Within five minutes of the start of The Human Target, I had already decided that I would hate it. I tell you this because I hate it when a reviewer decides he hates something before it’s really even started. Still, I couldn’t help it. The lead character, Christopher Chance, was smug and arrogant, and his witty little speech before taking out the bad guy was not quite as witty as intended. Then you get a big TV-explosion, with the appropriate amount of slow-mo paper flying through the air to make it matrix-y. It all just felt a little generic.
But why wouldn’t I like that? I mean, after all, characters like Indiana Jones and Nathan Drake are lovable because they’re smug and arrogant. Maybe it’s because his whole speech was about how it’s more important to act than to talk, and he does just that. Irony? Or bad writing? The fact that I don’t know is a problem.
Rest of my review after the jump….
As the hour went on, though, my hatred for the show subsided. There were some good set pieces, decent acting and, despite an all-too predictable plot, plenty of room for excitement and action. For some reason I like action set on a train (before anyone asks, that does not include Under Siege 2), so it kind of appealed to my sensibility there.
Much love was given in other reviews to series sidekicks Chi McBride and Jackie Earle Haley and, while I have to admit that having Haley in the show was pretty cool (and he did a great job), I can’t give the same accolades to McBride, no matter how much I normally love the guy. I think the problem isn’t him, though, but in the awful, awful dialogue. I’m sure he did the best he could with what he was given. Lead Mark Valley grew more likable as the show progressed and pulled off the action convincingly enough. If Human Target doesn’t work out, he should definitely look into picking up some type of action movie role. Of course, having Battlestar Galactica’s Tricia Helfer guest star in the first episode didn’t hurt either.
So, just as I grew to actually kind of enjoy the show, despite it being cliche-ridden and predicatable, then came the ending. That horrible, horrible ending, where you get a little dialogue about how Chance “is hoping one day that, by putting himself in front of all these bullets, he’s hoping one day one will strike his mark, finally giving him what he deserves.” Ugh…seriously? Like I haven’t heard this a MILLION times already? How about a hero who doesn’t want to die – that would be a nice change. All of this plays over a very awkward scene (with a cameo by a really bad looking Danny Glover) that just felt….odd. And then the episode was over, with a very sour aftertaste.
Final verdict is that I’m going to give the show one more episode – pilots can be a very tricky thing. They’re usually filmed long before the rest of the series, and may not be indicative of how the series itself will be. Sometimes, though, they’re the best of what the show has to offer and, if that’s the case, then I won’t be tuning in to watching this Human Target after episode two.