New series ‘Human Target’ shows promise

Kristin Hirai

Photo courtesy of FOX

Star Rating: 4 out 5

With each episode as an action-packed, mini-movie thriller, there is no doubt FOX’s new series, “Human Target,” will be a big hit with men and women alike. Along with its special effects of exploding buildings, derailing trains and burning planes, this series shows great promise of becoming a new phenomenon.

Based upon the successful DC Comics comic book, “Human Target,” director and executive producer Simon West creates 40-minute escapes from reality and leaves his viewers on the edges of their seats before each commercial. West, who directed “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” and was executive producer for the popular movie “Black Hawk Down,” proves true to his reputation for presenting his audience with nothing short of an adventurous, compelling experience.

The series revolves around protagonist Christopher Chance. Chance is an unorthodox private contractor hired to protect those who fear for their lives. With each case, he must go undercover and assume false identities in order to adapt to his client’s lives for their ultimate protection. With his impressive martial arts moves and witty persona, Chance is always one step ahead of his enemy. In each episode, there are subtle hints of an unexplained past that leaves viewers curious, but will most likely unfold as the series progresses. Chance is repeatedly portrayed as a human target, willing to stop at nothing in order to protect his clients. Played by Mark Valley, best known for his role as Brad Chase on “Boston Legal,” Valley’s clean-cut good looks and James Bond-type of style definitely add eye candy appeal to the show.

In addition, there are two other key players that are featured in the series that assist Chance with all his deadly predicaments. Chi McBride, best known for being featured in movies such as “I, Robot” and “Gone in Sixty Seconds,” is Winston, the stern, serious character. He often provides comedic one-liners that make his uptight character appear more likeable. Winston serves as Chance’s business partner and holds the responsibility for screening potential clients and assigning them to Chance. Although Winston does not have the same clever humor as Chance, it is evident by their on-screen relationship that Winston is depicted as a mentor of some sort for Chance and is continuously concerned for his friend’s safety.

Lastly, the third main character is brainy, intimidating Guerrero played by Academy Award nominated actor and Northridge native Jackie Earle Haley, best known for his recent 2009 role in “Watchmen.” Although Guerrero is not a part of Winston and Chance’s business partnership, he is contracted to the two men because of his expertise and extensive digital knowledge for uncovering the background information behind each situation that Chance and Winston are trying to solve. Subtle clues in each episode leave the impression that Guerrero has had a dark past, and is perhaps trying to redeem himself by using his knowledge and connections for the greater good. Winston and Guerrero make it clear that they would rather not work together, but their opposite personalities compliment each other nicely, which in return provides much needed comedic relief to serious situations.

Although, at times, a few lines may sound a little cliché, all in all, this series has a lot of potential. It is interesting that the endings to each of the episodes appear to be completely predictable in the beginning, but are actually surprising and leave the viewers shocked with the final outcome. It may not be a sappy drama that some would prefer to watch during primetime, but the gore of the fighting scenes are kept to a minimum and is suitable for a variety of people to watch, including families. The purpose of any series is to keep the audience entertained, leaving them wanting more, and “Human Target” is a prime example of just how to accomplish that.

Series premiere Jan. 20 at 9p.m.