Review: Jack Foley
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: 45 deleted scenes that can be viewed
independently with optional commentaries or branched into episodes;
Two part documentary '24 Exposed' (96 mins); Featurette 'On the
Button - The Destruction of CTU'; Episode commentaries from cast
IT MUST have been a daunting proposition - how do you top one
of the most consistently exciting television dramas of all-time,
and retain the real-time format.
The answer? Crank it up a notch. Anyone thinking that the heroics
of CTU agent, Jack Bauer, from the first series, could not have
been surpassed, had better think again...
Season two was every bit as exciting and nerve-shredding as its
illustrious predecessor, particularly given that it reflected
the very real and continued threat facing the world today, post
Initially holed up at home, struggling to come to terms with
the death of his wife, estranged from his daughter, and no longer
a government agent, Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) is summoned back
into action by President David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert), when
a new threat is posed to national security.
The task this time? Jack has 24 hours to infiltrate a terrorist
organisation who are planning to detonate a nuclear bomb in the
city of angels.
So while Bauer runs all over the city, attempting to prevent
the unthinkable, Palmer must do battle with the politicians who
would seek to undermine and usurp him, while CTU attempts to co-ordinate
all efforts, under the provision of George Mason (Xander Berkeley).
And despite the odd lapse in logic, and a completely unwanted
sub-plot involving Jack's daughter, Kim (Elisha Cuthbert), this
is a peerless exercise in quality entertainment, complete with
23 cliffhangers and yet another humdinger of a finale.
Given the scope and limitations of working within the real-time
format, it is little wonder to find that not everything works.
Certain plot tangents seem a little desperate (such as the inclusion
of racist rednecks towards the conclusion), while the lack of
logic or common sense which packs most of Kim Bauer's sequences
consistently threaten to undermine not only Sutherland's excellent
work in the lead role, but the credibility of the series as a
Rather like watching Bruce Willis' Die Hard character, John McTiernan,
trying to thwart terrorists on behalf of his wife, twice, this
has the same effect - and it is credit to Sutherland's skills
as an actor, that he maintains an element of finesse every time
Kim calls him with yet another predicament (this time, a false
murder charge, and a deranged husband, for starters).
Kim, aside, however, the producers should be applauded for daring
to tackle such a sensitive issue as terrorism and America, and
for the way in which it doesn't flinch from painting much of the
US administration as an unscrupulous bunch of back-stabbers who
are hellbent on war with the Middle East.
It is far from jingoistic, even though the underlying theme is
one of patriotism and righteousness in the face of overwhelming
The story is given added impetus by the talents of its quality
cast, with Haysbert, especially, standing tall among them as the
President, at odds with just about everyone, including his own
conscience, and Berkeley injecting a genuinely affecting human
drama into the early episodes. It is a shame when his character
arc peters out.
And given that the programme is dealing with extremists (in all
senses of the word), it is refreshing to find that it is willing
to depict the extremes, with several torture sequences, in particular,
liable to have the more faint-hearted looking away.
The cynics among you will, no doubt, argue that Jack Bauer is
a little too invincible, and Palmer a little too earnest, but
that surely seems churlish given the entertainment value on show.
What we have here is the very best in tension-packed TV, and
enthralling, complex and suitably intelligent action-drama that
consistently fulfils its criteria to entertain.
And with returning characters, such as Palmer's ex-wife and turncoat
agent, Nina Myers, also thrown into the mix at certain points,
this is one which should have the purists baying for more in the
form of a possible third series.
Sunday nights just won't be the same without the adventures of
Jack Bauer; so why deprive yourself of the thrill of watching
it again... and again!
Related stories: Season
Season 3 review
Season 3 - Kiefer Sutherland
Season 2 - review
Season 1 - review