SAS: Rise of the Black Swan (2021) Review

Sam Heughan and Ruby Rose headline this punchy action thriller well

Rony Patra -

SAS: Rise of the Black Swan (2021) Review
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What is the story about?

When an operation to clear out a village in Georgia and kill its inhabitants for a British gas producer attracts global outrage, the Black Swans, a group of covert mercenaries, are slapped with Red Notices. The UK government decides to send trained commandos Tom and Declan as part of a covert operation to eliminate William Lewis, the head of the Swans, and his children Oliver and Grace. However, Grace manages to escape and decides to hijack a Eurostream train to Paris. Unknown to her and her team, Tom is travelling in the same train along with his girlfriend, Sophie. Can Tom stop grace and save everyone in the train?


The "assassin actioner" is a genre that is pretty solid to watch, irrespective of the story, and director Magnus Martens ensures you are thrown into the story from the first frame. Earlier titled SAS: Red Notice, SAS: Rise of the Black Swan never feels like a drag in spite of its action sequences, and that is because it's actually a guilty pleasure to watch the British government scramble to deal with the fallout of a mercernary operation gone wrong. The action set-pieces are neatly executed, and there are rampant civilian deaths, but there is a solid gripping story at its heart. The film impressively rakes up issues of ethics and morality among mercenaries, as you realize more and more that Tom and Grace may not be that different from each other except in terms of intent. This is a scenery-chewing actioner that satisfies a lot, and hopefully a sequel isn't too far away.


Sam Heughan is solid as Tom, though you feel his character could have been better-written. Ruby Rose is a scene-stealer as Grace, and both she and Heughan are fun to watch as they lock horns. Andy Serkis is decent as the wily Clements, who interacts with mercenaries on behlaf of the UK government. Hannah John-Kamen is all right as Sophie, while Richard McCabe has a bit role as Tom's manservant Callum.

Music & Other Departments

The action set-pieces and background score are done very well.


The sequences of the explosion outside the English Tunnel are executed very well.


Some secondary characters aren't written well, a prominent example being Declan.

Did I enjoy it?


Do I recommend it?

Yes, if you're an action buff.

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