As regular readers of this site probably know, I’m a fan of “24” and although I’ve seen most of the show, one of the things that I hadn’t seen for quite a while was “24: Redemption”. Well, I’ve seen it now and I thought that I’d offer a few thoughts about it.
Before I go any further, I should probably point out that I watched the “standard” DVD edition of “24: Redemption” instead of the extended “Director’s Cut” version, as such this is only a review of this particular version.
“24: Redemption” is kind of a strange thing since it was originally shown in 2008 and, as a result of the Writer’s Strike, it’s an 83-minute episode that took the place of the series that Fox was originally planning to film that year. Yes, not even Jack Bauer can fully escape the wrath of Hollywood writers.
Chronologically, this episode fits between seasons six and seven of the show. Jack Bauer is still on the run and has made his way to the fictional African country of Sangala, he’s staying with an ex-special forces soldier called Benton who runs a school/orphanage.
A member of the US Govt has managed to track Jack Bauer down and serves him a subpoena but, before Jack Bauer can decide what to do, the camp is ambushed by the local rebels who want to use the orphans as child soldiers for a military coup of some kind. It is, of course, up to Bauer and Benton to protect them and get them to safety.
Whilst all of this is going on, President-elect Taylor is preparing for her inauguration. However, her son is approached by an old friend who has uncovered evidence of a conspiracy of some kind.
“24: Redemption” is basically just two episodes of “24” that have been fused together, this is both a good thing and a bad thing. The good elements of this is that the episode feels a lot more like a TV show episode than a Hollywood movie.
Yes, there’s plenty of action and drama, but the pacing is mostly a lot more like something that you’d see in a TV show. However, the pace only really starts to pick up near the end of the episode and you’re left with the feeling you get when you watch the first half of a two-part episode and suddenly realise that there isn’t going to be enough time to resolve the plot by the end of the episode.
Plus, since the creators of the episode assume that you know all of the characters and the backstory, there isn’t too much time spent catching up – which means that there’s more time for the main story. Even so, this episode still sort of just about stands on it’s own two feet. Just about.
However, one of the things that makes “24” so great is the fact that, because it’s a TV show, it can tell complex thriller novel-style stories over the space of an entire season. Since this episode only has one and a half hours to work with, don’t go into it expecting the same level of plot complexity.
This is especially annoying since the sub-plot involving the President’s son seems like the beginning of a really interesting storyline. But, it’s just that – the beginning. Although this storyline is kind of resolved during season seven of the show, it’s been a while since I’ve watched that and I couldn’t quite remember every plot detail. So, if you watch “24: Redemption”, you’re going to end up feeling either intrigued or unsatisfied.
The main plot is fairly ok though. However, although it’s thankfully more like a TV show episode than a movie, the plot is basically just your standard action movie plot. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still thrilling and dramatic, but it’s a little bit more simple than what you’d expect from “24”.
All in all, “24: Redemption” is a rather fun episode of the show. It’s dramatic and thrilling, but the writer’s strike really took it’s toll on the show. “24” works best when it can tell long and complex stories, but this episode is still just about an ok episode of the show. It’s fairly entertaining and it can be found on DVD very cheaply second-hand, still don’t go into it with high expectations.
If I had to give it a rating out of five, it would get a three.