24: Live Another Day Blu-ray
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Exiled in London for four years, former Counter Terrorist Unit agent Jack Bauer (Emmy(R) winner Kiefer Sutherland) must spring into action to try to save U.S. President James Heller (William Devane). In retribution for a drone strike he ordered, Heller sits in the crosshairs of the widow of an al-Qaeda leader. Along the way, Jack faces his ex-love, Heller's daughterAudrey (Kim Raver), who's married to chief of staff Mark Boudreau (Tate Donovan). Teaming with CTU operative-turned-hacktivist Chloe O'Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub), Jack risks everything to try to protect the U.S., prevent a global terrorist attack and outrun the CIA head (Benjamin Bratt) - as the pulse-quickening tension unfolds in real time!
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Just like it’s been four years for us, it’s been four years for Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland). During all that time, he’s been in hiding, trying to avoid the Russians who are out to get revenge for his behavior in season 8. However, he resurfaces in London, and his first act is to break Chloe O’Brien (Mary Lynn Rajskub) out of CIA custody. Chloe has become a wanted hacker, disillusioned with the government and fighting to reveal the secrets they are trying to hide. Jack needs Chloe’s skills and her new friends in his effort to stop a terrorist plot.
Yes, even on the run, Jack has managed to get intel about Margot Al-Harzi (Michelle Fairley, a terrorist who is plotting to take over drones and kill President Heller (William Devane). Heller is in London at the moment, to sign a drone treaty, along with his daughter Aubrey (Kim Raver), who Jack still loves, and Aubrey’s new husband Mark (Tate Donovan).
Of course, breaking Chloe out of the CIA doesn’t go unnoticed (especially with Jack’s lack of subtly). Soon he has CIA location chief Steve Navarro (Benjamin Bratt) overseeing his capture with agent Kate Morgan (Yvonne Strahovski) hot on his trail. Only Kate isn’t so sure Jack is the man they should be hunting. Can he gain any allies in his efforts to stop the terrorists? What will happen before the last second ticks out?
The producers claimed that this season was going to be different because it was shorter. Heck, they famously promised that the show was going to dump us in the middle of the action. I will admit the premier episode was definitely more ramped up than some of the old premiers, but they still took the time to explain all the new relationships and the set up for the season. There was just more action going on in the background.
I will give the producers this – I don’t think there were any wasted sub-plots this season. You know, the sub-plots we never cared about but were there to fill up time as characters moved from one spot to another. While one or two sub-plots seemed unimportant, they eventually tied in better to the overall story than the sub-plots did in the full seasons.
However, there are clichés on 24, and many of them were still evident. If you watched this without knowing there had been four years in real time between season 8 and this run of episodes, you wouldn’t know by any fresh plot twists.
But you know what? That truly doesn’t matter. As the season progressed, I was on the edge of my seat multiple times with my heart racing and the blood pumping hoping Jack could manage to save the day yet again. The show has always been a thrill ride, and this season is absolutely no exception. And there were one or two twists I didn’t see coming.
And the acting is still top notch. Four of the actors from the show returned (although it has been a couple of seasons since we’d seen now President Heller and Aubrey). They slipped right back into their characters as if no time had passed. The cast of new actors were absolutely wonderful as well. I do have to give a special shout out to Yvonne. I loved her on Chuck, and it was great to see here again here.
This season is available on either DVD or Blu-Ray. Either way, you get all twelve episodes in wide screen and full surround. Both sets include deleted and extended scenes as well as a featurette on shooting in London, one on how they used headlines to shape the season, and finally one on filming while staying green. If you buy the Blu-Ray set, you also get an extension to the season. With the price difference between the two sets not being that great, if you have a Blu-Ray player, that’s definitely the set to go with.
There are rumors that the producers are open to doing another event series like 24: Live Another Day. With how they left Jack, I’d say they absolutely need to do that. If it does happen, I’ll be back on the 24 roller coaster for every second.
The first thing viewers of any of the 24 series needs to keep in mind is that there are no happy endings. The next thing is that there are a lot of guns being waved around, usually in inappropriate manner, and lots of blood. Once over those hurdles, the viewer can just sit back and enjoy the interplay of the characters and the unfolding of the plots.
While the earlier seasons of 24 covered the entire day's worth of hours in real time, this season only covers half of a day that way, with the final hours summarized in the final scenes. Because of this compression, the first parts of the original plot moves along at a rapid pace before settling down into the second half of the "day" and an offshoot plotline. But Jack, although showing his age, is still the baddest guy on the street, and Chloe still manages to interpret a hex dump with a glance, so hang onto your hats.
Placing this edition of 24 in London allows the viewer to enjoy several British character actors in supporting parts, but also opens the door to problems with having a US agency operating in another country as though it's no big deal. The British government would rightly have fits with a gaggle of CIA agents waving weapons and shouting "we're federal agents" at the bad guys as though they have any jurisdiction at all. But after all, this is 24 and has little relationship to the real world. Just sit back and enjoy the action.
Kiefer Sutherland may get top billing, but the real star of this show is William Devane as President Heller. He steals every scene he's in as the harried president hiding the first symptoms of early Alzheimers from his staff while trying to complete a treaty negotiation and managing to maintain his composure while the terrorist threats escalate. Toss in the conflicted emotions about Jack Bauer being involved again in his and his daughter's lives, and there are multiple layers of acting skills being called upon.
The extras on the DVDs includes deleted and extended scenes and two featurettes about the London production and the choice of storylines for the season. There are no commentary tracks for the episodes this time around.
Unfortunately for the viewer, Fox decided to place mandatory previews of other DVD sets that they publish on three of the four disks in this set. The previews cannot be exited, at best only sped up in order to get through the commercials faster before you are allowed to get to the Main Menu of the DVD and proceed to the episodes. If this is Fox's standard methodology going forward with their future DVDs, it will mean that I will be purchasing few, if any, additional Fox titles to add to my home collection. When I've paid for a DVD set, I don't expect to be forced into a detour of commercial messages and previews with no way out each time I wish to view a DVD. Bad choice, Fox.
Recommended for 24 fans and those who enjoy fast-paced, action packed adventure.
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