24: I’ll Take That Pardon in Writing…

24

So there was 24 breaking out one of its all-time classic tropes, the letter of immunity from the president, last night. By now, fans can see it coming. As soon as Sergei Bazhaev (Jurgen Prochnow) said he would cooperate, I knew he would ask for full immunity. In writing. At least by now Jack (Kiefer Sutherland) knows to tell the president ahead of time, “He’s gonna want that in writing.” I am sure that the Justice Department in the 24 universe now has a form handy for just such a circumstance. They probably call it a “Bauer.” The night’s best laugh line came when Jack handed Bazhaev the cell and said, “The president of the United States wants to talk to you.”

It was fun watching Jack get tortured by that Russian thug. “Fun?” you say? Yes, fun, because the sequence so perfectly aped a similar scene in the movie Lethal Weapon (1987). You may recall that a character called Mr. Endo tortured Riggs (Mel Gibson) with a car battery while he was suspended from a pipe. Riggs ended up strangling Endo (Al Leong, also recognizable in a similar role in 1988’s Die Hard) with his legs while still dangling from the pipe. Here, Jack turned the electricity against the Russian, and then freed himself from the pipe in time to choke out the thug – but Jack’s hands and his feet were tied the whole time. Take that, Mel Gibson. Who’s a lethal weapon now? Jack is a living weapon. And bravo to Sutherland for doing a lot of that pipe stuntwork himself. (Or else that was damn clever camerawork.)
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