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The most ridiculous JAG script ever
I can honestly say that Jack Orman (who has gone on to be Executive Producer of ill-fated PAN-AM series) produced the most laughably stupid script for a TV show I've ever seen. I would guarantee he had never been to Northern Ireland (let alone Ireland) in his life before writing "Trinity", he just hadn't got a clue.
As the other reviewer said above, it was the stupid details like thinking the RUC/PSNI Inspectors all drove around in black 1960s Jaguars, let alone the Routemaster Bus gaff, plus basically the entire art direction (obviously shot in L.A. / stock footage) and what Jack "thought" Northern Ireland was like at the time made the show jump the shark for me and made me think how completely far-fetched the entire premise of the show, let alone subject integrity for other scripts would have been if this was the poor standard that Belisarius were knocking out by that stage.
A complete stinker!
The trailer was an excellent teaser, but oh dear the actual film was a 2-dimensional stinker, I can't remember a film in recent years that disappointed me so much despite me wanting it to be winner.
For the amount of top acting talent on show here: McGregor, Coltrane, Serkis, Rourke, Nighy, Fry etc., their input was completely wasted on this SpyKids/AgentCody-wannabe clichéd film.
Shot on the Isle of Man (for you Yanks, that's a little island between Northern Ireland and the English mainland where the TT motorbike Road Races take place) and in London, it was trying so hard to be at the level of James Bond or even a Harry Potter epic, but after the first ten minutes I just kept thinking, "when is this going to start"? I've never seen such cartoonish, two-dimensional characterisation as in this film.
Damien Lewis, with what little he had to do was the only actor with any screen presence whatsoever, playing a Russian agent.
When Mickey Rourke was on screen all I could think of was how bad his plastic surgery was.
Missi Pyle's role as Moose & Squirrel's "Nastasha" rip-off, Agent Vole was just plain ridiculous although teenage boys will no doubt have her in fantasy heaven being their equivalent of the Matrix' Trinity to the Goths, as far as black & tight leather trousers goes.
Can't really say much about Pettyfer in the lead role as he no doubt had a blast making this film and it wasn't bad for a first effort, but I left the cinema thinking that was £25million and 90 minutes wasted, when one episode of a TV show like Stargate: Atlantis (as an example... I'm not a Stargate geek just so you know) could absolute smoke a feature like this on 1/25th of the budget, and in telling a compelling story in half the time with just one episode.
Feature producers take note... look at what your peers are doing on television with a fraction of your budget and resources. Even the BBC's new Doctor Who series is more compelling and that's saying something.
The Adventures of Champion (1955)
Childhood's innocent memories
A big hit with kids in the UK during its re-run in the 1970s. Always played at the end of the childrens slot around 5.30pm on weeknights, before the boring grownups shows came on... like the Six O'Clock News.
Sat glued week after week. Never mind that it's black & white, never mind that it's good ole' cowboy action, with the hook of a "trick" horse, it was wholesome, brilliant entertainment for young minds. 'Gentle Ben' and 'Flipper' never came close with the formula.
Long overdue a DVD release, so we can show OUR kids what it was like!
Fire Birds (1990)
For superb helicopter action - watch 1st Season AIRWOLF!
I must say I was disappointed in this film (renamed 'Wings of the
Apache' in the UK for whatever reason). Being a huge fan of the
original AIRWOLF TV series, I'd heard about this film while it was
in production, especially since all the aerial production crew from
Airwolf were involved.
What little aerial photography there was is stunning and a credit to
the late David Jones, Stan McClain and Peter McKernan, but the
script itself is amateur-hour.
If you want to see a GREAT script, top-class acting, feature-quality
aerial action, brilliant score and A1 production values, watch either
the full-length 'Pilot' or any of the 1st Season (1984) episodes of
the AIRWOLF TV series instead.
Another superb Belisarius Production
I've always been a huge fan of Don Bellisario's creations, starting with 'Airwolf' (still my all-time favourite), and then 'Quantum Leap', but J.A.G. is really Don's excuse to get back to what he does best... military-based drama series (preferably with some big aerial toys to play with).
I loved the 1st Season of J.A.G. especially... the scripts and cast were at their best (with Andrea Parker - who later moved on to one of the main roles in 'The Prefender'), Tracey Needham and Andrea Thompson, but a network & cast change at the start of the 2nd Season brought about a slight watering down of the show [the same happened after the superb 1st Season of 'Airwolf'] increased the ratings - so much so, that by its current 1999-2000 5th Season, it is now a Top 20 Nielsen show.
The show has returned more to its action roots with the 4th and 5th Seasons, so I'm happy again.
Some of the 2nd & 3rd Season episodes are terrible though - including the one based in Northern Ireland, which was completely unrealistic. Like the Russian post above this one, the producers/writers of the show should visit other countries first before using every foreign stereotype they can come up with.
But, in the end, I still wouldn't miss this show (the only one I currently even make time to watch regularly) as it is, after all, a Belisarius Production!
Street Hawk (1985)
Under-rated super vehicle with superb soundtrack
Back in the "super vehicle boom" with Airwolf, Knight Rider, The Highwayman and this show, teenagers everywhere watched week after week with anticipation for the next episode.
While Airwolf was the only adult show of the whole lot (and my personal all-time favourite series), Knight Rider the most family orientated, Street Hawk was aimed at a teenage demographic. Why it failed is anybody's guess (probably time-slot or competition on the other channels at the time), but while Airwolf and Knight Rider both made 4 successful seasons each (and now run in syndication today), Street Hawk was cancelled after a half season of 13 episodes - which was a real shame.
The action, the bike, the music... especially the music by Tangerine Dream (they actually did 3.5 hours of a musical suite for the show which was then split up for each individual episode - a well overdue soundtrack release would be appreciated!) added to the high-tech production values of this comic-book type show. It never got a chance.
The Wraith (1986)
Great action, good characterisation, superb soundtrack
One of my all-time favourites. A nice idea in the spirit of "The Car" or "Christine" with great action (mostly of well-show car chases in Tucson, Arizona). The characters were well constructed and (on the whole) well implemented by the actors, with Nick Cassavetes stealing the show as nutter, Packard Walsh.
It also launched the careers of Charlie Sheen and Sherilyn Fenn (Fenn's fans will be happy to see "more" of her in this one).
The rock soundtrack is superb and a real collectors' item nowadays.
The original video cover was nice in that it was a holographic cover. Subsequent sell-thrus resorted to a standard litho-printed cover.
For a night in with a pizza and a few mates round, this is a great film.
High-flying aerial action with movie-quality production values
Hollywood enjoyed a period of unprecedented interest in technology during the mid-1980s with super vehicle shows such as AIRWOLF, BLUE THUNDER, THE HIGHWAYMAN, KNIGHT RIDER and the underated STREET HAWK.
Borne from the mind of one of US Television's most creative writers of quality entertainment - Donald P. Bellisario who brought us TALES OF THE GOLDEN MONKEY, MAGNUM P.I., QUANTUM LEAP and currently with the military drama series, J.A.G., it had everything with action, adventure, espionage, adult scripts, international intrigue, coupled with real-world politics (which is rare in Hollywood) even pushing some right-wing, hawkish politics into the middle of the action.
With grim-as-granite Jan-Michael Vincent in the main role as loner pilot, Stringfellow Hawke, aided by Oscar-winning movie veteran, Ernest Borgnine and a support cast including movie actor, Alex Cord (and C.I.A. Deputy Director - Michael Archangel) and TV regular Jean Bruce Scott, it was a show on the edge, that, with the exciting aerial climax at the end of most episodes pushed the boundaries of television with its movie quality action sequences, technology and locations (including the beautiful Monument Valley in Utah).
It now has a sizeable following of loyal fans worldwide (the Wolf Pack), including many people who became pilots (military and commercial) through their love of the show - many fans of which have been following the commercially successful shows of Donald Bellisario (Belisarius Productions) from its humble beginnings in the early 1980s, including the current success of J.A.G. on CBS.
A show which deserved a bigger following at the time, it's a rare gem of television history.