Recall the Pros
guys. They don't make 'em like they used
to. Take CI5 - The Professionals (TV3,
signature tune comes on, the familiar
"Wa Wa pedal" a 70s overture to the boys'-own
action we know and love. Then, wait a
minute! Who are those guys? Over there
- those two in the designer camouflage
gear mincing through the jungle with all
the authority of a couple of public school
boys who've run away on mid-term break.
And look - they have strategically placed
black smears over their faces so it looks
as though they really have been in a plane
crash/wrestle with a terrorist/safari
shoot out. Welcome to the world of CI5
- The Amateurs. How does it differ from
the original (starring the enigmatic trio
Bodie, Doyle and Cowley)? Let me count
where the original was an action-adventure
with its tongue firmly in its cheek, this
one is a comedy.
agents Sam (Colin Wells) and Chris (Kal
Weber) are joined by CI5 boss Harry (Edwood
Woodwood) and Miss Backus (Lexa Doig),
all who manage to overcome one of the
most common traps in comedy - they don't
laugh at their own lines.
God knows, that must be hard sometimes.
In fact Miss Backus manages to remain
expressionless throughout the entire programme.
Sometimes you wonder if, in fact, she
has a pulse. Then out comes a line. "Where
do you think the boys are, Harry?" And
get Woodwood He is so unruffled, he makes
the Thunderbirds look like John Campbell.
He barely moves his stiff upper lip. That's
clever, when you're doing comedy. He says
things like: "This makes no sense at all."
Who would take a role like this? Edwood
Woodwood would, because he gives the show
a bit of toff Brit cred.
second difference lies with the unlikely
lads themselves. When they escape from
a plane crash/wrestle with a terrorist/safari
shoot out, barely a bead of sweat defiles
their Ralph Lauren, crisp-linen demeanour.
Where Bodie and Doyle sauntered on to
the small screen with the casual, scruffy
cool of a couple of bad boys, Sam and
Chris look as though they've been torn
from the glossy pages of a Calvin Klein
underpants ad. They are so squeaky clean
you could almost see right through them.
Which is fortunate, as a degree of invisibility
comes in handy when you're a secret agent.
third anomaly is the "I" in CI5 stands
for intelligence. Now, when these boys
get into sticky situations, intelligence
is the one thing they are obviously lacking.
They might have the Uzis, but they don't
have what Bodie and Doyle, for all their
outdated macho-ness, oozed - charisma,
talent and sex appeal.
The Evening Post, INL 1999.
THE EVENING POST (NEW ZEALAND) 05/04/1999