Created by Donald P. Bellisario
Starring Jan-Michael Vincent, Ernest Borgnine, Alex Cord, Deborah Pratt
- All twelve first season episodes (includes the two-part pilot)
Released by: Universal.
Anamorphic: N/A; episodes appear in their original 1.33:1 format.
My Advice: If you’re a fan, buy it.
On one hand, there’s nothing about this series I could say that Ernie Cline hasn’t said better. But I’ll do my best. Airwolf is an attack helicopter that kicks a tremendous amount of ass. Of course, the government–and who else would have paid for such a thing–screwed up when they asked Stringfellow Hawke (Vincent) to unnab Airwolf from the guy who nabbed it and hightailed to Libya. Rather than bring it back, Hawke hangs onto it, running missions for the CIA, and won’t give it back until they provide concrete info about Hawke’s brother, St. John, who’s been missing since Vietnam.
[ad#longpost]When you were a kid growing up in the 80s, there was plenty of TV aimed your direction. To dig on cars, you had Knight Rider. To dig on motorcycles you had Streethawk. To dig on helicopters, though, you had this series, since Blue Thunder was based on a movie that you were too young to be able to watch, so it just didn’t work as well, you know? Granted, as many people who learned I was reviewing this have pointed out, it’s repetition. Airwolf is called in to a mission or its mission is simply to avoid falling into the wrong hands, and there’s sometimes a carrot dangled about the missing St. John, then there’s the international villain of the week, followed by a good dose of footage of Airwolf flying around and kicking ass. That’s the long and short of it.
But there was such comfort in what passed for international espionage thrills in the cheesy 80s. Clancy hadn’t broken the genre wide open so we didn’t realize, at our young ages, that there was such a thing as gouda. The cast is good at working with what they have on their plate: Vincent plays the brooding protagonist well enough, as does Borgnine as the joking sidekick/mentor. Alex Cord comes off well as a TV spook, even though he’s in all white a lot.
Sadly, the episodes are all you get on here. The major cast members and creator Bellisario are all still around, so even a ten minute slap and dash retrospective would have been nice, but no dice, apparently. In the mad dash to put as much TV out on DVD as possible before whatever next format takes over, I guess fans should just be happy enough to have the episodes on disc.
And that’s who should buy this: if you’re a hardcore fan, plonk down the money. But if you just want to revisit the past, give it a rental.