Thursday, November 30, 2017

Bring 'Em Back Alive (1982) TV series

Creators: Frank Cardea, George Schenck

Composers: Arthur B. Rubinstein, William David Brohn

Starring: Bruce Boxleitner, Clyde Kusatsu, Ron O'Neal, Cindy Morgan, George Cheung, Harvey Jason

More info: IMDb

Plot: Pith-helmeted Buck is a Great White Hunter who here (unlike the real one from the 1940s) works out of the Raffles Hotel bar in Singapore during the 1930s fighting all kinds of bad guys in pre-war Malaya.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again?  Nah.

When you have a hit movie as big as RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981), you're bound to have lots of copycats and inspirations.  This show probably wouldn't have happened (along with it's competition, and the better of the two shows, TALES OF THE GOLD MONKEY (1982)) without RAIDERS' popularity.  It's not a RAIDERS knock-off but it does share the jungle adventure and serial inspiration.  The series died after 17 episodes and you see how they kind of got better as they went along to the point of having a much better show if they had another season.  There are some fun moments along the way like Frank (Boxleitner) reaching for his gun to shoot someone realizing it's not in its holster.  Then there are the serial cliffhanger moments with a car running off a cliff to explode on impact only to find out after the commercial that Frank and the princess had gotten out before the nose drive, something they conveniently left out until after the commercials.  Watching this as a 13 year old when it aired in '82 was a gas.  I watched this and TALES OF THE GOLD MONKEY to get my RAIDERS fix.  I ate this stuff up.  Seeing it 35 years later doesn't much stir up those childhood feelings but it does remind me a little when shows like this were the shit in my eyes.  As an adult I can see the clumsiness of some scenes (particularly the fist fights) and how obvious some things were shot on a studio backlot but it's still fun. 


The acting is fine for what it is.  It's in the style of the serials from the 40s and 50s.  You can easily see at first glance who the good guys are and who the bad guys are.  Ron "Superfly" O'Neil is fun and he gets more adventurous as the shows progressed.  I would've liked to see his character be a quality rival for Frank where they each best each other from time to time.  The list of character actors that came in went is impressive like Walter Koenig, Mako, Jack Gwillim, Elisha Cook Jr., Sid Haig, M.C. Gainey, Richard Lynch, George Lazenby, Richard Anderson, Christopher Connelly and Robert Davi.  Now I just need to find TALES OF THE GOLD MONKEY.

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