Airwolf: Season 4
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45 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2010
In a nutshell, the 4th season is horrendous. Truly awful in every way compared to the first 3 seasons. Its videotaped rather than filmed and it shows when they insert the recycled stock footage from the first 3 seasons, the "special effects" are just plain lame and the audio and rolling camera effect (to simulate flying) when they are in the chopper is terrible too. The acting, accents, and writing is just plain bad. I don't know how anyone who was a fan of the original version can stand to watch this one, let alone pay money for it!
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29 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2010
It's about time they got this short-lived season of the new AIRWOLF series released on DVD, especially since Universal has already had AIRWOLFs first 3 seasons out on DVD since the Spring of 2007, despite the fact that this season wasn't as good as its predecessor since this season had no Stringfellow Hawke, no Dom (Ernest Borgnine), no Archangel(Alex Cord), & no Caitlyn O'Shannessy(Jean Bruce Scott) anymore in this revived series of this show after AIRWOLF was cancelled by CBS in the Spring of 1986, due to weak ratings.

Therefore, the USA Network decided to revive this series in the Winter of 1987 with the original cast & crew completley written out this abbreviated 4th Season with only Jan-Michael Vincent appearing in the 1st transitional episode for a last time when Dominic Santini(Ernest Borgnine) is killed off in an explosion & gets replaced by Michelle Scarabelli as Dom's niece(Jo Santini)who inherits Santini Air from Dom; the hard-nosed Michael Archangel(Alex Cord) was said to have suddenly been assigned overseas with the FIRM and got replaced by Agent Jason Locke(Anthony Sherwood)from a government agency called "The Company", but had no mention made about Caitlyn which was replaced by Air Force Major Mike Rivers(Geraint Wyn Davies).

Additionally, Hawke's long lost kid brother(St. John Hawke)who had been missing in action since Vietnam is suddenly revealed to be alive & well, having been working for many years under deep cover for American Intelligence & Locke's predecessor(Archangel) knew where St. John was the whole time and was just using the recluse Stringfellow to control Airwolf in the original series that ran on CBS from 1984 thru 1986.

St. John Hawke(Barry Van Dyke) was rescued & subsequently replaced his predecessor Stringfellow Hawke(Jan-Michael Vincent)to control Airwolf as the central character and production moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with a smaller budget that was less than 1/3 of the original CBS budget.

Therefore, the production crew no longer had access to the original Airwolf chopper, and all in-flight shots were recycled from earlier seasons; the original full-size studio mock-up was re-dressed & used for all interior shots leaving the new actors of this revived series little room to develop their characters along with the fact that this poorly revived version of AIRWOLF tanked after only 24 episodes leading to this shows cancellation in the Summer of 1987, not to mention this season doesn't even compare to the original 3 season series from CBS on top of that either.

In the meantime, Universal will be releasing AIRWOLFs Fourth Season on DVD Tuesday February 1st, 2011 for you AIRWOLF fans out there.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2011
Don't buy the fourth season unless you want to see a low-budget production that didn't even have a real helicopter in it. In the fourth season, all the scenes of Airwolf are rehashed from the first three seasons. So buy all three of the first seasons and watch the helicopter scream into action. But don't get the fourth season. It's actually offensive to Airwolf fans to see such a desecration of a great show. Why did they even bother? They shouldn't have.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2009
This season was made by the USA Network. They were unable to procure the Airwolf helicopter after the show was canceled by Universal, so all of the Airwolf footage is recycled from seasons 1-3. While the acting is alright, this season is very poor quality. Also, despite the product details, Earnest Borgnine does not actually appear in this season. A stunt double was used for the scene where his character is killed. Because they couldn't hire the actors from the origional show, they had to re-cast the show with new characters.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2011
Ah, the much maligned fourth season of the cult series Airwolf. When CBS cancelled the series due to high production costs and low ratings(and possibly Jan Michael-Vincent's alcoholism)the show had a total of 58 episodes. Not nearly enough for a successful syndication run. So, following the example of other early-cancelled shows(The 80's Twilight Zone, 80's Alfred Hitchcock Presents) a new, cheaply made season would be filmed in Canada, specifically Vancouver. These 24 episodes existed merely to bump up the total amount of episodes so Airwolf could be sold to more syndication markets. The belief was a series had to have more than 70 episodes to be aired on second run stations.
The expensive original cast had to go, but Vincent came back for the first episode Blackjack. Vancouver offered tax breaks that helped keep production cost down. With the exception of Barry Van Dyke in the lead and the occasional guest star, all the other cast and crew were Canadian. The show was filmed on 35mm film and then transferred to videotape where all the post work was done. This was a common technique in the 80'. Other shows like Star Trek The Next Generation(the first two seasons), Friday The 13th, The Series, etc were also filmed this way. It does occasionally give the show a cheaper video-looking quality in comparison to the earlier seasons.
Van Dyke is good in the lead, very much the squared jawed traditional hero. Geraint Wyn Davies is the joker of the group but has some good dramatic moments too. He seems to fly the copter more often than the Dyke. Michele Scarabelli is cute and tough. Much better than Jean Bruce Scott who was too annoying. Anthony Sherwood is a fine replacement for Archangel.
The other cast member not returning to this season was Airwolf itself. The copter had been sold off already so season 4 is loaded with stock footage. All 24 episodes were filmed in 6 months, a hectic schedule, and in what appeared to be the wettest year of Vancouver's history.
Despite all the limited resources, stock footage, reduced budget, bad weather, this final season of Airwolf is actually not that bad. Many of the stories are as good as the early seasons and there is a return to the international flair of the first season. The copter stock footage is reasonably well incorporated and the new cast do their best to put on a good show. Some of the guest stars are weak but all in all it just seems like everyone tried to make it work.
It sure is nice to finally have this season on DVD. Universal has done a great job cleaning up the print. With the film-to-video conversion this was never the prettiest looking show, but the episodes actually look great here. Colors are bright and sound is acceptable. Squeezing five shows on one disc is pushing it though. No extras sadly. Each single sided disc comes in a thin plastic case that holds two discs and has a printed summary of each episodes. Hilariously, some of the summaries are completely wrong!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2012
The series went downhill as far as I am concerned when they got rid of Jan Michael Vincent as String Fellow Hawk and got rid of Ernest Borgnine as Dominic, they got replaced with Barry Van Dyke playing Strings long lost brother St John along with a whole NEW cast which ruined the series as everyone was used to String flying AIRWOLF and he is the BEST AT IT, NO ONE can replace Jan Michael Vincent and Ernest Borgnine as being the best rolls in acting for AIRWOLF
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2011
This should not even be considered a "season" of the Airwolf series as it features none of the original cast, and only cut-and-paste shots of the Airwolf helicopter (which, by the time this travesty was filmed, had been sold to a private company in Europe). Don't waste your time or your money.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2011
i picked this up because i'm an airwolf fan and a completest. plus, there is fantastic mock-kitsch value in re-watching a show you adored as a kid. what was i thinking? it's TERRIBLE. but i still loved it, so it's fun to watch again.

however, the transfer is the WORST i've EVER seen. sure, the show was shot on video tape and not film, but so was ST:TNG and it looks like a pristine HD transfer compared to this mess. the noise, the grain, you almost have to just listen to the show on your computer and not watch it. it's the nosiest thing i've ever seen. my old VHS tapes i made when it was on USA in 1987 look BETTER than this DVD. how is that POSSIBLE?

UNIVERSAL, if you're going to invest the money to find the tapes, make the transfers, and license the content, at least put the TINIEST EFFORT into cleaning up the print!!!

but, if you're a fan like me, you'll probably want it on your shelf with the other three seasons anyway...

and they know that.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2011
If you search around for anything regarding season 4 of Airwolf, one thing is bound to come up again and again: that it was simply bad. Most of these reviewers either have not watched the whole season or have watched it with a preset mind-frame of someone who couldn't stomach the changes from the previous seasons and was not at all willing to give it a chance. Thus, all they find in it are faults. I'll try my best to be neutral and high-light both pros and cons of this season.

I admit, being a die-hard fan of Airwolf, it was really tough for me to go through this change. It was simply not well handled. But they had to get rid of the expensive cast; they could no longer be afforded. But the new cast wasn't bad as people make them out to be, there was no cheesy acting, at least not more than what you saw in season 2-3. If you got to complain about negative changes, start with addition of a certain whinny, annoying red-head; Caitlin. I'd much rather have Marella as a Co-Pilot than to stomach her, she was too much of a kid to be on Airwolf.

Barry's acting may not have been sublime, but it is bearable. Rest of the cast, however, did a good job. I am especially fond of Mike's character. He brought some charm to this season of Airwolf, in much the same way as Dom's character did in previous seasons; though they were both different. Jo Santini's character was a much more sober type, a lot better than Caitlin's; she easily fit into the world of Airwolf.

Now to the second major change: no real Airwolf to work with. It is correct, there was no real helicopter, and it was all either stock footage or model Airwolf, mostly footage. However, people, who are too much of die-hard fans of Airwolf, are quick to point out this flaw despite the fact that season 2 and season 3, especially, were thriving on these stock footages as well. For this reason, having no real chopper holds little to win that argument. The last season of Airwolf wasn't doing any better to make use of the real chopper. As for use of lame model Airwolf, I do believe that previous seasons had just as much of a lame model chopper as this season: I mean you could tell it was a fake. The only convicting small scale model was the one used in Pilot movie, but that has more to do with camera angles. So, not much reason to bash season 4 here as well. Other minor nitpicks are bad special fx. To be honest, there were 2 major special fx utilized throughout the series' run besides chopper itself, 1: glowing missiles, 2nd: explosions. Admittedly explosions were less spectacular in this season, and the missiles did not glow this time: they seemed more colored or drawn on for lack of better term. The missile fx to be honest have always been lame in Airwolf, except for close-up shots no real loss there. Explosions could have used some more flare though; some loss there.

Now to the meat of things, things that really matter: the stories. It was a mix bag yet again. However, unlike the last 3rd season which produced only a handful of good episodes, around 4-6 out of 22, this season had more of those and what was better this time around was that they returned to the roots of season 1. This means that espionage stories were back, more or less, but it was an improvement on season 3, which was pathetically family friendly. Not saying season 4 didn't had any such stories, but majority wise this season fared better. One thing to keep in mind is that this season too did not brought closure to the series, much like any other series from that decade.

Concerning music of this season, it wasn't good but it wasn't bad either. It was definitely a change from the previous seasons, but it kept to the core of the Airwolf theme, meaning if it played somewhere you would recognize to what it belongs to. I would have preferred if they had kept it the same as it was before, but it wasn't a bother.

The DVD package is shamefully lacking as always, so not much to say about it.

So summing it all up, it has few cons: but those cons depending on your personal preferences can seem either too big to miss or too small to care about. I personally love Airwolf and I love entertainment, and I love stories. This is why I gave this season a chance. I too before watching this season was skeptical of it, many people warned me about it: but I watched it anyway and I found it was judged based on their personal bias. They gave reasons which held little weight to them, and some of them were self-contradictory based on my viewing of previous seasons.

If you like Airwolf, than go ahead watch it and try to enjoy it for what it is and not what it could have been. There is some new footage of Airwolf flying across different scenery, so you might find some enjoyment in that. In any case, all people really got a kick out of was watching that helicopter blow stuff up accompanied by that marvelous theme music.

To be honest, I find myself replaying season 1 more often than season 2-4. Airwolf officially died after season 1 ended, so not much to complain about season 4.

Technically I'd give this 3/5. But I gave 1 more just for the fun factor of watching that bird fly around.

If I had to be more critical, truly honest about Airwolf as a series, this would be my rating:

Season 1: 4.5/5
Season 2: 3.0
Season 3: 2.0
Season 4: 2.5
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2013
I absolutely loved the original series. This one was cheesy. These days just about anyone can fly Airwolf so there's nothing special about it. The laser is so fake looking that you have to wonder why they even bothered and the actors don't have the same charisma as the originals. It looks like lots of the scenes are just reruns of previous seasons too. Oh well. RIP Airwolf.
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