Friday, October 21, 2011

Action Man Review

My friends and I were browsing through Netflix looking for some random show or movie to watch, as we often do on Friday nights, when we stumbled across a show under the anime section called Action Man. It didn’t really look like something that belonged in that category so we decided to watch an episode to see what it was all about. I shall do my best to relate the madness that followed.

The theme song starts off ordinarily enough with people jumping out of airplanes/tall buildings and/while driving military vehicles. At this point our best guess was that this was some sort of Japanese GI Joe rip-off. But then why would all the heroes be Aryan while the villain and his cronies look vaguely Asiatic? Maybe there’s something we just don’t get about Japanese culture. Then things start to get weird. In the middle of laser-firefight, Action Man comes to a complete halt and then there’s this trippy close-up on his eye like at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey. In what I’m assuming is a flashback, Action Man is seen jumping around a cabin in the Alps which is being blown up by the villain. Suddenly he’s in a hospital bed with his face being unwrapped since apparently the cure for being in an explosion is plastic surgery. Then he says “Who am I?” in what qualifies as the worst voice acting I have ever heard in an opening sequence. An equally terrible computer voice announces that he has amnesia in case we couldn’t already figure that out. This must have been dubbed over by somebody who didn’t speak English as a first language. But before I can even come to grasp this insanity, they throw me another curve ball. All of a sudden it switches from animation to live action like it’s not even a thing. Live-Action Action Man proceeds to jump into and out of explosions in what I can only imagine is a subconscious attempt to relive the trauma that caused him to lose his memory. The opening sequence then comes to an end and the show begins proper.

My mind still reeling from what I just saw, the show opens with Live-Action Action Man dicking around on a jet ski painfully trying to shoehorn the word “extreme” into every other sentence. I think it may have been a competition by the writers and whoever can fit “extreme” the most times in a single scene doesn’t have to work on the next episode. Amazingly, it still sounds like his voice is dubbed over despite the fact that the actor is clearly white. Maybe it was dubbed into Japanese and then dubbed back? He then proceeds to jump his jet ski through an inferno for no reason other than to look extreme. It may have been more effective if he wasn’t fleeing from a trio of incredibly ineffective and completely non-threatening pajama-clad minions at the time. Suddenly it reverts to animation. And he’s on a space station. Here we meet the rest of his team: a blonde lady who could hardly be understood, an American who looked and talked like a Scotsman, and some useless loser in a wheelchair. His sole purpose in life is to sit at the computer, tell the useful people when trouble is happening, and then go back to doing nothing. For some reason he still travels with them on missions, but while he has to wheel himself down to the ship, the others get to go down the funslide as if to rub it in his face that he’s a cripple who can’t enjoy himself like regular people. Anyway, there’s some story about Professor Murder or whatever his name is acquiring nuclear weapons and must be stopped. Action Man falls into a trap at the hands of a woman who knew him in his past life, and since the rest of his team is completely inept and fail to launch a rescue operation he pretty much has to escape by himself. In the end the woman sort of helps him, they stop the plot, and then she runs away, but Action Man is confident he will see her again in a very extreme way. It then switches back to live-action and we are treated to this scene where Action Man looks inside his memory in this tripping balls scene consisting entirely of terrible CGI and the vain hope that we won’t notice (ie shininess). In this scene we learn absolutely nothing of interest. It then cuts to Action Man breaking character to teach us a life lesson about how it’s okay to make mistakes because extreme. End of episode.

Unsure of what it was I had witnessed I made a cursory search on Wikipedia to learn about this show’s history. It turns out it’s the British equivalent of GI Joe and has absolutely nothing to do with Japan. Somehow this just raised more questions than it answered.

Bonus points to anybody who posts a link to their own favorite terrible show.