REVIEW: HUMAN TARGET – SEASON 1

Starring

Mark Valley (Zero Dark Thirty)
Chi McBride (Hawaii Five-O)
Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen)

Jackie Earle Haley, Chi McBride, and Mark Valley in Human Target (2010)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica)
Donnelly Rhodes (Tron: Legacy)
Adrian Hough (The Fog)
Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon)
Adrian Holmes (smallville)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heores reborn)
Peter Kent (Total Recall)
Alvin Sanders (Riverdale)
Courtney Ford (Legends of Tomorrow)
Ali Liebert (Wonder)
Alessandro Juliani (Man of Steel)
David Nykl (Arrow)
Sean Maher (Firefly)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Two and a Half Men)
Aleks Paunovic (Van Helsing)
Alex Fernandez (Devious Maids)
Christie Laing (Izombie)
Sam Huntington (Superman Returns)
William Mapother (Lost)
Peter Bryant (Legends of Tomorrow)
Sarah Smyth (Supergirl)
Kristin Lehman (The Loft)
William B. Davis (The X-Files)
Chris Mulkey (Cloverfield)
Dylan Neal (Arrow)
Brandon Jay McLaren (Power Rangers SPD)
Ted Whittall (Suicide Squad)
Kevin Weisman (Runaways)
Autumn Reeser (Sully)
Zak Santiago (Caprica)
Mitch Pileggi (Stargate: Atlantis)
Leonor Varela (Blade II)
Kris Marshall (Love Actually)
Kim Coates (Goon)
Samantha Ferris (The Tall Man)
Lennie James (The Walking Dead)
Eric Breker (X-Men Origins)
Dash Mihok (Gotham)
Kenneth Welsh (Miracle)
Grace Park (Hawaii Five-0)
Peter Wingfield (Highlander: The Series)
Ken Kirzinger (Freddy vs Jason)
Moon Bloodgood (Termiantor: Salvation)
Ty Olsson (Battlestar Galactica)
Vincent Gale (Bates Motel)
Daniel Bacon (Stargate SG.1)
Steve Makaj (Arrow)
Craig Veroni (Dark Angel)
Christina Cole (JHex)
Erick Avari (Stargate)
Kavan Smith (When Calls The HEart)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Mackenzie Gray (man of Steel)
Lee Majors (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Amy Acker (The Gifted)
Timothy Omundson (Xena)
Armand Assante (Judge Dredd)
Fiona Vroom (Power Rangers)

Mark Valley and Emmanuelle Vaugier in Human Target (2010)Human Target was definitely one of the most surprising new series this season. Comic book stories don’t often translate well to the small screen, but this one bucked all the trends and exceeded expectations by consistently producing hot action, fascinating characters, and a good number of laughs too.Mark Valley in Human Target (2010)It started out with a pilot episode that wasted no time getting into the action. Fast paced events on a runaway train got things started with a bang. Right away, the series showed the kind of amazing action scenes that would make it an exciting watch every week. The second episode, “Rewind”, kept the pedal to the metal in an episode that had high-flying action on a plane, although things did get a little ridiculous with the plane flying upside down for an extended time.Peter Bryant and Mark Valley in Human Target (2010)The main characters quickly became fan favorites, thanks to witty dialogue and excellent acting work by the great trio of Mark Valley, Chi McBride, and Jackie Earle Haley. While Chance takes the lead in these episodes, his buddies (with shady pasts of their own) do a lot in their supportive roles. Winston and Guerrero have unique skills that are always employed in clever ways in the series, and they have a special kind of friendly-yet-combative relationship that provided most of the comedy relief in the show. The series also featured a number of intriguing guest stars, including many familiar faces from the sci-fi world. We saw Battlestar Galactica stars Tricia Helfer, Alessandro Juliani, Grace Park, and Donnelly Rhodes, along with two stars from The X-Files – Mitch Pillegi and a surprising appearance from William B. Davis (the infamous Cigarette Smoking Man).Mark Valley in Human Target (2010)At first, Human Target focused on a string of unrelated stories that followed the same effective formula—show the client, show the bad guys, have Chance and his pals save the day. But, although the standalone stories were entertaining, the “rescue of the week” routine quickly started to get tired, and the show often made heavy use of TV tropes and cliches (hot babes of the week, one dimensional antagonists, and slow motion explosions just to name a few). Fortunately, the show’s producers were aware of the limits of their plot devices and developed an overarching mythology that started to be revealed a few episodes into the season.Mark Valley in Human Target (2010)The story slowly started to turn into a tale of redemption, friendship, and life choices as the show gradually revealed bits and pieces of the backgrounds of the characters. In the beginning, there were just casual mentions of what the cast of main characters used to do. Then, in “Sanctuary”, the series mythology kicked into full gear with a side-story featuring Guerrero spying around in Chance and Winston’s files for a mysterious employer. This plot accomplished two things: it revealed a serious threat to Chance, and displayed Guerrero as ruthless when it comes to his job and his friends. Guerrero in general is a very different take on the “geeky computer spy” role, and his moment in the spotlight at the end of that episode really helped define the character. It’s a standout role that Jackie Earle Haley nailed every time.Further character development came in the form of a “bromance” between Winston and Chance that was detailed in “Corner Man”, and a personal vendetta with a former friend, coworker, and assassin named Baptiste that gave us our deepest look yet into what personally drives Chance.All of this buildup led us perfectly into the season finale, which exposed the history of the Christopher Chance name, and revealed all the players behind Chance’s past work and his change of heart. This was a well-crafted story that ended with a great cliffhanger. It’s a great setup for a second season, and let there be no doubt that this series does indeed deserve to be renewed. It’s interesting, exciting, and if it continues to improve, it could become a prime candidate to replace 24 as Fox’s top action show.

REVIEW: GONE IN 60 SECONDS

CAST

Nicolas Cage (Ghost Rider)
Angelina Jolie (Tomb Raider)
Giovanni Ribisi (Ted)
William Lee Scott (The Butterfly Effect)
Scott Caan (Ocean’s Eleven)
Delroy Lindo (The Core)
Timothy Olyphant (Hitman)
Chi MCBride (Human Target)
Robert Duvall (The 6th Day)
Christopher Eccleston (Thor 2)
Vinnie Jones (The Cape)
Michael Pena (American Hustle)
Grace Zabriskie (Armageddon)
Kevin Weisman (Alias)
Carmen Argenziano (Stargate SG.1)
Brad William Henke (Lost)

Kip Raines (Giovanni Ribisi), an aspiring car thief from Long Beach, is cruising with Mirror Man (T.J Cros) and Toby (William Lee Scott), looking for a Porsche 911 Carrera to steal. After arriving at the showroom, Kip uses a brick to break in, and Mirror follows. Mirror reads the VIN and Kip gets the keys, and smashes out of the showroom with the Porsche. After stealing it, they provoke another man in a Honda Civic to race them, but Kip attracts the attention of the police. They arrive at the local garage with more stolen cars, where Atley (Will Patton), Tumbler (Scott Caan) and Freb (James Duval). However, they are forced to flee when the police arrive, and the cars are seized by Det. Castleback (Delroy Lindo) and Det. Drycoff (Timothy Olyphant):

The next day, Atley arrives at a gas station outside of town to speak to Randall “Memphis” Raines (Nicolas Cage), a retired professional car thief, who left town after serving 6 years in jail. Atley explains that Kip was stealing cars for Raymond Calitri (Christopher Eccleston), a British gangster called “The Carpenter” (due to him creating wooden chairs and coffins), and when the cars were seized, Kip was abducted. Atley admits that he gave the job to Kip, since he works for Calitri. After some convincing, Memphis agrees to go with him, and they return to Long Beach and head to a junkyard owned by Calitri, where he meets with Calitri, who offers him the same job. Memphis refuses and offers a $10,000 bail for the troubles. Calitri refuses, but takes him to Kip, who has been strapped to a steering wheel of a car that is about to be crushed. After Memphis tries to save him, Calitri holds him at gunpoint, and Memphis is forced to accept the job. He goes home with Kip, who is not convincingly happy to see Memphis, and explains he doesn’t need to worry about it, but Memphis isn’t convinced.

Memphis visits Otto Halliwell (Robert Duvall), a former chop shop owner and his mentor, who now runs a restoration garage and is retired from carjacking business. After reconciling, Otto informs him that he knows about Kip, and Memphis convinces him to help. Memphis also visits his mother to inform her that he is in town and tells her about Kip, and she gives him his blessing to do whatever it takes. However, as he leaves, he is cornered by Drycoff and Castlebeck, who informs him that he is watching him and will arrest him for only one minor infraction. Memphis goes back to Otto and they try to assemble a gang to steal the cars, but he only finds two people willing to join: Donny Astricky (Chi McBride) and Sphinx (Vinnie Jones). He tries to convince Sway, his former love interest, to join him, but she refuses, having gone straight after the carjacking phase.

Memphis, Otto, Kip and Sphinx devise the plan after being given the list of 50 cars they need to steal, and just then, Kip arrives with Mirror, Toby, Tumbler and Freb, wanting to join in. Otto and Donny are against it, but Memphis decides to accept them. Toby, a computer genius, hacks into the DMV database to find several cars on the list, while Donny manages to find the rest through insurance houses. Memphis decides to pull the job in one night to avoid police heat, and Sway changes her mind and joins the team. Memphis and Kip leave the garage and head back home, but they are ambushed by Johnny B. (Master P.), Memphis’s rival, who wants him dead since he is after the job himself. However, they manage to hide in a cafe where the police is placed, and Kip sneaks out and ties Johnny B’s car to a truck, and Johnny B’s car is pulled and smashed, and the cops surround him and his gang. Kip and Memphis escape.After scouting the cars, Memphis is worried about the new Mercedes cars, which are impossible to steal, but Tumbler informs him that he will provide them with the laser-cut transponder keys to get the cars. Castlebeck arrives in the garage with Drycoff, and while nothing can prove the possible car heist, Castlebeck finds the frequency numbers for police dispatches and realizes they are going in tonight. Memphis and the crew prepare themselves for the heist and start, first cleaning up a garage to steal several Ferrari cars, and then splitting up into pairs: Memphis and Sway, Kip and Tumbler, Donny and Freb, and Sphinx and Mirror. Also, Memphis and Sway reconcile their long-lost relationship while stealing a Lamborghini Diablo.

While the gang successfully steals many cars from the list, Memphis notices Castlebeck in a van next to a Mercedes, and calls the group back into the garage. After confronting Tumbler, he reveals that he got the keys after bribing a Mercedes shop employee, and realizes that Castlebeck blackmailed him into cooperation. Toby informs the group that they have the keys of the Mercedes cars from the last heist, but Donny notes that they are on the police impound. Memphis agrees to steal them, but they are forced to wait for it and steal another cars after Otto’s dog accidentally eats the keys. Toby and Freb walk the dog around until he defecates the keys out, and the group manages to steal the Mercedes cars from the impound while Mirror distracts the parking manager.

Castlebeck, defeated, returns to the police station with Drycoff, and is informed that they found shards of glass from a UV light bulb in the garage where they seized the carsfrom the original heist. He and Drycoff return to the garage, where they discover the list of cars under invisible ink. Castlebeck finds a 1967 Ford Shelby GT500, dubbed “Eleanor”, and theorizes this is the last car he will steal, due to him being “afraid” of it (since he never managed to successfully steal one). Meanwhile, Toby sneaked in for a ride with Kip and Tumbler to steal a car against their objections. They manage to steal the SUV from the house, but one of the occupants notices them and they are forced to flee. The police set up a roadblock and open fire on them, injuring Toby. They return to the garage, and Atley and Kip drive Toby to a private doctor, where Atley reveals to Kip that Memphis left the city because their mother told him to go to save Kip from the life of carjacking. Meanwhile, Memphis arrives at the location of Eleanor to steal it, but just then, Castlebeck and Drycoff arrive.MV5BMTc4MzIwNTM0Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwOTAzNzc4._V1_A massive car chase ensues all over Long Beach, with Castlebeck’s attempts to apprehend Memphis at all times, but Memphis manages to escape after using a ramp to jump over a traffic jam on the Vincent Thomas Bridge. After escaping, Memphis arrives at the junkyard to deliver the last car to Calitri, but he assaults him and prepares to kill him, since he arrived after the deadline and the car is damaged (thus Calitri noting that he said to deliver 50 cars, not 49 and a half), but Kip arrives and subdues Calitri’s men. He corners Calitri in his office and assaults him, but Calitri escapes. Castlebeck and Drycoff arrive, being here to arrest Memphis, but Calitri notices Castlebeck and holds him at gunpoint. He prepares to kill him, but Memphis knocks him off the ledge, sending Calitri down below, where Calitri lands in his own coffin, killing him. Castlebeck thanks him for saving his life, and lets him go due to stealing cars to save Kip’s life. Afterwards, all of them are having a barbecue at Otto’s garage. Kip arrives and gives a pair of keys to Memphis, and Otto invites him in, and he and Kip reveal a rusty old Eleanor that Kip acquired. Memphis thinks that Kip stole him, but Kip informs him that he traded his chopper for the car as a token of appreciation, and the brothers embrace. Memphis and Sway go for a ride, while the rest of them escort them out. However, the engine fails as they leave, and Memphis fails to start it.Gone In 60 Seconds is a great action flick and still holds up today.