascal and the roster is a solid one.

Maintaining that perfect balance of seriousness and comedic elements this spinoff movie is really enjoyable, heartfelt and a very worthy addition to the Burn Notice franchise.

Burn Notice with even more Bruce Campbell? Yes please!

The Good:

Great cast

That Burn Notice charm

Beautiful scenery

The Bad:

Nothing springs to mind
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Slipshod, lightweight, and implausible.
dugsdale21 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
First, if you haven't seen this yet and want to, read no further--go watch instead, because you deserve to see TFOSA unimpaired by my dour outlook on it. Maybe it's unfair to take this vehicle MORE seriously than it takes itself, but I found it an overlong exercise in missed opportunities, implausible plotting, jarring inauthenticity in the military aspects, and performances that were sometimes a little too superficial (usually the show strikes a good balance between light banter and lethal circumstances, but here not so much). Strong performances by seasoned pros are what keep BN from skating into complete unbelievability (with my thanks and much credit to Sharon Gless, Coby Bell, and Gabrielle Anwar for that). Here, the two standout performances for me were Chandra West and Ilza Rosario, particularly the latter, whose publicity stills on IMDb hint at an entirely different career trajectory than the 'young Joan of Arc' persona she portrays convincingly in TFOSA (and kudos to the production team for casting her). If the rest of the company's performances had been up to the level of these two, and if the writing had been a little less careless about authenticity and believability, this might have been something. As it is, you need a big dose of "suspension of disbelief" to get through it.
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