Release Date: 21/03/2012
Price: $29.95 Available Here
Danger 5 is a short action comedy series of Australian origin, produced by a modest production studio called Dinosaur and it was picked up for broadcast by Australian broadcasting company, SBS. The show aired on the SBS One channel where it premiered in February 2012.
Danger 5 is a 1960s style spy comedy and takes place in a fictional World War II setting, and as such has the war and political undertones that characterised such comedies. If you’ve seen spy comedies like Get Smart, then Danger 5’s production and delivery will feel familiar. Danger 5 is a bit of homage to that era of comedy, but adds a whole lot of crazy to the mix.
With its World War II setting, Adolf Hitler and the Nazi forces obviously play a big role as the main antagonists, and there was a bit of controversy surrounding that in the Australian press as it seemed to them that the series was exploiting the atrocities of World War II just for entertainment. Rest assured Danger 5 is all in good fun. Apart from referencing some historical figures, it makes absolutely no explicit or even implicit mention, reference, or depiction of the actual historic events that transpired during the World War II. It’s a purely fictitious take and takes place in a whole different time period and setting.
This is a show that doesn’t take itself seriously, doesn’t try to make a statement, and you as viewers just need to turn your brain off and have fun with it. Now that I got that out of the way, on with the review!
Danger 5 takes place in a rather unique 1960s inspired version of World War II, Adolf Hitler (played by Carmine Russo) and his Nazi army are the root of all things evil and diabolical. The world is in danger…and now five brave international spies, together known as the Danger 5, must work together to put a stop to Hitler’s evil schemes and above everything else…kill him.
The Danger 5 team is made up of Tucker (played by Sean James Murphy) who is a rather uptight and serious Australian, Pierre (played by Aldo Mignone) is your stereotypical smooth talking European with the exotic accent, Ilsa (played by Natasa Ristic) is a cold and seductive Russian woman who speaks only in her native language but even so she and her English speaking comrades seem to have no trouble understanding each other, then you have the laid back and rugged American spy Jackson (played by David Ashby), and finally there is a British woman named Claire (played by Amanda Simons) who much like Tucker is serious and uptight. Oh…and their commander is a talking Eagle…yup.
The main series has five episodes, each more hilariously ridiculous than the next. Each episode sees the team taking Hitler and his troops head on while also putting a stop to whatever evil scheme is brewing. The team takes on all sorts of adversaries, from Nazi dinosaur soldiers to Nazi cyborgs. The team has to deal with really odd schemes such as one where there is a sexually transmitted disease of some sort that transforms people into blonde sex craved Germans, and one where Hitler attempts to rob all the national monuments of the world. It’s absolutely over the top and ridiculous, and the reason why it’s just so entertaining.
The writing and dialogue is deliberately corny, cheesy, and awful, but all in a very good way. The show never takes itself seriously, and even when it tries to be serious you can expect something hilariously lame and awkward to ruin the moment. The show is loaded with running jokes, for example, whenever someone dies in the arms of Pierre they always use their final breath to share a cocktail recipe, and whenever Hitler makes his escape there always seems to be a window for him to jump right out of, and also the fictional advertisement that plays at the end of each episode.
There are also a fair share of racist jokes, cheesy puns, and just really lame jokes that are akin to the style of humour of 1960s comedy, but all in a really good way. It’s all just so very random, surreal, and strange, such as this one scene where a woman walks inside a man’s moustache or one where everyone fires bullets with imaginary guns…it gets plenty weird like that.
The characters do a good job as they’re a fun bunch and are well acted. The main characters have a good dynamic between them as they are often butting heads with each other and have their share of romantic tension. They behave in an extremely stereotypical fashion but still end up being charming, Ilsa in particular is a really interesting character in terms of the way she treats her team and reacts to situations, and Pierre serves as that charming comic relief with the thick accent and upbeat attitude.
It’s fun for what it is, and as lame and weird as things get, you can’t help but just smile at how ridiculous and over the top everything is. It’s not trying to be serious, and as such, shouldn’t be taken that way.
Visuals and Audio:
In terms of production values, Danger 5 is one of those cases where it’s so downright awful that it’s absolutely awesome. The production values are deliberately low budget as the special effects are akin to what was present in productions from the 1950s and 1960s, using toy-like props and really cheap and simple costumes.
It’s hard to believe that this show was made in 2011 because you could very easily convince someone that this show originally aired during the 1960s as it’s just really that authentic. It’s hard not be impressed by how well they’ve replicated the production style of the old school spy action genre, and even the music and audio quality is similar to what you would expect from that era. The weirdest thing that this show does that it has some actors portraying multiple characters, which is a pretty cool touch that only an offbeat show such as this can get away with.
In terms of extras, there are the usual trailers and such, but the coolest one being this extra episode that was originally released on Youtube in five parts. This episode serves as a prequel of sorts, showing how the Danger 5 team was formed and how they handled their first mission where they go up against an army of female Nazi soldiers covered in diamond.
Danger 5 is what it is, a non-serious and extremely retro spy action comedy that is loaded with the most generic and yet most uniquely unusual sense of humour. It’s hard not to appreciate what the show is setting out to do and how it’s so down to earth in its delivery. Danger 5 succeeds well at what it’s meant to do and if you’re looking for a comedy that breaks the mold and is totally out of this world, then give Danger 5 a chance, but please keep turn off your sense of logic and reason before you do.
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