Check your brain at the door and you’ll have a rollicking time with Last Resort.
It’s an unabashed, testosterone, red white & blue ra-ra series that could have easily been an obscure DVD rental. It’s even got Robert Patrick and Bruce Davison.
This is created by Shawn Ryan (The Shield, Chicago Code, The Unit) and it centres on a US submarine that receives orders to fire nuclear missiles on Pakistan from deep in the Indian Ocean.
Only problem is the orders are received on a secondary communications system which is only supposed to be used when Washington has been wiped out. And as a quick check of their satellite shows them, Hannah Montana is still playing on domestic TV screens (I kid you not).
So despite his better judgement, or possibly because of, Captain Marcus Chaplin (Andre Braugher) hesitates from firing the missiles and obliterating millions of innocent Pakistanis.
And with that simple action Last Resort is underway.
If you’ve ever watched movies like Crimson Tide then you pretty much know what to expect in this genre: power games, alpha-males, a captain risking his all for his men, potential mutiny, poker faces and action.
In the case of Last Resort the sub becomes a renegade vessel after disobeying orders and seeks refuge on the fictional Indian Ocean island of Sainte Marina (it’s a bit unfortunate the topography looks like a dead ringer for Hawaii’s Lost).
There are no less than three Aussies in this ABC series and all of them feature prominently.
Daisy Betts plays navigator Lieutenant Grace Shepard, daughter of Rear Admiral Arthur Shepard (Davison) who is forced to make a life or death decision. Dichen Lachman runs a bar on Sainte Marina, even keeping her Aussie accent.
Daniel Lissing plays U.S. Navy SEAL as Petty Officer James King, looking like a love interest for Lachman. Lissing comes up trumps here, showing great potential as sexy leading man material.
Robert Patrick appears to be doing his best Martin Sheen act, as a veteran throwing his authority around, either whispering his dialogue or shouting it.
The script by Karl Gajdusek & Shawn Ryan works better in its plotting than in its characterisation. The dialogue is sometimes clunky and resorts to metaphors that work well on the football field.
None of this diminishes from the enjoyment factor of Last Resort. You have to admire a drama that puts such high stakes up front. Given the series didn’t survive beyond 13 episodes, I can’t speak to whether this sustains beyond the first episode or not. Word is the show got a finale of sorts.
If you enjoyed 24 and tolerated the constant patriotism of Commander in Chief, then check out Last Resort.
Last Resort premieres 8:30pm Wednesday on Seven.