MacGyver: Toothpick – Stop the Train, I Want to Get Off (Review)


Lucas Till as MacGyver

Some things are better left alone. For instance,  sleeping dogs, hornet’s nests and popular ’80’s television shows, should remain untouched. MacGyver falls firmly in this category. This remake, or re-imagining, is flat and lacks that sappy ’80’s feeling that made the first series work so well.

It also goes without saying that it also lacks Richard Dean Anderson. The main issue with remaking the action/adventure shows so popular back then is the change of cast.

For example,  The A Team (2010) film was good fun and was, to an extent, enjoyable but it was not a patch on the original television series. Different actors meant no Dwight Shultz, Mr. T,  or Dirk Benedict and no one could replace the “I’m in on the joke” presence of George Peppard. The TV  show worked because  of its cast, not in spite of it.

The new MacGyver may have had a better chance at surviving if perhaps Anderson had the odd cameo as the new chap’s father. Although the original Angus MacGyver has pretty much removed himself from the business for personal reasons.

As stated before,  the show feels a tad too…juvenile. This may come from not updating the show’s format, or from sticking too much to the old MacGyver template.

What worked in the 1980’s clearly feels a tad too simplistic for 2016. When considering the success of Burn Notice (2007 – 2013) there is room for these type of shows. However this retreading of old ground is not working.

This should have been a win for CBS. MacGyver was popular back in the day. The premise of an action hero who refused to carry a gun and made all sorts of things “on the fly” to defeat the villain or get out of a jam was popular with many more people than just Selma and Patty from The Simpsons.

It is not overly clear just why this new MacGyver is not hitting the mark. Till is fine as Angus and Eads is impressive as the muscle/comic relief. Sandrine Holt is on point as the strong and capable boss who kicks butt in the field and even Mays, with that horrific hairdo does well.

So the problem is not the cast so much as the storyline and a refusal to move forward with the concept. It has to be the failure to adjust the template to fit a more sophisticated audience.

This week’s episode took place mostly on a train. A German high speed train heading toward Frankfurt.  Just about every cliche in the book was pulled out for this episode. After the quick “kiss” to avoid detection by the baddies, it was “stop the train, I want to get off.”

Perhaps this is the other issue with the show, how much more unexpected it would have been, or different, to have Riley put a smacker on Katarina. Although to be fair the last time that device was used successfully in any form was the 2005 buddy film Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

By the end of this episode the female in peril is saved and everyone has bonded a bit more.  Angus steps back from his search for Nikki, although he does state that he has not given up.

MacGyver  is just missing the wow factor and may never get there.  Watching the episode for an hour leaves the viewer wishing for more. Not more of the episode but more from the episode.

The series airs Fridays on CBS. Tune in and see what you think, could it do better or are we expecting too much.

Cast:

Guest starring Kasha Kropinski as Katarina Wagner and Jarreth J. Merz as Eric Wexler. 

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, http://MikesFilmTalk.com Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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