Saturday, 29 November 2008

24: Redemption

It’s good to see you again, Jack; you’ve been sorely missed!
24: Redemption sees Bauer hiding in Africa, helping old friend Carl Benton run a small school for boys. Children in the area are being kidnapped and turned into soldiers by their neighbours across the border, who are receiving funding from a high profile source.
Meanwhile, in Washington D.C., as news of conflict in Africa reaches the White House, Allison Taylor is about to become the first Madam President, taking over from a decidedly bitter Noah Daniels (Powers Boothe); while her son is approached by a nervous young banker who is becoming wary of some of his employer’s dealings.
Unusually for 24, it seems to take a while to get going, but when it does, it is edge-of-the-seat time once again. This is achieved without the usual plethora of gunfights and explosions, but fear not, they are still there.
Jack is as proficient, instinctive and foolhardy as ever…Surely he’s not going to take on a dozen or more insurgents single-handedly?!…Despite this, in under two hours, we see more of his softer side than we have in six whole days, especially regarding his relationship with one of the young boys.
A familiar face like Robert Carlyle as the philanthropic Benton initially seemed out of place alongside Kiefer Sutherland. However the two connected well together, and it made a pleasant change to see Carlyle as a likeable character.
Yet Cherry Jones as the President Elect did not quite have the presence that one would expect. You would think she could have found a smarter blouse to wear for her inauguration. Never mind, she might surprise us all and become the Steel Lady.
By setting this TV-movie in Africa, it gives us a chance to see what so far we have only been able to hear from Bauer about his experiences outside of the US. It may not be the most explosive venture for him, but I hope he made the most of the comparative calm and quiet.
Jack may have had more comebacks than the Terminator, but who cares? Redemption has simultaneously filled the gaping hole left by the notable absence of series seven, and left me even hungrier for its arrival in January.