BASED on a series of novels by former Special Boat Service commando Duncan Falconer, Stratton is a globe-trotting spy caper that ricochets between Iran, Ukraine, Rome, Uzbekistan and London.
Long on ambition and short on thrills or invention, Simon West’s pedestrian picture is James Bond on a budget.
Dominic Cooper doesn’t invest his gung-ho operative with charisma or emotional depth, and sexual tension with Gemma Chan’s hi-tech Miss Moneypenny barely simmers.
There’s also thin characterisation and a wooden supporting performance from Danish actress Connie Nielsen as an M-lite MI6 chief, whose clipped English accent has a distinct Scandinavian lilt.
West’s film is licensed to kill time, and little else.
Special Boat Service commander John Stratton (Cooper) and his partner Sergeant Marty Sturges (Tyler Hoechlin) are double-crossed during a mission in the Middle East.
Consequently, rogue Russian agent Grigory Barofski (Thomas Kretschmann) acquires “one of the most lethal airborne pathogens” in the world, codenamed Satan Snow.
The stolen virus is weaponised and Barofski prepares to slaughter an entire capital city using canisters affixed to four drones.
John and his Navy Seals partner, Petty Officer Hank Monroe (Austin Stowell), give chase with support from a team of MI6 technical wizards comprising Aggy (Chan), Cummings (Tom Felton) and Spinks (Jake Fairbrother).
However, a traitor in the ranks exposes Stratton and everyone he holds dear including surrogate father (Derek Jacobi), a salty seadog with a penchant for filthy-minded limericks, who lives on a boat on the Thames.
Stratton won’t be leaving audiences shaken or stirred.
Choppy editing fails to generate dramatic momentum and a solitary twist is telegraphed in advance in capital letters.