REVIEW: AIRWOLF - THE COMPLETE COLLECTION - SEASONS 1-3 / CERT: 12 / DIRECTOR: VARIOUS / SCREENPLAY: VARIOUS / STARRING: JAN-MICHAEL VINCENT, ERNEST BORGNINE, ALEX CORD / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
For those of you not lucky enough to grow up in the '80s, Airwolf is a cold-war era action adventure drama centred around a high-tech vehicle and its plucky crew. Whereas its imitators such as Knight Rider and Street Hawk were essentially cop shows with a silly high-tech twiddle, Airwolf was a spy-fi thriller. Its main characters are gritty, broken people who do what they can in a world gone mad. They’re a plucky team of veteran professionals who save the world again and again, despite their wounds and differences. Stringfellow Hawke (the show’s main protagonist) is the very model of brave yet deep, whereas his comrade in arms Dom Santini provides comic relief by being Sancho Panza to Hawke’s Don Quixote. It’s a classic '80s-style pairing and a memorable one at that.
Nostalgia seekers should be aware that the show is very much of its time; the pacing is much slower than modern thrillers and the plots are quite samey in places. This should not put you off however; they simply don’t make shows like this any more. Without Airwolf, there would have been no shows like JAG or NCIS – this is the grand-daddy of modern American espionage series.
Being a complete collection, the good is lumped in with the not-so-good. That means we get dull ‘disaster movie’ clunkers like Flight #093 Is Missing mixed in with Bond-like stories such as Horn of Plenty and cop show style thriller Sweet Britches.
Airwolf: The Complete Collection: Seasons 1-3 is interestingly titled. It only contains the first three seasons of the show. There is a fourth season of Airwolf and its absence may seem a bit odd to those not in the know. However, it’s universally disliked by fans of the series; the fourth season is a low budget take on the whole thing, with a different cast and storyline, pretty much being Airwolf in name only. Given that some refuse to acknowledge its existence, it’s easy to see why the last and least season has to be acquired separately. Another thing missing from this boxed set is anything in the way of extras; we get some cast biographies, some series notes and not much else. If you’ve gotten to the end of this review without humming the theme tune then this box set might not be for you. Those of you who are, however, will love this blast from the past.
Extras: Cast bios / Notes