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Jungle fever

A group of men in uniform track through a jungle, and soon come across some wooden boxes that appear to have been recently dug out of the ground. Suddenly, from out of the jungle burst more men, who gun down the first bunch before going to investigate the boxes themselves. It's clear that this second group of people know what's inside, and soon enough so do we. Weapons. The second group of men look greatly smug. The first group, not so much.

And then we're off back to Europe, where Sharron is just leaving a night club. Her car is hemmed in by several others, and a pair of men offer to help her move it. She watches them struggle to push the car out of its trapped position, then goes around to the other side, and shifts it herself, one-handed. This results in both of her would-be helpers landing face down in a puddle, where she leaves them, after giggling at their predicament. You know, sometimes I do have to wonder what these opening scenes are supposed to tell us about the Champions. Anyway, soon enough we're all off to Rangoon, where there is a gun-runner to be apprehended. Richard and Sharron are playing at tourists, whilst Craig has hung a large chunk of bait around his neck, and is going to go and offer himself to the local underworld. Business as usual, then. It's a fairly simplistic plot, this one, though no less enjoyable for that. Basically there's a shipment of arms to be chased, the Champions chase it, it gets away, and they chase it again. Still, there's a fair bit of fun to be had in the meantime. Also, there's an awful lot of extras with a strangely uniform manner of death. Half of the cast are shot dead at some point, and each one of them throws their arms up in the air just before they die. Possibly it's semaphore? Either way, it pretty soon starts to look a little odd. And then, to add to the fun, we have the world's most convincing safari. And a Burmese Matthew Waterhouse. It's an episode filled with humour in unexpected places.


They really, truly are in the jungle. Honest.


The bad guys. I'm quite sure that the one in the back has shot the bloke in front of him at least half a dozen times by this point, but so long as he doesn't notice, I suppose it doesn't matter.


This man wins the award for Best Corpse. He's splendidly still whilst he gets trampled all over. Possibly he is actually dead?


Sharron, having a night out. She's very pretty, but on the quiet is also apparently a bit of a bitch.


A gun-runner. With a pipe. I think that means that he's really, really evil.


Oh dear. This fellow's a police captain, but he's probably the least convincing one ever. He must have gone to the same acting school as Matthew Waterhouse*, it's the only explanation. Surely there can't be two people who independently developed that bizarre acting style?!

*Adric from Doctor Who for the uninitiated. You lucky people.

Horrendously stiff performance aside, he has a worrying attachment to that swagger stick, and a marked fondness for swishing it at Craig.


Who has wisely chosen to keep his distance.


Richard and Sharron. Note Richard's faultless ‘tourist' cover.


A splendidly oily bad guy, just prior to fixing Craig up with a chopping block to obligingly put his neck on.


Craig is most definitely in Rangoon here.


So is the bloke tailing him. They have really big cars in Rangoon, clearly.


A bit part player demonstrates the episode's uniform death dance. This bloke was part of the chain fixing up the transportation of a shipment of weapons by our pipe-smoking gun-runner. Pipe-smoking gun-runner does not like to share profits.


Richard has breakfast. For some reason this involves orange juice served in a glass beaker from a chemistry set, and marmalade in the weirdest jar ever.


Sharron and her hideous bathrobe apparently do not approve of breakfast. It's either that or she's experiencing some strange feelings of solidarity with the marmalade and the oranges.

Whilst Richard and Sharron battle with breakfast, Craig arranges to meet the local gun-runner. The local gun-runner, however, does not want to meet him, and with the aid of a minion, sets Craig up for a nasty accident. I'm not sure if it's supposed to be fatal or not, although it certainly looks like it should be for a normal man. They don't seem remotely surprised when it doesn't kill him, though. Either way, they bung him in the cellar and depart to do various gun-running things. Alerted to the by now inevitable Craig-peril by the power of Championsvision, Richard and Sharron hurtle to the rescue, although Craig manages to rescue himself before they get there. Teaming up once again, they report what they've discovered to Tremayne, who promises that the outgoing shipment of arms will be stopped. The gun-runner is smarter than they've given him credit for, however, and has disguised his plane under a coat of paint. Consequently it's not recognised until it's already taking off, when a sudden downpour washes away part of its disguise. The Champions are despatched once again to follow the trail, this time heading for Africa. It gets about a bit, does this episode.


A gun-running minion hovers in the background whilst Craig meets with the boss.


Oh noes!


Craig seems remarkably smug for a man just about to get a large amount of somebody's cargo dropped on his head. Whither the super instincts now, Craig?! Stop smirking, start looking.


Ouch. As a large wooden crate is dropped on Craig's head, back at the hotel, Richard and Sharron are immediately alerted.


They're aware that whatever has happened has happened at a warehouse, but in a town with a large import/export industry, that's not really all that much of a clue. They prepare to dash to the rescue. Just as soon as they've figured out where to dash to.


I only hope that Craig appreciates the sacrifice.


Richard is once again spectacularly disguised as a tourist.


Craig isn't. Given time, he wakes up, and with a nifty bit of gymnastics, and a handy bit of pipe, manages to vault himself up through the trapdoor he was dumped through earlier.


He arrives rather suddenly in the warehouse above, just as Sharron turns up looking for him. This is a nice scene, continuing with Richard's enthusiastic efforts at Craig-liberating.


Having found a likely looking locked door, he merrily smashes his way through it.


Only to find that he's rather too late, and the bird has already flown. Craig finds this splendidly entertaining.

I do like the interplay between the Champions. They're so good together as a unit.


Back in Geneva, Tremayne hears that the gun-running plane has snuck through the whatever-the-aeroplane-equivalent-of-a-roadblock-is, and directs his team to decamp to Africa, sharpish.


Yes, they are in Africa. They really, really are. See, there are giraffes, and that proves it.


For some reason, there's also the exact same plane crash that was in "Reply Box No. 666".

Our pipe-smoking gun-runner was the only survivor of the plane crash, and now, stripped of his minions, he has just his weapons, his exciting head bandage, and a smattering of new local friends to his name. Mind you, given the meaningful looks he kept casting his various minions whilst they were drinking coffee on the plane, I do rather get the impression that he killed them, and crashed the plane on purpose. Hell of a way to keep all the profits for yourself, I know, but that is what it looked like. Anyway, he seems remarkably happy about being stranded in Africa, and greets the Champions with genuine charm. He tells them that they'll have to stay with him until his various deals are made, but they decline his offer of hospitality, and opt to blow up his arms stash instead - whereupon he, in a quite insane bid to prevent its destruction, obligingly blows himself up as well. Yet another clean sweep of bad guys, then. This show has a bigger body count than a slasher movie.


One pipe-smoking gun-runner, sans pipe. He does have a very fetching bandage instead, though, so it's not like he's really lost anything.


He invites the Champions to join his camp. Murdering psychopath or not, he's really rather a good host. Offering Sharron a tent, he leaves the boys to sit together under the tropical moon, enjoying the firelight.




Not that this results in them staring into each other's eyes at all.


Later in the evening, as the camp quietens down, they plan their escape, jumping the guards, and dashing off into the wholly convincing jungle.


Reunited, they strike out in search of the arms stash.


I love this scene. Having found the shed where the arms are being stored, Richard ponders the barred window, then turns around to find a suitable branch to use as a lever.


Only to turn around and find that Craig has already dealt with the bars. Richard does so like to think things through first. Craig... doesn't.


Nearby, Sharron... I don't know. Sits around and does something.


Using the powder from inside numerous stored bullets, the boys lay a trail out of the shed, then light it. And, for really quite some time, completely fail to stand well back.


Craig is in no way posing with that gun.


Eventually, it dawns upon them that standing right next to the building that's about to go boom possibly isn't the greatest of ideas. They leave. Pipe-smoking gun-running man, however, decides that this would be a really good time to go into the shed. Pipe-smoking gun-running man is, conspicuously, a loony.


Boom! Mission accomplished. And, presumably, a giant forest fire started. There will be a short interval before the next episode, whilst the Champions attempt to put right their latest environmental catastrophe. Alternatively they'll just head off back to Geneva and forget about it.

One or the other.

Next episode = the splendidly uneventful "Nutcracker".

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