Fox // 2001 // 1019 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // June 6th, 2008
Kerp-chunk. Kerp-chunk. Kerp-chunk.
Jack Bauer's first -- and finest -- outing receives a special edition double-dip. Is it worth punching in for another 24-hour run of wanton shooting and torture?
Before the cougar. Before the soul patch. Before the heroin addiction. Before the train wreck that was Season Six, CTU Agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) was just a simple, soft-spoken bad-ass mother-f -- -- -- who doesn't hesitate to fire a tranquilizer dart into his superior officer's leg.
Then the phone rings and he discovers that there's a terrorist plot to assassinate Presidential candidate David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert) and even though his irritating daughter Kim (Elisha Cuthbert) has decided to run away from home and his wife (Leslie Hope) is in a foul mood, Jack does what he has to do -- a recurring theme that all 24 fans have come to expect from one of the all time dopest TV action icons.
I've heard a theory about the 24 seasons floating around that makes sense to me. It's the reverse Star Trek feature movie rubric, which, of course, is that the even-numbered entries into the franchise are superior to the odd-numbered ones. With 24 it's the odd-numbered seasons that trump the even-numbered. And Season One of the series in my mind still stands tall as the best installment (followed closely by Three, Five and Four, if you must know, with the lamentable Six occupying the nether regions of CTU, locked up, hopefully, for perpetuity).
Admittedly, its uniqueness at the time certainly grants it an edge over its successors, but there's so much awesome stuff in this season its excellence can't be denied. You've got the opening exchange between Jack and George, which, of course ends with Jack forcefully sedating him with a dart gun; a brutal interrogation sequence in the back of a limo that features vigorous punching to the heart; a C-4 laced cell-phone that blows up half a hotel; the origins of Sheri Palmer's douchebaggery; hot Mandy in all her plane-exploding hotness; Jack's awesome, all-or-nothing gambit assault on the terrorist stronghold; the neck-snapping betrayals; that legendary last scene; Teri's short-term, plot-convenient amnesia. Okay, that last one wasn't awesome and was actually indicative of some of the overly hard-to-swallow moments that have besieged the series in its lowest points, but the verdict for Season One is an easy one to arrive at: WINNER!
So now the question of the day -- is this re-issue worth picking up? The short answer: no. The more nuanced, bandwidth-consuming, review-padding answer: it depends. It depends on how much of a 24 completist nut you are. It depends on how much you find yourself emotionally attracted to metal cases. It depends on if a LCD clock that counts down to 24 hours is enough of a gimmick to sucker you into shelling out more of your hard-earned pesos for a double-dip with only a modest amount of extras tacked on.
Okay I kind of tipped my hand with last one. I have a hard time recommending this new set to those that already own the original release. If you're new to the 24 experience and are looking to jump in from the beginning and all things being equal (price, availability, etc.) by all means track these discs down. Granted, that's a lot of caveats, so choose wisely. The re-issue does sport a more robust selection of extras, but it's not overwhelming. The highlight is a brand-new documentary called the "The Genesis of 24" and it's great, but not worth the upgrade. Additionally, director Stephen Hopkins delivers two feature commentaries, one with director of photography Peter Levy, the other with Leslie Hope. The seventh disc contains the documentary, deleted scenes, the alternate ending (with optional commentary) and two lame "Rookie" vignettes.
On the technical side, the picture (1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen) and sound (2.0 stereo) are as slick as I've come to expect with 24 releases.
It's the best season, but this re-release of Season One is only for the hardest of hardcore 24 fans or newbies just getting into the show. There just isn't enough content to justify another purchase.
The show: Not guilty. The double-dip: Guilty of third-degree 'Probably Not Necessary.'
Review content copyright © 2008 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (French)
Running Time: 1019 Minutes
Release Year: 2001
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Two Commentaries
* Deleted Scenes
* Alternate Ending
* "The Rookie" Episodes
* DVD Verdict Review - Season 2
* DVD Verdict Review - Season 3
* DVD Verdict Review - Season 4
* DVD Verdict Review - Season 5
* DVD Verdict Review - Season 6