Case Number 23565: Small Claims Court


[adult swim] // 2010 // 132 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Josh Rode (Retired) // March 25th, 2012

The Charge

Justice has a new best pal.

The Case

U.S. Marshal Chris Monsanto (Chris Elliot, Cabin Boy) is dedicated to his job; he will see justice through, no matter how many people he has to kill. Chris goes through partners like most people go through sneakers, with an entire wall dedicated to those he must avenge. His newest partners are competent and by-the-books Susie (Maria Thayer, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), and dumb-as-a-board (and just as useful) Brett (Brett Gelman, 30 Minutes or Less).

Eagleheart: Season One offers up twelve episodes on a single disc...

* "Get Worse Soon" -- Pilot episode wherein Chris' umpteenth partner is killed, which means he has to break in a pair of newbies while trying to get his arch-nemesis healed so he can kill him.

* "Creeps" -- The creepiest men in town are systematically disappearing, and the creepiness level of the remaining men is increasing proportionately.

* "Master of Da' Skies" -- Turns out anything done in the air is legal, so Chris investigates a blimp full of bad guys.

* "Me Llamo Justice" -- The gang heads to Mexico to track shipments of drugs.

* "Death Punch" -- Chris has mastered the death punch, which can explode an enemy in one blow. Feeling guilty after using it on a criminal, Chris moves in with the deceased man's family to make amends.

* "Double Your Displeasure" -- Rich twins who went to elementary school with Chris suddenly show an interest in him.

* "Chris & Susie & Brett & Malice" -- Chris and his partners are forced into the Federal Witness Protection Program where Chris' lies to the neighbors leads to some strange activity.

* "Susie's Song" -- Much to her chagrin, Susie discovers that assassins turn her on.

* "The Human Bat" -- Tired of his role as Chris' literal hitman, Brett quits the Marshals to join a crime lord.

* "Once in a Wattle" -- Old people are disappearing, so Chris goes undercover to find out why.

* "Danger: Mountain Lions" -- A decided lack of mountain lions in the nearby foothills leads Chris to wonder if the local Chinese restaurant has found a new meat source.

* "A Mug of Chili and a Bowl of Death" -- A trio of Marshals are killed outside Chris' favorite restaurant, and his investigation leads him in a surprising direction.

The best thing I can say about Eagleheart is that it plays very much like an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger; the only real difference being this show doesn't take itself seriously. It knows that it's a comedy and every moment is a chance at another gag. The problem is it never pauses to set up the jokes, so each storyline becomes a series of increasingly ridiculous situations filled with scattershot punchlines. The whole thing feels like it was written by a room full of hyperactive squirrels.

I've been a Chris Elliot fan since his days as "The Man Under the Seats" on David Letterman's NBC show. There is no one better at delivering ridiculous lines with a completely straight face, and every bit of this particular talent is needed here. In truth, the acting is pretty decent, with Thayer especially standing out. She's playing the "woman who is smarter than the idiot men she's forced to work with" stereotype, but still manages to make it funny. One exasperated look from her is often far funnier than the many outlandish things she's reacting to. Gelman doesn't fare quite as well, but that probably has more to do with the way his simpleton character is written than anything he does.

Presented in standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, the transfer possesses a clean and reasonably sharp picture, balanced colors, and adequate black levels. The 5.1 Dolby Surround mix doesn't deliver much past the front three channels, nor is the bass response anything to write home about.

Extras include deleted scenes (including some from the pilot, which was a much different show), scenes from a New York Comic Con panel discussion, and a "kill reel" that counts the deaths over the course of these 12 episodes. There are also twenty commentary tracks for the twelve episodes and, as usual for a show such as this, the commentaries are often more entertaining than the episodes themselves. You won't find them in the special features section, nor will you find them if you do a "play all" marathon session. The commentaries become available only if you choose the individual episodes (my humblest apologies and many thanks to Aaron Nevins and Eagleheart writer Jason Woliner for telling me the secret).

Eagleheart: Season One has some good one-liners and genuinely funny moments. Unfortunately, they're buried beneath mountains of lame attempts and failed gags. Here's hoping that the writing tightens up as the series grows.

The Verdict

Guilty of trying too hard.

Review content copyright © 2012 Josh Rode; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2015 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 65

Perp Profile
Studio: [adult swim]
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)

* English (SDH)

Running Time: 132 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Deleted Scenes
* Featurettes

* IMDb

* Official Site