Picks and Pans Review: Airwolf
But just because an adventure show stars a helicopter, that doesn't mean it's all bad—even if the chopper is CIA-built and supersonic with "14 firepower options," including nuke-tipped missiles. Adventure shows don't have to be as moronic as The A-Team, as brutal as The Master, as morally bankrupt as Blue Thunder or as predictable as Hart to Hart. Airwolf isn't. In fact, it's a wonderful show. Jan-Michael Vincent plays Stringfellow Hawk, an ace pilot turned recluse, who lives in a log cabin and serenades a bald eagle with his cello. Weird, sure, but scenic. And Ernest Borgnine, a treasured television antique, plays String's pilot pal. These are characters who have depth and feelings. The lines they read are, for once, above the Romper Room comprehension level. And the plots are interesting and intelligent enough to fill an hour: The CIA hired String to steal its superchopper back from Libya's Muammar Qaddafi, but String held on to it as ransom to force the U.S. to search for his brother, a Vietnam MIA. While he waits, String flies an occasional mission for the CIA. But he only does it if the cause is good, and he only shoots people if he has to. Unlike the other adventure shows, this one doesn't treat machine guns as if they're harmless Frisbees with firepower. Some Saturday night, just once, forget about The Love Boat and give Air-wolf a shot.
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