HUMAN TARGET - 1.7 - "Salvage and Reclamation" Review (Mania.com)

By:Rob Vaux
Review Date: Friday, March 12, 2010
Source: Mania

Human Target edges gently into Indiana Jones territory with an entry that doubtless stretched the overworked budget but marks another solid entry in the show's popcorn oeuvre. Chance (Mark Valley) heads down to South America to save a hapless anthropologist (Kris Marshall) who has stumbled onto lost government gold. Along the way, he becomes entangled with an old flame (Leonor Varela) who has her sights on the same fortune, as well as various corrupt government officials and a villain (Kim Coates) happy to walk over everyone's corpses to claim it.

Director Bryan Spicer sticks to business and doesn't get cute, delivering the expected mixture of witty one-liners, hairpin escapes and not-quite-believable stunts as Chance and his client try to make their way through the jungle to safety. A fair helping of double-crosses and similar surprises keep the action from becoming dull, and like the best episodes of Human Target, the firefights and chases enable some very funny dialogue rather than the dialogue coming as an afterthought to all the mayhem.

"Salvage & Reclamation" scores further points by involving Chance's supporting cast more directly in the proceedings. Guerrero (Jackie Earle Haley), in particular, has a habit of standing on the sidelines, and thrusting him into a genuine crisis lets us observe his unflappable amorality under duress. In this case, he and Winston (Chi McBride) need to escape an army dragnet in a DC-3 piloted by a man who speaks no English, then get to a rendezvous point in the mountains to hook up with Chance. Winston's straight man routine is as potent as ever, and he gains a moment of comeuppance (and the episode's highlight) when Guerrero endeavors to unburden his guilty conscience on him.

The show also does well with Marshall, who movie fans might remember from British comedies like Love Actually and Death at a Funeral. He quickly establishes a great rapport with Valley, and revels in his character's out-of-his-depth anxiety without once feeling like a walking plot device. The female lead, unfortunately struggles a great deal more. Though Varela is cut from decidedly different cloth than most wafer-thin starlets, she lacks any appreciable chemistry with Valley and he character's moral ambiguity never congeals into a viable personality. She has the physical presence to compensate somewhat (she played Wesley Snipes' love interest in the second Blade film, so she knows her way around stunts), but it pales in comparison to some of the other leading ladies the show has teamed with its star.

Thankfully, the remainder of the episode remains rock solid. "Salvage & Reclamation" successfully ports Chance into yet another exotic locale, shading it with enough interesting material to make it unique while still providing the reliable formula upon which the show depends. Spicer keeps the excitement rolling, as well as adding an engaging topper of a finale that wraps things up with aplomb. The elements involving Chance's past feel much more interesting than many similar tidbits in past episodes, and the central Macguffin holds enough water to successfully support an array of clever gags. After a brief hiatus, a meat-and-potatoes episode like this one feels just right for getting us back in the proper mood. Nice to see you back, boys. Keep up the good work.



Mania Grade: B
Title: Human Target
Episode: Salvage and Reclamation
Starring: Mark Valley, Chi McBride, and Jackie Earle Haley
Written by: Jonathan E. Steinberg and Robert Levine
Directed by: Bryan Spicer
Network: Fox
Series: Human Target