January 23, 2010

new show review: human target

FOX aired the pilot of new action drama Human Target a few times this week as well as the second episode on Tuesday. The show will find a home on Tuesdays at 9:00 from now on.

This isn't really my kind of show - based on a DC Comics graphic novel and comic book series - but I'm giving it a look because I like Chi McBride (Pushing Daisies, Boston Legal). He plays Winston, partner to main man Christoper Chance played by Mark Valley. Valley seems to be the leading man who can never hold onto his own show - you'll recognize him from soaps, Boston Legal, and a brief stint on Fringe.

The two work as team - Chance is a private security contractor/body guard, and Winston is his business partner. Basically, Vance integrates himself into his clients' lives in order to protect them from a threat. His past is a mystery, which we expect will be revealed over time.

We meet them when they're hired to protect a woman who's in charge of a major public transportation project in California (fancy fast train). Someone tried to blow up her car. The train's maiden voyage is tomorrow, and Vance will need to tag along with her, posing as her interpreter in order to get the guy to reveal himself. Meanwhile, Winston helps gather and transmit info to Vance from the office.

In comes additional team member, hired gun Guerrero. He's played by Jackie Earle Haley (Rorschach from Watchmen). Vance wants to bring him into the job because of his coercive investigation expertise, but Winston has strong reservations. But he steps in to help in his own quirky, creepy way. He's interesting to watch on screen, but goodness is he funny looking.

During the process, Chance acts like some combination of Dr. House and Jack Bauer. He identifies a poisoned drink by the cubed rather than crushed ice cubes.

Vance's clever observations makes the killer think he's been caught. So, he pulls a bunch of emergency breaks, which, mixed with the speed of the train, will cause the who thing to explode. Naturally.

The fun begins when the killer tracks them down and chases Chance and his charge all the way down the train - Chance getting shot in the bullet proof vest a few times along the way. This also involves a pretty cool fist fight in an air shaft - must have been really cool/impossible to shoot.

In the end, Chance does his part to protect train lady from the assassin (really tough fight - effects are pretty cool), then comes back to warn everyone of the impending train explosion. Train lady saves the day with her knowledge of the train. She loads everyone into last car, which has backup breaks. In an unfortunate twist, train lady's husband tries to trap her and Chance out of the breaking car. The coolest part comes when Chance rigs a harness system and uses the wind force to para(shoot) them straight out of the train.

Guerrero does his part to solve the underlying mystery behind train lady's death threats. Turns out, she had an affair and the husband wanted her dead for the train building bonus money. There you go kids, cheaters never win. In a bizarre sentimental moment between Chance and train lady - complete with Casablanca-style music - he takes her wedding rings as payment. I didn't understand it.

During the last scenes, Chance flashes back (or forward?) to guarding Danny Glover and blowing up a car. This is either a mystery that will unfold or a preview of next week's episode.

As a leading action man, Valley is good but not great. Not yet anyway. He definitely has potential, but is coming across a little too stiff. He will need to show a more humanism for viewers to get attached and root for him. Winston and Guerrero are fun to watch, but it's still not clear what Winston actually does.

With all the returning and new television on this spring - not to mention the Olympics - I think I will skip this one. But if anyone has a strong argument for keeping it on the DVR, post in the comments!


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