Don't be fooled by the technical wizardry that's on display from time-to-time in Fox's new series Human Target. For despite the complexity of the situations, we realize that the show's flavor is distinctly old school upon encountering the Stallone/Willis/Schwarzenegger hybrid character that is Target's larger than life everyday superhero Christopher Chance (Mark Valley).
Likewise although the show is adapted from the DC comic book series of the same name, easily identifiable capes and uniforms are thankfully ignored for the unique premise of a man who will happily immerse himself in the life of someone who has a bullet with their name written on it in order to ferret out the killer, motive and save his client.
Although it does incorporate a DC franchise trademark of a memorable origin story that illustrates the path our unlikely hero took from doing evil to doing good after losing a loved one by dropping hints like breadcrumbs throughout the first season's twelve episodes, for the most part each installment can stand on its own as a mini, forty-two minute adventure flick.
As such it's destined to appeal to those who wish that Burn Notice would pay even greater homage to 1980s style action than just borrowing the MacGyver knack for turning everyday objects into super gadgets.
While overall it's affable right from the start, Target's episodic formula of opening at the height of action and then circling back to the earlier events of the day until we find ourselves at the same point in time later on does grow creatively repetitive as the series continues.
Similarly, because the filmmakers like to mess around with chronology as Target becomes more fascinating in the final few episodes by offering us a greater understanding of Chance when it comes to his lost love Katherine (Amy Acker) in the bravura final episode, those in charge should've flipped the air-dates around completely, turning the finale into the pilot to have gotten the show off to a better start.
Needless to say, by withholding the “origin” story and vital information about our main character that would've gained our sympathy and interest, he becomes surprisingly generic. Thus, regardless of the exotic settings and situations we experience as Chance becomes an underground MMA fighter, survives a high speed train crash, or squares off against rebels, assassins or CIA agents, the shows begin to blend into one midway through the season.
Yet regardless of the sloppy structure, the series is augmented by the goofy humor and ruthless nature of series hired gun sidekick Guerrero (Jackie Earle Haley) who frequently butts heads with Chance's cool-as-a-cucumber business partner, Winston, a former San Francisco police officer played by Chi McBride.
At its worst when trying to decipher the mythology of Chance, Target is at its best when viewed as nothing more than big screen escapist action fare (produced by Charlie's Angels director and Chuck producer McG) morphs into ridiculously high quality adventures that brings theatrical caliber filmmaking to the small screen in terms of stunt choreography, cinematography, sound and production design.
And sure enough, at times Target is reminiscent of Rambo, Commando, Speed, and Die Hard among others. So even though we'd like to know more about Christopher Chance so that the episodes build together to form a tighter arc rather than standalone escapades, as these Blu-rays display in our era of high definition television, it's enjoyable to see a show make the most out of the format and technology to truly rival film in terms of what we watch for fun.
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FTC Disclosure: Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.