Our favorite television critic, Mary McNamara, has a sparkling and fan-inspiring review of Kiefer Sutherland’s return to time-management in tonight’s two-hour “24″ movie. (This excerpt was carefully combed to remove any spoilers, it provides only brief images and the loosest of plot description):
As Season 6 pinballed to a close in spring 2007, even die-hard fans were complaining about repetitive story lines and worn-out love triangles. (Honestly, is there nothing worse than a worn-out love triangle?)
“Redemption,” a bridge to next season, which begins Jan. 11, nukes those criticisms. With a narrative that is ambitious and gut-wrenching even by “24″ standards, Jack finds himself in Sangala, Africa, which is on the verge of a military coup of the sort now only too recognizable. (Why he could not have fled to Paris is a question only Jack and his writers can answer.)
There is a psychotic general in a requisite psychotic-general beret, a brutal rebel army toting machine guns and machetes and a group of now agonizingly iconic child soldiers: boys kidnapped and psychologically bludgeoned to make them capable of slaughtering “the cockroaches.”
She writes later in the review:
The seventh season may take place back in the States, but the prequel firmly establishes not only what is at stake here — the desperate lives of innocent men, women and children — but also the moral responsibility the United States continues to have in the world.
Still, for all its political ambitions, “24″ remains the story of one man’s journey, and Sutherland shrugs himself back into the role as if it were a well-worn flak jacket.
With his eyes full of anguish, soft-spoken ways and chin stubble gone golden under the African sun, Bauer has never looked so savior-like. (At one point he is tortured with his arms outstretched, as if on a cross, which may have been a bit over-the-top.) He is still more than capable of taking out an entire platoon with a few sticks of dynamite and a handgun, but clearly Jack Bauer walks the Earth to take on the world’s sins, to thwart what he can, avenge what he cannot and suffer because he must.
Again, to read the rest, which is excellent, you can go right here.
— Geoff Boucher