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24: Season One (2002)

Action & Adventure, Drama, and Mystery & Suspense movie

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Great TV show, but with too many improbable twists and turns

  • Nov 13, 2007
  • by
24 is a terrific TV series, no doubt about that. Sadly though, being a series also is its biggest problem, a series that needs to have its viewers glued to the screen for an entire season. Meaning, a lot needs to happen in these 24 hours.
A great storyline built on a terrific idea. Just too much of it. Too many turns to keep us waiting for what happens next. A few less twists and episodes and I'd have given it six stars.
You probably know all about it: A presidential candidate is targeted by terrorists. A special agent, Jack Bauer, tries to save both the senator and his own family which has been taken hostage by the same terrorists in order to force him to do their dirty work.
Great acting, good solid camerawork, good storyline (at least in the beginning). Somewhere in the middle things start to feel too constructed.
A few examples: The gangsters appear to have superhuman intelligence on their side, whereas CTU bathes in blunders. Of course you can also call it luck when the bad guys are able to recapture Kim, Jack's daughter, for the upteenth time when she is escorted from jail by the police. Funny enough, a few hours earlier, the same super gangsters were unable to find her after her car exploded a few miles down the road with a huge cloud of smoke attracting anybody's attention, except that of the talented terrorists.
Of course there has to be a traitor amongst the good guys. This time it's the agent's best friend, the one he trusts the most (oh no, not again...) She turns into a deadly terrorist in the end. But her previous actions somehow never seemed to seriously interfere with Jack's work. I had the feeling that the screenwriter just turned her into a baddy at the last minute, adding constructed clues into the last four episodes to deliver the "necessary" tension. Sorry, but way over the top if you ask me.
Other obvious mistakes: Jack's wife, after having been rescued, is being left to walk around as she pleases in the building of the Counter Terrorist Unit(she is a civilian)... a few hours earlier she said that often she does't exactly know what her husband is doing for most of the time. PLEASE!
Jack, when hunting a suspect, often risks too much by unneccesarily breaking his own cover. This is most evident in the scene where he, together with a female police officer, chases a suspect in and around a warehouse in the dark. When he enters the unsecured building, he doesn't hide in the shadows but stays in the open. The officer is shot, Jack makes it through.
A few scenes later, the police office building. This obviously is the dumbest bunch of cops around, the way they let the ganster escape. But they have to be, the gangster needs to pull us into a next episode.
The list goes on and on. Now you're probably asking, why then five stars? Because of the idea, the acting and the basic construction behind the storyline. It's amazing. Even with all the flaws. You want to know what happens next - or what the screenwriters have come up with.
Best acting by Kiefer Sutherland as Jack, Dennis Haysbert as Senator Palmer and Sarah Clarke as Nina Myers.
The dvd set is o.k. Sharp most of the time with occasional bad mastering in large close-ups, grey walls etc. and no chapters.... O.k. for discs released in 2002 but you'd think Fox would have settled that problem by now.

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More 24: Season One (2002) reviews
review by . December 08, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
I missed this on telly, initial (UK) broadsheet reviews being indifferent, then suddenly announcing after a couple of weeks that 24 was the most urgent, unmissable televisual event in a generation. So I bought the DVDs to make sure I had a clear view of the "unmissable" event.     Unmissable my arse.    24 is poorly plotted, poorly scripted and dreadfully acted. The plot is so bad that you'd have to be a paranoid conspiracy theorist of a Branch Davidian calibre, …
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Andre Heeger ()
Ranked #144
I love stories in all form. Painting, film, comics, books, music - anything. Also sculpture, more the classic kind from ROman, Greek onward until I need to read so I might understand what I am supposed … more
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Such a simple idea--yet so fiendishly complex in the execution.24, as surely everyone knows by now, is a thriller that takes places over 24 hours, midnight to midnight, in 24 one-hour episodes (well, 45-minute episodes if you subtract the commercials). Everything takes place in real time, which means no flashbacks, no flash-forwards, no handy time-dissolves. Every strand of the plot has to be dovetailed and interlocked so things happen just when they should, in the right amount of time. Not that easy.

Creator Robert Cochran and his team of writers and directors have done an impressive job of putting the jigsaw together and keeping the tension ratcheted up high, as federal agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) runs around L.A. trying to stall an assassination attempt on an African American presidential candidate and rescue his wife and daughter from the clutches of the Balkan baddies. Twists, turns, revelations, and cliffhangers are tossed at us with satisfying regularity. It's not perfect: we get some hokey plot devices (instant amnesia, anybody?); the final twist makes no sense whatsoever; there are altogether too many huggy family moments; and as for Dennis Hopper's "Serbian" accent....

Even so, this is undeniably mold-breaking TV. Sutherland, rescuing his career from the doldrums in one heroic leap, fully deserves his Golden Globe. Sets and locations are artfully deployed, and Sean Callery's score is a powerful, brooding presence. Like Murder One and The Sopranos, 24 is one...

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Runtime: 1152 minutes
Studio: Fox Network

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