First Impressions

Human Target

Aired on: FOX

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            This past Sunday, after the New York Jets beat the San Diego Chargers, I started flipping channels, half-heartedly looking for something to watch, when all I really wanted to do was get back to reading the latest novel of my selection.  When I got to FOX, I paused - here was that new action show that Iíd seen advertised quite a bit over the past couple of weeks.  I decided to leave the show on for a couple of minutes.  That way, if I didnít like it, I could always change the channel.  I never did get around to changing that channel.

            Human Target is based on a comic book character created by Len Wein and Carmine Infantino and published by DC Comics.  The series follows the life of Christopher Chance (Mark Valley), a mysterious character with a rather unusual job - a human target for hire.  Not your average bodyguard, Chance finds a way to integrate himself into the life of his client in an effort to get close enough to the client without being detected as a bodyguard.  In effect, he makes himself a human target for whatever individual is foolish enough to try to kill his client.

            Of course, his business partner, Winston (Chi McBride) does not always agree with Chanceís style - especially when it comes to dealing with hired mercenaries like Guerrero (Jackie Earle Haley) - but he has to admit that Chance gets the job done and keeps the money rolling in.  Despite an excellent record, Winston worries that his business partner and friend may be celebrating a death wish that will eventually be answered.

            The premiere episode of Human Target featured Tricia Helfer as Stephanie Dobbs, an engineer whose pet project is about to go on its premiere run.  The California bullet train may be the fastest train in creation and Dobbs may be on an even faster track to the grave after someone hires an assassin to put out the lights.  Christopher Chance integrates himself into Dobbsí life as an interpreter for some very high profile guests that will be accompanying her on the trainís first trip.

            Now, the story in this episode is okay.  After all, this is just an introductory episode and therefore would not have much in the character development department.  Thatís for us to get into in episodes to come.  This episode sort of introduces us the Chance and his associates and gives us an idea of what to look for in future episodes.  The main attraction is not the story, but the action.  It doesnít start off right away, but when it does, you find yourself on an adrenaline-filled rollercoaster ride of shoot-outs, hand-to-hand combat and incredibly amazing stunts.

            What really grabbed me was the main fight scene in which Chance confronts the hired assassin.  This was a fairly long fight scene for a television show, but it was filled with interesting stunts and a ton of fast-paced punching and kicking.  One minute you think Chance is winning, the next the assassin, and so on until that final, unexpected moment when the assassin finds himself exiting the trainÖin quite a messy fashion.

            Now, I must caution you.  This is a television series based on a comic book.  It wonít be steeped in a great deal of reality.  However, the amount of action and the constant adrenaline rush once the action gets started is surely enough to overcome some shaky factual tidbits.  One more thing - you may as well know that the powers that be out there seem to frown on comic book-based television series.  That being the case, Human Target may have a very short shelf life, so I would get as much of a rush out of this show while itís still on the air.  As for me, Iíll be seated right in front of the TV next week, waiting for the next action-packed episode of Human Target.


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