Guns get all the best lines in this bloke- fest

The Unit 10.55pm, Seven

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

FANS of the com­puter game genre known as the first- per­son shooter will settle down com­fort­ably with Seven’s late- evening of­fer­ing, The Unit .

It’s big men with big guns and big am­bi­tions on what is a well- worn television trail in the hunt for ter­ror­ists. The premise is as sim­plis­tic as a Ge­orge W. Bush me­dia con­fer­ence on in­ter­na­tional diplo­macy: there are some bad men out there and we’re gonna get ’ em.

The video game com­par­i­son is apt. In the pix­i­lated world where the hero can wade into a room­ful of men bran­dish­ing ma­chine­guns and dis­patch them with nary a scratch and plenty of ammo left in his lone pis­tol, the stars of The Unit would shine.

Den­nis Hays­bert ( 24 ) is Jonas Blane, the head of an elite di­vi­sion of the US armed forces, the Rangers, on the hunt for a ter­ror cell with a side­line in the heroin trade.

The episode opens with the search for liver trans­plant pa­tient Gen­eral John Smith, fi­nally tracked down to a hospi­tal in a flooded re­gion. When the unit ar­rives, you can al­most see the di­rec­tor toy­ing with turn­ing the hospi­tal cor­ri­dors into a scene straight from Doom, but he tem­pers his en­thu­si­asm to a guns- drawn foray into the man’s hospi­tal room: ‘‘ US State De­part­ment, diplo­matic se­cu­rity,’’ barks Blane, neatly cir­cum­vent­ing a gun bat­tle with the gen­eral’s armed guards that would prob­a­bly have re­sulted in more blood­shed and ca­su­al­ties. Well, at least they were in a hospi­tal.

If The Unit were Get Smart we’d be treated to Agent 86 for­ever mum­bling ‘‘ missed him by that much’’. For that is the se­cret to sus­tain­ing this video game for the bet­ter part of an hour.

Hav­ing lo­cated their man, it’s time to get him mov­ing, but there’s a big prob­lem. Just as they reef out his cen­tral line and oxy­gen sup­ply, the team finds out that a nearby river has burst its banks, their Humvee is un­der wa­ter and all the roads are blocked. ‘‘ Would you fly a chop­per into a hur­ri­cane?’’ Blane asks one of his men. ‘‘ For you, th­ese guys would fly gaso­line into hell,’’ he is told.

Sure, there is loy­alty, even ro­mance, but for the most part The Unit is lit­tle more than a video game, one with a slightly bet­ter script but none of the interactive at­trac­tion.

It’s a bloke’s show where the weapons have the best lines. If you like things that go bang in the night and the PlayS­ta­tion is on the fritz, The Unit might just be your poi­son.

Si­mon Can­ning

First- per­son shooter: 24 s Den­nis Hays­bert in The Unit

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