Pictured from left, Sullivan Stapleton as Damien Scott and Philip...

Pictured from left, Sullivan Stapleton as Damien Scott and Philip Winchester as Michael Stonebridge in Cinemax's "Strike Back." Credit: Cinemax


WHEN | WHERE Second season starts Friday at 10 on Cinemax

REASON TO WATCH Bullets, bombs, breasts, bloodbaths.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT If this isn't TV's highest-body-count actioner, tell me what is. Sullivan Stapleton's disaffected American supersoldier again joins forces with Philip Winchester's British counterterror agent to mow down global evildoers. Where, you ask? In Kenya. And Somalia. Plus the U.K. And, uh, other places. Filmed in South Africa, "Strike Back" is all over the map, in more ways than one, as swift-paced proceedings from myriad locales get woven into what's supposed to be a tapestry of terror by Bad, Bad People.

Familiar face Rhona Mitra ("Boston Legal") arrives right away, as a supposed newbie in West African diplomacy. But as this season's slogan proclaims, "Diplomacy is overrated." By episode's end, she's strapping on the artillery.

MY SAY I'd love to have a show like this to love -- wanton action, quippy banter, adult sexuality, high-tech tackling of our big-brother-always-watching world. But all those surveillance cams and satellite images beamed to handlers back at U.K. HQ mostly just fill in exposition around the convoluted activity. Its hasty pace frequently muddles precisely who's who where, when or why. Even the zippy sex scenes play like another gratuitous burst of firepower.

BOTTOM LINE It's got game, but not much sense.


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