HUMAN TARGET - 1.7 - "Salvage and Reclamation" Review -

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Mania Grade: B

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  • 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

HUMAN TARGET - 1.7 - "Salvage and Reclamation" Review

The Plane! The Plane!

By Rob Vaux     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.


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lusiphur 3/12/2010 6:56:28 AM

Good episode.  B rating sounds about right.

I would like to see Bertram come back as a recurring villian.

phantomx69 3/12/2010 11:59:06 AM

very good episode.... if fox leaves the show alone it will do good  they have a winner on there hands and all they care about is idol..... another network would love to have target on there schedual, fox always screws it up...  i love this show....

phantomx69 3/12/2010 12:03:09 PM

im shocked other networks are not cashing in on targets success with similar offerings,  would love to see t.h.e. cat  come back to tv..... he was a bodyguard for hire also...  a new equalizer  would be good 2. or even a new stingray......

DaForce1 3/12/2010 12:34:53 PM

I tried watching this tired POS again, and was completely bored by it. I've seen a couple hundred episodes exactly like this one while growing up, and many were much better than this very tired premise of a tv show.

But I guess as long as things like retreads of The Gong Show (aka American Idol) are popular, people will still watch the same boring crap over and over again and make it 'popular'.

HudsonTaco 3/12/2010 3:34:57 PM

I watched the first two episode and found them mediocre. Some of you enjoying this show did it get better or is it about the same? Not knocking you for liking it just wondering if I should give it a second chance?

thorin02 3/12/2010 5:14:33 PM

 HudsonTaco - For what it is, a straight up b-level action/drama, Human Target does exactly what it is supposed to do.  It's fun, is doesn't take itself seriously, doesn't expect the audience to take it seriously and delivers some solid action with a couple of good moments of drama and humor.  The action scenes are pretty well done.  The characters, while stock, are starting to come into their own.  It's kind of like Burn Notice or Leverage.  It's not a great show but all it sets out to do is entertain you for an hour.  No lengthy multi-episode plots, no deep character studies, just fun.  

Just put your brain in neutral and enjoy the ride.  

monelonmonday 3/13/2010 1:53:24 AM

 t.h.e. cat     a bodyguard,i was a bit young when it came on but i remember him being a catburgler?not sure ,i was more into man from uncle & wild wild west

phantomx69 3/15/2010 5:37:42 AM

t.h.e cat was a reformed  catburgler, he worked freelance as a bodyguard for hire he protected clients who were marked for death... useing his skills as a thief, and  martial arts skills... he wore all black and only carried throwing knives he called his cats claws... and his grappling hook..... i have this series on dvd... ebay has a couple dvd sets up right now... or you can check most of the dvd sets are made in canada... they have access to rare tv shows... so if you can"t find anything  here in the states search north of the border be supprised what they have on dvd there... thats not available here... i have stingray, hardcastle and mcormick....... automan, streethawk, sable..... original human target with rick springfield...



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