’24: Redemption’ Review: the Return of Jack Bauer

After an almost two year hiatus, 24 is back, if only briefly.

In anticipation of the show’s upcoming seventh season, which debuts in January 2009, Jack Bauer and co. hit the airwaves this past Sunday night for 24: Redemption — a two-hour prequel tv movie event that takes places between the series’ sixth and seventh seasons.

Jack Bauer is back.  For lots of 24 fans, that will be enough.  Others, without giving Jack and 24: Redemption a chance, will toss it away as a typical, tired 24 story.  Even though 24 hasn’t been on FOX for nearly two years, after perusing some reviews of Redemption, it’s clear that a great many critics are still bitter over the poor outing that was 24’s season 6.  That’s fine – 24 should have to re-earn the trust of the audience.  But, what can you expect out of a two-hour TV movie like 24: Redemption?  I can’t imagine it’s much more that the 24 team has actually delivered with Redemption, a solid, workman-like tale of Jack Bauer in the fictional African nation of Sangala.  Jack Bauer is Jack Bauer in 24: Redemption – heroic, sacrificial, bad ass. If that isn’t enticement enough, you probably shouldn’t be watching 24 in the first place.

The show picks up where season six left off, and sets out on a political whirlwind through a military conflict set in in Sangala, a fictional African country.

The prequel delivers on its promise of action and political punch and sets up some intriguing plot points for season seven.

Redemption does set some nice, bouncy balls rolling for January: A vicious Sangala warlord (the Candyman himself, Tony Todd) is leading a coup funded by an American businessman-terrorist (Jon Voight). The President-elect of the United States, Allison Taylor (all hail Tony winner Cherry Jones!), has a son (Eric Lively) who may be targeted by that shady businessman. A preview for season 7 dishes up several more shocking developments, the least surprising being that Jack doesn’t squirm long in front of that subcommittee before he’s back out, exacting muscular justice. Considering 24‘s new season will roll out with a very different administration sitting in the real White House, we’ll see if Jack’s interrogation techniques feel old-school or just very outdated.

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