REVIEW: THE TICK (2017) – SEASON 1 – PART 1

MAIN CAST

Peter Serafinowicz (spy)
Griffin Newman (Draft day0
Valorie Curry (Blair Witch)
Brendan Hines (Lie To Me)
Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen)
Yara Martinez (Jane The Virgin)

RECURRING NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Christian Navarro (13 Reasons Why)
Whoopi Goldberg (The Muppets)
François Chau (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2)
Bryan Greenberg (Prime)
Alan Tudyk (Firefly)
Scott Speiser (6 Ways To Die)

This new Tick series (following the famous ’90s animated series and the ill-fated first go at live-action on FOX back in 2001) takes a bit of a subtle left turn into soft Rated-R territory, allowing things to feel a little more grounded and grittier while also permitting the occasional F-bomb to fly free. Yes, it’s weird to think that the mostly-jovial world of The Tick could exist alongside actual carnage and bloodshed, plus profanity, but it works really well. As does the show’s parody of a Punisher-style murder hero named Overkill (Scott Speiser).After striking oil with the perfect tone for a Tick live-action series, this show also cunningly crafted its sweet and salty spine by casting Peter Serafinowicz as The Tick and Griffin Newman as Arthur – and then allowing the two of them to explore the actual mental maladies involved with this particular hero dynamic.The first episode introduces us to a very different take on Arthur. A traumatized Arthur who’s almost incapable of functioning as an adult without medication and the supervision of his sister Dot (Valorie Curry). Arthur is on a hero’s journey, obsessed with revealing the truth about a thought-to-be-dead supervillain named The Terror (Jackie Earle Haley), but he lacks the muscle and confidence to follow through. He’s all conspiracy theories and crime boards (and Reddit threads), but no real desire to bring about justice himself. From…wherever The Tick comes from. The second episode deftly toys with the idea of Tick possibly being some sort of mental manifestation of Arthur, like a Tyler Durden. Or even The Maxx, if you’d like to stick to comics and possible avatars of past trauma. Arthur has the intel and the personal vendetta while bullet-proof Tick has the ability to waltz in and lay waste to a villainous lair. Meanwhile, Tick isn’t quite sure of his own origins and keeps speechifying about doing good and answering the call of one’s true fate. It’s a pairing too serendipitous to ignore as both, right when they find each other, need the other.Serafinowicz’s Tick is pitch-perfect. Hallmarks, and expectations, set up by the animated series dictates that Tick be large, barrel chested, baritone, and brave. But important to the story too is the friendship that he and Arthur eventually cultivate. Arthur needs to be annoyed with everything at first, but you need Tick to be soft and supportive enough so that Arthur will eventually see him as a light in all the darkness. Tick, in his own right, needs to be rather unflappable in his pursuit of evil-doers, but he also can’t want to go after the villains without his trusted chum because Tick, aside from being his own particular style of doofy do-gooder, is meant to be therapeutic for poor Arthur. Despite taking place in the ream of super-powered heroes and villains, The Tick is a small series. The meager budget shows at times, but when VFX are used, they’re well-placed and important. The fact that the tone of the show is meant to ground everything and make the heightened feel a bit more real means that things tend to operate like they would in every day life. If you’re, say, a crime lord like Yara Martinez’s Ms. Lint or Michael Cerveris’ Ramses and you only have, maybe, a dozen paid thugs in your employ, you’d basically be without goon support if someone came and thrashed all of them. You don’t have an endless supply.This is a show where, as part of the world’s backstory, the aforementioned Terror actually succeeded in killing off America’s top hero team, the Flag Five. There are realistic consequences mixed in with the superhero silliness and that helps create a foundation with stakes. You understand why Dot is so afraid for Arthur when he embarks on his misadventures with Tick (complete with a impenetrable flying battle suit that imprints itself on Arthur – and yes, resembles a moth for reasons unknown). Their entire family had been ripped apart due to collateral damage from super-powered beings warring up above so you’re fully immersed the life or death aspects of the story. Nothing ever goes so dark that it all becomes Watchmen, but it does start to hit home like a more jagged version of The Incredibles. The Tick is a quick, delightful binge that perfectly captures the spirit of the 90s animated series while shading things a bit darker in order to present a more grounded world for a live-action setting.  Peter Serafinowicz’s Tick is also awesome as daft mysterious hero who appears to help a troubled man cross the finish line on a life’s journey to find justice.

 

 

 

Advertisements

REVIEW: SEMI-PRO

CAST

Will Ferrell (Elf)
André Benjamin (Be Cool)
Woody Harrelson (The Hunger Games)
Andrew Daly (Life As We Know It)
Will Arnett (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Matt Walsh (Bad Santa)
Andy Richter (My Boss’s Daughter)
David Koechner (Anchorman)
DeRay Davis (Scary Movie 4)
Jackie Earle Haley (Human Target)
Jason Sudeikis (Son of Zorn)
Tim Meadows (Mean Girls)
Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids)
Ed Helms (The Hangover)

In 1976, Jackie Moon is a singer who used the profits from his one-hit wonder, “Love Me Sexy,” to buy a basketball team in the American Basketball Association, the Flint Tropics, becoming the owner, head coach, and starting power forward. The ABA Commissioner announces a plan to merge the league with the National Basketball Association, but only four teams will move to the more established league. The Tropics, the worst team in the league, are in danger of dissolving. Jackie argues that the teams with the four best records should be merged and the Commissioner accepts.Jackie trades the team’s washing machine to the Kentucky Colonels for Ed Monix, former backup point guard for the Boston Celtics. The Commissioner reveals that the Tropics will also need at least 2,000 fans at every remaining home game.Jackie begins to stage extremely desperate stunts, like wrestling a bear named Dewie. The Tropics begin playing better with Monix, as well as the increased intensity of Clarence Withers. Monix takes over as offensive and defensive coordinator and starting point guard, leaving Jackie as the head coach. Monix trains the team rigorously with a play he calls the “Puke” as the players are to run it, until they throw up.From Monix’s training, the Tropics go on a winning run, moving from last to fifth. Jackie gets a visit from the Commissioner. The NBA does not think that Flint has a large enough media market and will not allow the Tropics into the league even if they beat the first place San Antonio Spurs. Jackie admits that he stole “Love Me Sexy” from a napkin his mother wrote on three weeks before she died. Realizing that all his assets are basically stolen, Jackie trades Withers to the Spurs so that he may realize his dream in the NBA. Monix inspires the team to leave everything on the court, while they may not be able to continue the franchise after this season, they have come very far and still have a lot to prove.Going into the Spurs game, which Moon declares the “MegaBowl”, the Tropics are in fifth place and with a win they would make it into fourth, although they have no chance in making it into the NBA. The game begins and the Tropics fall behind quickly. In the closing seconds of the first half, Jackie gets fouled hard by Petrelli while going up for a shot and is injured. Withers decides he has seen enough and rushes in to the Tropics locker rooms with the rest of the team, which angers the Spurs.

During halftime, an unconscious Jackie imagines that he is in heaven with his mother. He apologizes for stealing her song and she gives him a weapon in order to win. On the court, the Tropics reveal their new weapon: the alley-oop. With the return of Withers, it is very effective and he leads the charge. The referee calls the play a foul, but after some persuasion by Jackie and Monix, is soon convinced that it is a legitimate score. The Tropics take advantage of this new strategy and begin coming back. After the Spurs start defending against the Alley-Oop, Monix calls a time-out and calls for them to run the “Puke” with 12 seconds left and down by two points, 115–117. The play gives Jackie the ball, but he gets fouled hard again with two seconds left. Shooting granny style, Moon sinks the first basket. The second rebounds off and Monix tips it in right at the buzzer for two points to win.The Spurs’ coach offers Withers his position back. The now-former ABA Commissioner offers Jackie a position on the staff of the NBA Assistant Commissioner, as a marketing director. As Jackie is about to accept, the Commissioner is mauled by the Dewie the bear.

I was entertained throughout this entire movie made me laugh and kept me smiling.

REVIEW: MANIAC COP 3: BADGE OF SILENCE

 

CAST

Robert Davi (The Bad Pack)
Robert Z’Dar (Tango & Cash)
Caitlin Dulany (Dark Justice)
Gretchen Becker (The Doors)
Paul Gleason (Die Hard)
Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen)
Julius Harris (Live and Let Die)
Grand L. Bush (Demolition Man)
Doug Savant (Desperate Housewives)
Robert Forster (Dragon wars)
Ted Raimi (Xena)

Image result for maniac cop 3A priest practicing the Voodoo arts resurrects Matt Cordell (Robert Z’Dar), who takes his badge and comes back from the dead to do his bidding. Meanwhile, a pair of cameramen who are hoping to make it big come across a convenience store robbery, where a police officer named Katie Sullivan (Gretchen Becker) intervenes in a hostage situation; she manages to wound the suspect but realizes that the clerk is his girlfriend, and she had let him in purposefully to rob the store. There is a crossfire, and while Kate is severely wounded, she ends up killing the clerk in return. When rushed to the hospital, she is rendered comatose and brain dead, much to the chagrin of investigating officer Sean McKinney (Robert Davi). McKinney catches the report of Katie using excessive force in a hostage situation, which portrays the clerk as an innocent victim and threatens to free the badly injured Frank Jessup. Meanwhile, stalking Katie’s progress, Cordell goes to the hospital to watch her. He kills one of her supervising physicians with defibrillator paddles, then exposes to high amounts of X-Ray radiation the physician set to sign the warrant to cut Kate’s life support. The reporters who had framed Kate are then murdered, as well.
Image result for maniac cop 3Meanwhile, McKinney and a physician, Susan (Caitlin Dulany), are investigating the murders and the strange behavior experienced by the comatose Kate. Their investigations lead them to Houngan (Julius Harris), who admits that he had brought Cordell back from the dead, and he is interested in Kate who is on the verge of death. At gunpoint, Cordell forces Houngan to attempt the resurrection on her, but he is unable to do so, stating her spirit is refusing to return from the dead to be with him. Cordell kills Houngan, and both he and Kate are set on fire in the process; she is immolated. As they escape, Susan and McKinney are chased by Cordell, who survived the fire while remaining ablaze. He chases them in a beat up police car, while they ride in an ambulance. They manage to throw an oxygen tank into the burning car before both crash. However, before Cordell can back up on the other disabled vehicle, the canister goes off, blowing up the car. Later, the charred corpse of Cordell is rolled into a morgue, next to the burned remains of Katie. While the lone coroner, who rolled Cordell into the morgue, is busy with his computer, the camera pans to the bodies, which shows Cordell’s hand moving over to hold Katie’s hand.Image result for maniac cop 3Yet again the maniac cop Matt Cordell is back on the streets, this time he has been resurrected from the dead by voodoo, the story goes in a different direction but is still a great cult horror making the series up to a classic trilogy to upgrade your DVD its worth it.

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: HUMAN TARGET: THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MALL

CAST
Mark Valley (The Siege)
Chi McBride (Pushing Daises)
Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen)
Indira Varma (Game of Thrones)
Janet Montgomery (Black Swan)
GUEST CAST
John Michael Higgins (Bad Teacher)
Rebecca McFarland (Two and a Half Men)
Taylor Boggan (Safelight)
David Orth (The Lost World)
Marie Avgeropoulos (Cult)
This Christmas-themed episode opened with a family being driven off the road by a 4×4 and a slightly creepy man telling the driver to kill the family. Luckily, the cops show up. Back at the office the family show up asking for help, interrupting a Christmas argument. As the team takes the case, Ilsa tells Chance that she’s going to Uganda for the holiday. To protect the family, Chance starts work as a temp beside the father, Richard Applebaum (John Michael Higgins) with Guerrero working in the office as a janitor. Winston watches after Richard’s wife, Rachel (Rebecca McFarland), while Ames watches their son, Joel (Taylor Boggan), while he works at the mall.
Richard is convinced his boss, Nick Meachem (Chad Willet), is behind the attack, so when he is asked to go down to the file room, he expects the worst. Thankfully, Chance stops him attacking his boss. While this is going on, however, the men behind the attack are at Richard’s house giving Winston a little bit of trouble. Later that night, after a little coercion from Ames, Joel sneaks out to a party down the street. At this point, Guerrero finds out that the guy behind the attacks is named Klemah Severenson and he’s actually after Joel and his laptop. Severenson’s men then turn up at the party, leading to a pretty good fight once Chance has gotten there. With the novel use of a stapler, Guerrero helps Chance arrange an exchange so that Severenson can get the laptop and then leave the family alone. The exchange is to take place at the mall where Joel works. The team take their strategic posts around the meeting place, the best of which is Winston dressed as Santa. Once the meeting goes wrong, of course, a chase ensues during which Chance borrows Santa’s sleigh to catch Severenson. Back at the office, the team have a little Christmas moment before they all have to leave and Ilsa comes back. Then we get a little sentimental scene between Ilsa and Chance.
 The Christmas episode of Human Target was a very light-hearted affair with some very good action in it. The team dynamic seemed much more balanced without Ilsa being involved. Ames really seems to have fit in and the writers aren’t just using her as comic relief. A lot of the humour in this episode comes from Chance’s hatred of Christmas and how, on this job, he’s in ‘hell’.

REVIEW: ROBOCOP (2014)

CAST
Joel Kinnaman (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo)
Gary Oldman (Leon)
Michael Keaton (Batman 1989)
Abbie Cornish (Limitless)
Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen)
Michael Kenneth Williams (Gone Baby Gone)
Jennifer Ehle (The Ides of March)
Jay Baruchel (Million Dollar Baby)
Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers)
Aimee Garcia (Impastor)
In 2028, multinational conglomerate OmniCorp revolutionizes warfare with the introduction of robotic peacekeepers capable of maintaining law and order in hot spots such as Iran. Led by CEO Raymond Sellars, the company moves to market its tech to domestic law enforcement, but the passage of the Dreyfus Act, forbidding deployment of drones on U.S. soil, prevents this. Aware that most Americans oppose the use of military systems in their communities, Sellars asks Dr. Dennett Norton and his research team to create an alternative. The result is a proposal for a cyborg police officer. However, Norton informs Sellars that only someone who is stable enough to handle being a cyborg can be turned into one, and some candidates are rejected.
A Detroit police detective, Alex Murphy, is chosen after he is critically injured in a car bomb explosion arranged by crime boss Antoine Vallon in revenge for Murphy’s investigation into his activities. Norton persuades Murphy’s wife Clara to sign off on the procedure. Upon waking up and realizing the extent of his transformation, Murphy flies into a rage and escapes the lab, but Norton shuts him down and brings him back to the lab. As Norton reveals to Murphy that the only remnants of his human body are most of his head (excluding parts of the brain), his respiratory organs, his heart, and a hand, Murphy is disgusted, and asks for euthanasia. Norton reminds Murphy about his wife’s and son’s patience, and convinces him to live on. During combat training with trainer Rick Mattox, Murphy proves unable to compete with the standard OmniCorp drones in efficiency. Norton alters his programming to make him more efficient by having drone programming take over his actions, but make him think they are his. This increases his efficiency dramatically, but also makes him less empathetic due to his human nature being bypassed.
Shortly before he is to be publicly unveiled, Murphy has an emotional breakdown, forcing Norton to remove his emotions. During the ceremony, RoboCop identifies and apprehends a criminal in the crowd. He goes on to reduce crime in Detroit dramatically, wrecking public support for the Dreyfus Act. Aware that Clara has begun to ask questions, Sellars orders Norton to keep her away from her husband.
Clara nevertheless manages to confront RoboCop, telling him of their son David’s nightmares. The experience leads Murphy to override his programming and access the previously sealed files on his attempted murder. From them, he learns his son witnessed the explosion and was left traumatized. Murphy pursues Vallon’s gang for revenge. He takes heavy damage from their armor-piercing weapons, but manages to kill the boss and his men. Murphy returns to the station and joins with his old partner, Jack Lewis, to confront the two corrupt cops who betrayed him to Vallon, shooting one and tazing the other. Learning that the Chief of Police was also involved, Murphy moves to arrest her, but is remotely shut down by Mattox.
With the help of Pat Novak, a pro-OmniCorp talk show host, Sellars uses the incident to get the Dreyfus Act repealed. Clara goes to the press and angrily demands to see her husband. Fearful of being exposed, Sellars orders Mattox to destroy RoboCop while he’s being repaired. Norton is able to reach him first and reveals the truth. RoboCop narrowly escapes the building just as it undergoes lockdown.
Murphy returns and storms the building, fighting his way through the ED-209 drones sent to stop him, while Lewis and his fellow police arrive to hold off the rest of OmniCorp’s forces. Mattox subdues Murphy and prepares to finish him off, but is killed by Lewis. Murphy then makes his way to the roof where Sellars is waiting for a helicopter with Clara and David as hostages. Murphy’s programming initially prevents him from arresting Sellars, but he overcomes it long enough to kill Sellars despite being severely wounded.
OmniCorp’s parent company, OCP, shuts down the project. The President vetoes the repeal of the Dreyfus Act based on the testimony of Norton, to Novak’s anger. Murphy’s body is rebuilt in Norton’s laboratory, and he waits for Clara and David, who are coming to visit him.
As a great fan of the original franchise I was genuinely surprised how good this was. The lead was superb and maintained a great emotional presence throughout the film

REVIEW: DOLLMAN

 

CAST

Tim Thomerson (Trancers)
Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen)
Kamala Lopez (Clear and Present Danger)
Humberto Ortiz (Kickboxer 2)
Nicholas Guest (Tangled)
Judd Omen (Dune)
Eugene Robert Glazer (La Femme Nikita)

Image result for dollmanBrick Bardo is a Dirty Harry type cop on the planet Arturos, which is many light years from Earth. One day, a criminal runs into a laundry venue where lots of plump women and their kids happen to be, and he keeps them hostage while police officers are outside the premise. Bardo humorously enters to do his laundry and the crook is rather surprised by this defiant act. After saving the scared hostages by causing the fat women to faint and fall onto the bad guy by threatening to use his gun to blow a hole through them – “the most powerful handgun in the universe” proclaims a young boy – Bardo instead of being hailed a hero, is shouted at by the mayor, who knows of Bardo’s usually violent methods and Bardo was supposed to be suspended.The film then cuts to Bardo in his apartment, where a news broadcast implies that Bardo is being framed for the deaths of the hostages in the laundry mat, as a set up. Just then, a man begins to fire at Bardo and tells him an ‘old friend’ wishes to see him before using some device which puts Bardo to sleep. After Bardo wakes up on a desert plain, Sprug – Bardo’s greatest enemy – says that modern medicine did him wonders, unlike Bardo’s deceased family. Sprug tells Bardo he will shoot all his body parts off, just as Bardo did to Sprug before (Sprug only has his ugly head remaining on a floating jet after all their previous encounters). The two men with Sprug are about to kill Bardo using Bardo’s own custom Groger blaster. But Bardo uses a magnetic field in his hand to retrieve his gun and quickly shoots the two henchmen into bloody chunks. One of them is blasted in half, smokes a cigarette and asks what Bardo wants, but he just says ‘nothing’ in a monotone manner before chasing after Sprug. Despite an advertised warning not to enter an energy band (some mysterious glowing lights in space), both Sprug and Bardo go through one such energy band, eventually reaching Earth where they are shrunken to several inches in height.The movie then shows various crime acts occurring in The Bronx, New York City. It turns out Braxton Red and his gang run things around this part of the city and kill other outside gangsters who find their way into their neighborhood, to ensure control of this urban jungle. Next we are introduced to Debi, a young Hispanic single mother who wants the police to do more to protect her area. When Debi is going home, some goons that know about her meddling capture her and threaten her inside their van. As she fights back and tries to get away, the bad guys grab her and almost kill her using petrol, but Bardo appears and shoots one goon dead and another is blasted in the stomach, mortally wounding him. The injured goon and the third one who wasn’t shot at all run off, leaving Debi to wonder if she’s in shock due to Bardo being so noticeably tiny. Just as she takes Bardo and his ship away, Braxton Red and one of his gangsters spot Sprug and Sprug tells them that he has a powerful bomb they can use in exchange for them helping Sprug to repair his ship.Bardo is taken to Debi’s house where he is introduced to her excited son, Kevin. Back at the hideout, Braxton kills the injured gangster in a fit of rage, after the other gangster explains that it was his idea to burn Debi, since Braxton has feelings for her even though she won’t side with him. The gang member said that they were stopped by a little “Dollman” and Braxton doesn’t believe that a man that small could hurt anybody, but he takes a lot of the gangsters with him and goes round to Debi’s place to demand she tell them where this alleged Dollman is. After they show up to look for the so-called Dollman, Bardo kills all the bewildered gangsters, save for Braxton, who runs away down the stairs, but gets seriously hurt. He makes it back to the hideout bleeding badly and Sprug knows this is Bardo’s handy work. As Braxton is dying, Sprug partially heals his injury after making some demands first, but Braxton recovers and squashes Sprug when he tells Braxton he is his new boss.Although Braxton is still seriously hurt, he wants to kill Dollman more than ever. Bardo overhears some commotion going on outside the apartment the next day when Debi is coming home from work and being harassed, yet again. Bardo leaps out of a window and grabs onto the side of a car as it speeds off. Bardo follows the entire gang and they stop near to where the two spaceships landed, as they await Bardo’s arrival so they can have their revenge. Bardo enters an underground passage in order to surprise the gangsters who have been waiting for Bardo to show up for to rescue Debi. A huge shootout ensues with Bardo killing most of the gangsters by making their vehicles explode. Debi runs off but Braxton follows her, firing his machine gun at her. Feeling disrespected for keeping her alive for years, Braxton is about to shoot Debi after cornering her somewhere, but Bardo distracts him and shoots off one of his arms. Debi doesn’t want Bardo to finish off Braxton even if he is evil and so Bardo agrees not to kill Braxton, just for her. Then Braxton uses the bomb Sprug had to attempt a last resort murder-suicide and Debi and Bardo quickly run for cover. Debi after seeing that Bardo is safe happily smiles and Bardo asks her if size counts, just in time to end his first adventure on Earth.The effects are cheesy and the story is ridiculous but this is an entertaining flick nontheless. The film is filled with some hilarious material. The scene in which Brick jumps through a third floor window and catches onto a moving car below is classic. Needless to say if you go into this film with the right attitude you’ll have a good time. Tim Thomerson should get more and better work.

REVIEW: HUMAN TARGET – SEASON 1 & 2

Image result for human target logo

MAIN CAST

Mark Valley (Zeo Dark Thirty)
Chi McBride (Pushing Daisies)
Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen)
Indira Varma (Game of Thrones)
Janet Montogomery (Black Swan)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Tricia Helfer (Powers)
Donnelly Rhodes (Battlestar Galactica)
Adrian Hough (Underworld: Evolution)
Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon)
Ali Liebert (Legends of Tomorrow)
Courtney Ford (The Big Bang Theory)
Alessandro juliani (Smallville)
David Nykl (Arrow)
Aleks Paunovic (Mortal Kombat: Legacy)
Sean Maher (Firefly)
William Mapother (Powers)
Peter Bryant (Dark Angel)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Two and a Half Men)
Sam Huntington (Superman Returns)
Kristin Lehman (Andromeda)
William B. Davis (The X-Files)
Chris Mulkey (Whiplash)
Dylan Neal (Arrow)
Brandon Jay McLaren (Power Rangers SPD)
Ted Whittall (Beauty and The Beast)
Mitch Pileggi (Stargate: Atlantis)
Leonor Varela (Blade II)
Kim Coates (Silent Hill)
Autumn Reeser (Sully)
Samantha Ferris (Along Came A Spider)
Lennie James (The Walking Dead)
Grace Park (Battlestar Galactica)
Peter Wingfield (Caprica)
Moon Bloodgood (Terminator Salvation)
Kavan Smith (Stargate: Atlantis)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Mackernzie Gray (Man of Steel)
Armand Assante (The Odyssey)
Christina Cole (Hex)
Robert Lawrenson (Underworld: Awakening)
Amy Acker (Angel)
Timothy Omundson (Xena)
Lee Majors (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Tahmoh Penikett (Dollhouse)
M.C. Gainey (Lost)
Cameron Daddo (Andromeda)
Tracie Thoms (Cold Case)
John Michael Higgins (Still Waiting)
David Orth (The Lost World)
Marie Avgeropoulos (The 100)
Tony Hale (Chuck)
Carlo Rota (Stargate Universe)
James Remar (Flashforward)
Nicole Bilderback (Buffy)
Steven Brand (The Scorpion King)

Christopher Chance (Mark Valley, Boston Legal), is a bodyguard for hire. His clients come to him as a last resort because their lives are in serious danger and they have no other alternatives. Chance’s mysterious past is only partially revealed as the season progresses–much of it in the season finale. What is known about him is that he’s probably a genius, he can hold his own in a fight, he’s a super-thief, he’s a crackshot with a gun, and the ladies love him.

In each episode, Chance typically assumes a cover to stay close and protect the client. He uses the client as bait to uncover the killer’s identity. In these episodes, Chance assumes a multitude of identities ranging from a prize fighter to a monk. Beyond Batman-like fighting skills, Chance’s best tools are his intelligence and charismatic personality; he holds his own in a conversation on any topic and masterfully fits in with any group of people. Joining Chance are Winston (Chi McBride, Boston Public, Pushing Daisies), his straight-laced handler, and Guerrero (Jackie Earle Haley, Watchmen), a computer hacker with questionable methods, but indisputable loyalty.Human Target is a throwback to the action series of the 80’s. While an intriguing backstory develops across the entire show, each episode is self-contained and follows a specific case from beginning to end. Viewers can practically jump in on any episode and not miss a beat. This is due in part to the swashbuckling, tongue-in-cheek script that never takes itself too seriously. It is also partly due to the brilliant performances by the main actors, Mark Valley, Chi McBride, and Jackie Earle Haley. The three play off each other extremely well. You can’t help but watch this show with a smile on your face as straight-man and former detective, Winston cringes at yet another action by Christopher Chance or Guerrero that gets the job accomplished, but is probably not entirely legal. Guerrero, especially, has morally ambiguous moments that cause those around him to be hysterically uncomfortable. When he makes his appearance on-screen, you know that hilarity and awesomeness are about to ensue. It’s similar to the height of Kramer’s heyday in Seinfeld where the studio audience would erupt when he appeared and he’d completely steal the scene. Laughs are guaranteed with Guerrero and his antics are accentuated into priceless gems by Winston’s reactions.The over-the-top action in each episode is wonderfully shot and rivals the quality of some Hollywood films. The outlandishness of the action is offset by the fact that the actors revel in the absurdity and take all the events in stride. No matter how desperate the situation, Christopher Chance always flashes a wry grin. His antics and expressions are reminiscent of Harrison Ford’s performances as Han Solo or Indiana Jones. The action is intense, but Christopher Chance can handle it and make you laugh while he does.Another testament to the excellent writing is that not a single episode is wasted. Obviously, some episodes are better than others, but all are highly watchable and re-watchable, action-packed, mysteries. Even the product placements are great and fit in with the spirit of the show. In the Tanarak episode, one of the most blatant product placements of all time occurs with a Camaro. It’s done with such blithe satire, instead of feeling the need to bathe after watching more advertisers nauseatingly snake their way into television, you just laugh at the silliness.In every episode, without requiring any background information, you are brought into the characters’ circle and get an immediate feel for their relationships. However, more information could have been provided earlier about Christopher Chance and his cohorts’ origins. Some of the information that was dumped in the final episode of this set could have been dispersed throughout the previous episodes. Instead you are left to fill in massive blanks with assumptions about the characters’ pasts. This is not a huge misstep by the writers because the characters’ mysterious origins are a large part of what makes the show so accessible.  This show is just pure fun to watch unfold and will appeal to practically anyone. Pop a bag of microwave popcorn, kick back, relax, and enjoy the ride.In season 2, with Matt Miller (Chuck) taking on executive producer-writer-show runner duties, he promised to flesh things out a bit without changing much of the original allure, which was good news. Mostly, he brought in Indira Varma  (Luther, Rome) as Ilsa Pucci, a widowed billionaire who takes a liking to the boys. And Janet Montgomery (Entourage) as a thief who also gets reluctantly entangled with the trio. So you can see the note Fox put on the show: Let’s leaven the testosterone a bit.And yet, nothing’s really changed. The escapism is sky high. Valley remains as charismatic as ever, with McBride’s disdainful asides and Haley’s chilly creepiness intact. It would be unfortunate if Human Target somehow got soapy or dumber, because good popcorn is rare.