Reviews written by registered user
Jon-nel

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12 reviews in total 
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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
How to steal $170 million ***SPOILERS***, 5 January 2014
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This episode is a nod to romantic capers of the Sixties like How To Steal A Million, To Catch A Thief, and The Thomas Crown Affair. Beautiful British actress Jenny Agutter plays Krista Villaroch, a security expert hired by the insurance company in preparation for a $170-million jewelry competition hosted by Robin Masters.

While playing "Dungeon Master" on Robin's $100,000 Dracos III security computer, Magnum causes the system to crash. Coincidentally this allows Krista Villaroch to breach security and declare the estate an unacceptable location. To make amends, Magnum challenges Krista to test the system again, this time after fixes by Mac.

The circa-1985 computer graphics are time capsule material. It's an interesting time period in that home computer systems were not yet common except in the most tech-savvy households. The shape of things to come.

Meanwhile Magnum pursues Krista in their own cat-and-mouse game, and discovers her dark secret: her father was a master jewel thief and he taught her everything. In my book they could not have cast a better actress than Jenny Agutter for this role. She is beautiful, intelligent, sophisticated. There is a great scene at a party involving her, a glass of champagne, and a rude woman. Magnum and Krista ride horseback on the beach together and eventually they kiss.

Krista of course has her own game to play. Enter Doc Villeroch, her father, the master jewel thief, played by the great Cesar Romero. Like father, like daughter. The jewelry design competition may be too tempting a target, and Magnum seems to know this.

I especially liked the final scene... "I'll have an 18-ounce New York, charred rare, with baked potato skins and some extra parsley. And I think I'll have a scotch this time."

I really enjoyed this rom-com caper featuring Jenny Agutter. It is one of my favorites of the series. 9/10.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Better than you might expect, 5 January 2014
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is the first Christmas-themed episode of the series, involving a Gauguin painting and a precocious group of Vermont schoolgirls who hire Magnum to find their missing teacher. I was afraid this might be too cutesy and tedious an episode, but no worries. These young actresses were up to the task and surprisingly good.

Higgins has tightened security at the Masters estate since the arrival of a Gauguin painting worth $2 million. Of course Magnum breaches security almost immediately by taking in five stranded schoolgirls. Even Higgins finally relents and lets the girls stay over night, in the spirit of Christmas. Of course these girls are more clever than they let on.

The girls send Magnum chasing after a red herring with a story of how their teacher had hooked up with a Hawaiian guy in a dive bar the night before. Magnum and T.C. visit the infamously sketchy Hotel Street in downtown Honolulu and naturally get into a tussle. Their inquiries set off a series of coincidences that lead to future misunderstandings.

Magnum eventually rejoins the teacher with the girls and their complicated plot to swap a forgery for the real Gauguin unravels. But Higgins once again is feeling generous and lets the teacher off: no harm, no foul.

Then the girls are kidnapped by real art thieves. Higgins generosity is once again tested when he must decide whether the lives of the girls are worth trading for the real Gauguin.

There are some notable location shots throughout this episode: the statue of Father Damien in front of the State Capitol building, where Magnum first meets the girls; Diamond Head; the War Memorial natatorium at Waikiki.

There is no body count and no love interest between Magnum and Miss Booten. I only mention this because I thought the title implied romance of some sort. The title comes from the movie "Gigi," which is French. Gauguin was also French. Gauguin did his best work on islands. Magnum lives on an island. So it all fits. I found this episode to be cute without being too cute, funny, and definitely worth seeing. 6.5/10.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A harrowing sea tale, 4 January 2014
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This episode is unique for taking place mostly on the open ocean, where Magnum is stranded on the 4th of July after being knocked from his surfski by a "turkey" driving a powerboat. From here it becomes a simple tale of survival, with Magnum treading water for hours and tapping into memory and psyche in order to keep from drowning.

Glimpses of Magnum's backstory are revealed through flashbacks to childhood scenes with his father and mother. We are also shown flashbacks of the fateful relationship with his late wife.

Magnum battles against the elements and fatigue, and then of course a shark shows up. Judging by the size of the fin, this shark was easily twice the "8 feet" length estimated by Magnum. The special effects here bordered on comical: a rigid gray fin dragged into impossibly tight circles around a floating Magnum. Magnum is unarmed and completely helpless against the shark, and at this point can only utter prayers to his father for divine intervention. It is quite a powerful scene. The helplessness of his situation is palpable as the camera zooms out, revealing the vastness of the ocean around him.

But Rick is cruising around in the Kamehameha II not far away and he, T.C. and Higgins all somehow sense something is amiss and converge upon Magnum just in the nick of time.

This is an atypical but especially moving episode in the Magnum P.I. series and I highly recommend it. 8.5/10.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Christmas Eve on Frenchman's Island, 4 January 2014
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a Christmas-themed episode distinctive for being set mostly on a deserted island, where the guys are stranded after TC experiences mechanical problems. This sets up a deserted island survival story involving TM, TC, Rick and Higgins.

Frenchman's Island is used for Naval target practice, and, unbeknownst to the guys, a sadistic Navy Captain plans to shell the island on Christmas Eve. Frenchman's Island is a fictitious island based on the actual island of Kahoolawe, which was historically used for Naval target practice but is now protected.

The guys make the best of the situation and reflect deep thoughts about Christmas while sitting around the campfire, just as the first rounds start to fall. Miraculously, the chopper starts up and they zoom off into the silent night.

A simple, linear storyline with no real mystery or body count, it is a welcome change of pace for fans of the series and a decent holiday story. 8/10.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Hawaiian curses and greedy landowners ***SPOILERS****, 4 January 2014
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The King Kamehameha Club is the private beach club managed by Rick, of which Magnum is a member and Higgins its director by proxy. A kahuna, a Hawaiian priest, places a curse on Rick and the club. Shortly thereafter a man dies while racing Magnum during a club-sponsored event.

There is a scene where Magnum and TC enter a sugarcane field during a harvest, when large sections of cane fields are set on fire. It is a very cool scene, especially if you haven't seen something like it before.

There are peripheral characters whose importance to the story are not clear til later. One is a casual friend of Magnum's who swims at the club, a humble Hawaiian named Charlie. Another is a pushy, sensationalist TV reporter named Christine. Third is Sidney Dolinger, the principal landowner of the King Kamehameha Club, who wants the land to stay in "the hands of all the people." As much as a private club can benefit "all the people," I suppose. Insert smirk.

Aggressive reporter Christine seems so determined to embarrass the club and bring it down. Her character was so over-the-top annoying, I found myself hoping she was guilty of something. The only thing left was for Magnum to actually connect her to the King Kamehameha Club, which he finally does. It wasn't clear to me how she convinced the kahuna to place a curse on the club. I wouldn't expect he could do it for money.

The only character left to explain is sage-like Charlie, who turns out to be the "magical Hawaiian" he seemed from the outset. The final scene is a nod to Hawaiian superstitions, as well as Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page.

An above average offering from this series. 8/10.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
the blinking assassin... an iconic scene, 4 January 2014
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This episode is a mixed bag of the interesting and the cheesy. The interesting parts are the priceless "Soul of Song" vase, the Tong assassin tracking it, and Mai Ling, a love interest of Magnum.

Some of the cheesy included the loud argument between Magnum and T.C. at the beginning of the episode in front of paying clients. It was meant to characterize their friendship, loud and boisterous, I get it, but experienced military men would not be discussing personal business so loudly and obliviously in front of strangers. It was over the top. Also, some of the acting was wooden, but they usually made the best of it. For example the stoic Cousin Ho: "Hi Ho" "Bye Ho."

The deadly Tong assassin with the Red Dragon tattoo on his hand and lightening-quick reflexes had a tell... he blinked just before he struck. He kidnaps Mai Ling and holds her hostage for the vase. Magnum remembers where Mai Ling had come from just before they met and the chase for the real vase leads back to a Chinese cemetery on Kauai.

The "tell" of the blinking Tong assassin works to great effect in what I consider to be an iconic scene of this series: when Magnum holds a .45 to the Tong assassin's head as he is about to strike and tells him "no one is that quick." We see the Tong blink; simultaneously a shot is fired and the scene fades to black.

This episode is worth watching for that scene alone as well as some funny moments like Rick undercover as a lazy pedicab driver. 7.5/10.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Introducing the lovely J. "Digger" Doyle..., 4 January 2014
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The beautiful, Honolulu-born Erin Gray plays security expert J. Digger Doyle, who is hired to test the security of the Masters estate after Robin receives a death threat. Once again Magnum allows the security of Robin's Nest to be breached by a manipulating woman. Digger takes her job very seriously, even at the expense of poor Higgins.

This episode was at one time considered as a possible pilot for Erin Gray into her own spin off series; however it never materialized. Early scenes have her running on the beach and in various swimsuits, showing that she is indeed in fine physical form. She is as lovely to look at here as ever and the Hawaii setting allowed her to shine.

Throughout we are afforded very brief glimpses of Robin from aside or afar, accompanied by the deep baritones of Orson Welles, as he dictates his latest novel from Rolls Royce or Learjet.

At one point Magnum and Digger don tiger-camouflage jungle fatigues and climb the breathtaking "Stairway to Heaven," the Haiku Ladder hike in windward Oahu, in order to retrieve a kidnapped Higgins.

There is a shootout with some determined security experts for Laseronics, who want to stop Robin from publishing his latest novel. Rick is ready with his MAC-10 a-blazing, automatic gunfire is exchanged, TC's chopper is once again hit, and law enforcement in the state of Hawaii ceases to exist momentarily. It's not clear if anyone was hit but somehow everything is resolved because we find Magnum and Digger together horizontal on the living room couch. So all's well that ends well.

As the series goes I found this to be a well-paced, enjoyable, above-average episode featuring Erin Gray, who is very easy on the eyes. 8/10.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Slow to develop but worth seeing for the underwater footage, 4 January 2014
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A grad student hires Magnum to find out what happened to her father, Captain Hammond, an archaeologist who vanished while diving at a site in the sacred Nehoa Channel.

Several times Magnum is warned by a Hawaiian priestess against venturing into the channel. According to legend, the waters of the channel are forbidden to "haoles" (foreigners) because they are the sacred waters of Ta'aroa. In actuality Ta'aroa is a Tahitian, not Hawaiian, diety. I believe the Nehoa Channel is fictitious as well.

Captain Hammond was working on a competing theory against another archaeologist, Professor Martinez, who believed that the Spanish Conquistadors had made contact with Hawaiians pre-dating Captain Cook. Some of this controversy has a basis in reality.

Despite the best attempts of someone to keep Magnum from getting on a boat, we finally get out to sea at about the 30 minute mark in. The underwater footage of Magnum and Marion Hammond scuba diving among Hawaiian coral reefs is the best thing going for this episode. The story is too slow in developing and when it unfolded turned out to be rather preposterous. A mystery at sea in need of a tighter storyline. A story about buried treasure in forbidden waters should have been more fun. 6.5/10.

Testing the lengths of friendship..., 4 January 2014
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Magnum's Navy buddy from the Academy and 'Nam, Rod, shows up at the Masters estate, now a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman. Rod needs help delivering boxes of "encyclopedias" to opposite ends of the island, so Magnum offers to help make one of the deliveries using the aerial services of T.C. The encyclopedias turn out to be nine kilos of grass and Magnum and T.C. find themselves in the middle of a drug war.

Rod had done a favor for Magnum while he was MIA, and Magnum is beholden to stick up for his buddy. Rod, it turns out, had done time in Camarillo for dealing and is a bit of a flake. But Rod has a thing for helping out mothers under duress and this time he is being framed. And then there's little "Hot Rod" waiting for him on the mainland (haha).

Rod is played by the great comedic actor Stuart Margolin, who is in top form as a con man with a heart of gold. A solid, funny episode well worth watching. 8/10.

4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Doggone it, I liked it..., 3 January 2014
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Magnum plays dogwatcher for "Algie," short for Sir Algernon Farnsworth, a lovable little mutt who needs protection from gangsters. "If that dog is worth something, it has to be intrinstic to the dog itself," says Higgins. Algie, it turns out, is every thing he needs to be.

There is a funny story line involving a stereotypical old school gangster and his two ivy league-educated but incompetent sons, and their pretty hilarious attempts at dognapping.

Then there is the woman charged to watch Algie who is deathly afraid of dogs and really wants to be a marine biologist. At one point in the dog chase they end up in a very cool banana patch and stumble across a guerrilla pot farm and a couple of brudahs armed with shotguns. There is a shoot out between the gangsters and the pot farmers. For this scene alone this episode is worth watching.

I don't think it's ever revealed what it was that made Algie so special. If it was I missed it. I like that and every thing else about this episode. It's a fun romp with a dog named Algie who is cute, not ugly.


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