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Case Number 21296: Small Claims Court

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Howe And Howe Tech

Discovery Channel // 2010 // 360 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // May 7th, 2011

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson likes to build awesome stuff. Out of popsicle sticks and rubber cement and feathers!

The Charge

Is there a market for hydroplaning tanks?

The Case

Apparently there is. Or else why would the hard workers and Howe and Howe devote so much time and resources to building these glorified toys?

Discovery's reality show follows the small business exploits of identical twins Geoff and Mike Howe, a pair of engineers who excel at putting together ridiculous contraptions that usually have tank treads and bulletproof shielding. That's right: these inventors aren't so much interested in crafting the next Snuggie, instead opting to fabricate the kinds of vehicles that you'd find in a Call of Duty cut-scene.

This season brings six episodes, examining the high-pressure situation in the garage as the brothers and their specialists scramble to pull together prototypes and finished products in time for delivery. They tend to contract with police forces (that utilize their miniature tank, The Badger), the U.S. Army (the high-speed Ripsaw tank) and a Subterranean Rover, sold to a mining company. These three builds are the major projects for the season and we see them in varying stages of design throughout. On the peripheral, the guys produce some side oddities like the Personal Assault Lander, which doesn't work, and the Ripsaw Mini-Me, a dope little all-terrain machine that goes 40 miles per hour over any topography.

This show is certainly aimed at gear-heads and if you enjoy messing around with a wrench or perhaps have a soft spot for Battlebots, the look at the engineering process should prove entertaining. While the camera pulls back enough to prevent industrial espionage; we glance at the computer imaging, the welding, the assembling—it's straight-up grease-monkey porn.

It's with the human relationship aspect of the show where Howe and Howe stumbles. You need a fair amount of melodrama, I get it, but the back-and-forth here comes across as forced. I don't doubt that the deadlines are crushing and the pressure is high. It's when something like the argument over the Personal Assault Lander happens that I waver on the veracity of the "reality." Case in point: one Howe brother, irritated with the time-consuming failings of the PAL, makes a grand display of running the craft over with a bulldozer and dumping the remains into a dumpster. Howe #2 flips out and leaves in a huff. It was all very theatrical and difficult to swallow. I mean, really, who destroys a one-person, hydroplaning tank?!

Two discs, six episodes, presented in full frame and supported with a 2.0 stereo track. Bonus footage for extras.

The Verdict

If you want to scope out some dope steel and gunpowder fantasies, have at it!

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 80

Perp Profile

Studio: Discovery Channel
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 360 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Reality TV
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Bonus Footage


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• Official Site

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