"Less than one percent of the population is psychopathic. Psychopaths often inherit the trait and are incapable of love. They manage their relationships with clinical precision, succeeding in all walks of life. Psychopaths that can learn to love are even more rare, as rare as a black swan."
These opening lines are by the narrator William Lewis (Tom Wilkinson) who owns the private military company 'Black Swan'.
In the opening scene from the Netflix film 'SAS: Rise of the Black Swan', also known as 'SAS: Red Notice', William is seen driving a truckload of soldiers through Georgia. Among them is Grace (Ruby Rose) - his favourite daughter and worthy successor to the Black Swan company.
Surprisingly, instead of Russia, like in most Hollywood productions, the British government hires Black Swans to help install a transnational gas pipeline through a remote village located at the fictional Gveli Pass in Georgia.
After facing resistance, the military group starts a massacre - committing international war crimes.
Directed by Magnus Martens, the film, based on the novel of the same name, falls short for its clichéd storyline and poor execution.
The cast of the film includes Ruby Rose, Andy Serkis, Hannah John-Kamen, Tom Hopper, Noel Clarke, Owain Yeoman, Ray Panthaki, Anne Reid and Tom Wilkinson.
The film's premises may come as confusing to the viewers, irrespective of whether the film is a sci-fi or plain old action where the 'good guys' never die - no matter what.
In retrospect, the question about who the good guys are in the film prevails.
Most characters don't have any depth and certainly are poorly written. The actors' poor performances only made it go downhill from there.
As an SAS (The Special Air Service of British Army) officer, Sam Heughan's acting in the film was below the mark.
What further baffled me was the way the camera kept zooming in to highlight his smouldering expressions, which seemed like his only acting skill in the film.
Ruby Rose's performance as Grace is much more authentic compared to most actors in the film. Tom Wilkinson deserved more screen time as it was only his character and acting that were enjoyable.
The action scenes were nothing out of the ordinary and the cinematography was average. Still, many events that unfolded throughout the film were rather comic in a non-comic way and failed to be logical.
The film tries to convey the message that psychopaths are cold-hearted and can become ruthless killers and villains. But the script and direction failed to articulate that message properly. It felt as if the film's story was moving forward without any direction and fell all over the place.
The last scene of the film hints at a sequel (but let's hope there won't be one).
'SAS: Rise of the Black Swan' did nothing but waste two hours and three minutes of my time and I regret watching it.