Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Last night on Sky1: 24: Redemption

Call me a nitpicker, but last night’s 24 special really should have just been called 2, shouldn’t it? Although it used 24’s trademark real-time system, had a few split screen moments and featured, of course, a grizzled Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) running around with a gun and a manbag, it covered just a couple of hours, a new departure for the long-running show. 

The breakaway from the main series was obviously so the show’s creators got the chance to do a “Jack in Africa” sort of adventure without then having to follow it with 10 episodes of Jack sitting on a plane looking out the window and watching an in-flight movie.

Yes, this way was probably the better option – and it worked. The show kicked off with our hero working in an orphanage in ficitonal African country Sangala alongside old special forces pal Carl Benton (Robert Carlyle in fine fettle), Bauer’s utilitarian approach to saving the world has left him physically and psychologically scarred - although you should’ve seen the other guy.

Meanwhile, a warlord was busy recruiting children for a coup, while over in the US, President-elect Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones) was preparing for her inauguration. (Of course, 24’s black President has been and gone – keep up, America!) Plenty afoot then. Anyway, it wasn’t long before the political intrigue got going in the States, and Jack had a group of African children to save and a gang of African soldiers to shoot.

The America scenes were weird, as usual, all muted and eerie blue, like something out of a dream. In contrast, the vivid action sequences in Sangala were a return to the show’s heartpumping best, and Jack’s moving moment of redemption a finale so good we were even tempted to let him off for the mostly boring season six.

by Will Parkhouse

Originally published on Orange.co.uk

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