“2-Hour Special Event,” 2 discs
Starring Kiefer Sutherland, John Voight
Studio: 20th Century Fox [Release date: Dec. 1, 08]
Video: 1.78:1 for 16:9 color
Audio: English DD 5.1, DD 2.0
Extras: First 17 min. of new Season 7, Both Broadcast and Extended Versions (10 min. + added), “The Making of 24” documentary, “Blood Never Dry” featurette on child soldiers in Africa, Commentary track by Producer/Director Jon Cassar and Exec. Producers Howard Gordon and Kiefer Sutherland, “24 Season 6 in Four Minutes” featurette
Length: 87 minutes (broadcast); 102 minutes (extended)
Did I miss something while I was making my tea in the kitchen? I thought Jack was on a slow boat to China and prison at the end of the previous season, and suddenly he’s in Africa (though he does make mention of having been in India too). The writers’ strike messed up the series and this special was intended as a bridge to the upcoming new season starting in January. Anyway, the broadcast version DVD demonstrates just how much time you waste watching commercial TV – the supposed 2-hour show is actually only 87 minutes.
Jack is in a fictitious African country helping his friend Carl with a school for orphaned boys. He is also running away from a federal subpoena calling him to a Congressional investigation about his use of torture over the years. This is how the show’s creators are responding to the accusations of torture which has been depicted on 24. The redemption theme is seen in Jack’s torment over his life, and in trying to do good works as a sort of penance. This part of the show was actually shot in Africa, and the setting and the boys are excellent and believable. As he is ready to leave again, the school is attacked by rebels who recruit children to be soldiers, and Jack does his best to protect them. 24’s creators portray the U.N. representative at the school as a reprehensible person, foolishly optimistic about the dangers of the rebels and only interested in saving himself. In the Washington D.C. scenes John Voight is revealed to be the new villain, sending arms to the rebels secretly and endangering the younger brother of the woman just being sworn in as the new president.
The featurettes are quite worth viewing. The one on child soldiers was unnerving – there are around 250,000 of them around the world today! While typical 24 material, the special didn’t have quite the adrenaline rush of some of the previous seasons, and there was little use of the split screens. I think I’ve gotten my 24 monkey off my back.
– John Sunier