Acorn Media // 1967 // 779 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // March 17th, 2011
A rogue agent for hire in 1960s Europe. (Not the gimp. I repeat, not the gimp.)
He is "Mac" McGill (Richard Bradford, The Milagro Beanfield War) and he is cooler than you.
A lot cooler.
He's prematurely gray, but that doesn't make him any less appealing to the ladies. In fact, the gray hair adds a "distinguished" factor to his already chiseled jawline, sure to drive any potential bedmate bonkers with lust.
He smokes too, which in the '60s was awesome.
And while he doesn't literally live in his suitcase, he keeps most of his stuff in there. Because Mac is an ex-spy who was bounced out of the CIA and ends up doing freelance work in London. So, yeah, Burn Notice totally copied this show.
Fifteen episodes on this four-disc set, most of them varied and placing Mac into a smorgasbord of shifty situations that include mobsters, deposed tyrants, deposed tyrants' henchmen, and (of course) "dirty Communists" (his words). Man in a Suitcase being filmed in the '60s, those crazy Soviets serve as solid boogeymen, though their role as heavies isn't quite as diabolical and excellent as how they come across in Airwolf, the greatest Commie-punching action show ever made.
Regardless, Mac does his share of punching and I'm the last one to begrudge him a Soviet beatdown. Thankfully, the writers don't lean on the Big Red Crutch, tossing a nice selection of villains for Mac to face down. My favorite was the guy from the first episode, "Brainwash," the aforementioned deposed tyrant who lords over an army of smartly dressed bad guys and tries to squeeze info out of Mac by depriving him of sleep and forcing him to ogle the perky breasts of his hench-maid.
Still, I can't bust out a recommendation for Man in a Suitcase as heartily as I'd like. As a cultural artifact, there is much merit here, but as a steady stream of entertainment -- 779 minutes worth, no less -- the show moves along at a death-defying crawl. Even the overwhelming dope-ness of Richard Bradford and a guest appearance by a spry Donald Sutherland aren't enough to compensate for the trudge.
On the other hand, Mac totes around a "Jack Sack" in one episode, making him both a highly influential precursor to our generation's TV action icon, Jack Bauer. And as the title of the show implies, clearly an expert in all things luggage.
The specs: a so-so full frame transfer (it could have been worse), 2.0 stereo, and a photo gallery.
Thanks for your service, Mac. Enjoy your stay in the assisted living military compound.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Acorn Media
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 779 Minutes
Release Year: 1967
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Photo Gallery