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"The Magician" Man on Fire (1973)

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Bad magic, bad writing, and bad direction make this one bad show! (and I don't mean good).

1/10
Author: LarryBrownHouston from Houston
4 February 2008

Larry-view: This is the weakest episode yet, watching them in order. The title "Man on Fire," seems to have nothing to do with the plot as there is no fire. Underutilization of the series' gimmicks reduces the flash factor: zero footage of the plane, zero of the car phone, and very little magic. Worse, most of the magic in this episode is performed by a nerd trainee of Tony's who even Tony admits has no talent. Worst of all? Mark Wilson and the writer murder Wilson's signature trick, the tried and true silk to egg. In the normal presentation of this trick the audience is supposedly shown how it is done and are then shocked to find they have been duped. However in this case Wilson doesn't bother to explain to the audience that it's done with a fake egg, so they have no reason to believe otherwise. Then there is no shock value when the egg is revealed to be real, because they assumed it was real all along. The presentation here only works if you have seen this trick before and know the egg is not real, but if you know that, then you already know the whole trick so the entire thing is pointless. On top of all that, the writer further murders it by making it seem as though the trick was bungled when the egg is broken, even though that is the climax of the trick and the nerd magician obviously intended to break the egg and show the audience it was real. This portion of the episode was badly mangled and must have been the product of a dysfunctional team with the writer fighting Wilson, or Wilson not there, or the writer's union refusing to allow Wilson to work with the writer.

So far none of the episodes have had much humor, but the little bit featured in previous episodes really helped spice up the show. This one has none. Similar to previous episodes, however, is the convoluted plot that is implausible and poorly motivated and explained.

Finally at the climax we get a self-indulgent director who is trying to double dip his time by filming an architectural documentary of the admittedly fabulous mission. We get endless long shots of every level from a variety of interesting angles. That's fine, but only draws more attention to the lack of dramatic content provided by the anemic story. To draw the camera through the levels, the girl plays hide-and-seek with Tony for no discernible reason.

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