Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (1998 TV Pilot)

"Guys like you tend to stick to the bowl no matter how many times you flush!"

I'm stuck at home with a sprained ankle and, alas, am reduced to watching this. Yes, this was indeed made as a TV pilot in 1998, probably the last of the, er, less than stellar Marvel films and TV pilots that were made before it all took off with Blade and X-Men. We shall never see it's like again. I think.

The casting of David Hasselhoff says it all; they're going for the same camp feel of the legendary 1960s Batman series but not pulling it off; instead we have a bog standard, cliche-ridden 90 minutes of action adventure. We have the hero being grudgingly coaxed out of retirement. We have a splendidly over-the -top baddie in Sandra Hess as Andrea Von Strucker, for some reason conflated with Viper, who appears to have an orgasm at one point while shooting a bloke dead. We have conflicts with pen-pushing superiors, we have James Bond gadgets, we have an android duplicate of Fury being used for the predictable plot function of making us think that Fury is dead. We have a poisoned hero going into action to save his life. And, yes, we have Andrea Von Strucker threatening to unleash a deadly virus over Manhattan in return for "one billion dollars". This in a pilot made after the release of Austin Powers.

Thing is, though, the script isn't actually that bad. With better actors and a bigger budget (the helicarrier, in particular, is rubbish, and the whole thing looks like an episode of Knight Rider), the same script could have sparkled. The self-consciously camp directorial style, especially, fails utterly to serve the script.

Hasselhoff himself is exactly as arse-clenchingly embarrassing as you might expect, but everything else sets a tone to patch. We have a character, Alexander Pierce, who seems to be modelled on Hugh Grant and looks utterly implausible as a SHIELD agent. And why, for crying out loud, does Andrea choose to kill Fury by kissing him with poisoned lipstick instead of, you know, shooting him?

This is, basically, rubbish, and should be watched for ironic purposes only. You have been warned...!

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