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DVD Review: Hawaii Five-0 (2010) – The First Season

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A few years ago, when studio heads were contemplating remaking the original Hawaii Five-O series into a feature film, one name that popped out of their mouths in an attempt to market such a venture was that of Quentin Tarantino. Any hope they may have had in bringing the trendsetting filmmaker most members of Generations X and Y idolize without reservation, however, were quickly quashed once Mr. Tarantino himself flat-out said he thought the old TV series with Jack Lord sucked (blasphemer!) and that he didn’t even like Hawaii to boot.

Now, while I can’t quite wrap my head around why anyone would have a deal of contempt for a lush, tropical state like Hawaii over a mostly autonomous and altogether dusty region of, say, Utah, I could understand why he wouldn’t want to surf to a beat like that: it’s not his style, plain and simple. So, the idea of turning Hawaii Five-O into a movie was scrapped (thankfully), only to have the franchise rebooted entirely into a new TV series for the 2010/2011 television season.

Tarantino’s disregard to the original iconic police show in-general notwithstanding (though it has been subsequently recorded in the Annals of Useless Trivia across the Interweb), I would be curious to know how he would compare Hawaii Five-0 (yes, with a “zero”) to Hawaii Five-O. I also have to wonder how many conniption fits Jack Lord would have displayed from simply watching the pilot of this series alone.

Of course, a pilot can be deceiving. When I reviewed this series’ premiere episode in 2010, I found it to be rather appealing. Since then, however, I’ve laid off the booze considerably, so when I tried watching Hawaii Five-0 a year later, I couldn’t help but cringe and shake my head every time Scott Caan’s Danny “Danno” Williams opened his mouth or Alex O’Loughlin’s incarnation of Steve McGarrett attempted to emote. Frankly, these two are downright awful — and their witty banter back and forth is nauseating to say the least.

Daniel Dae Kim (as Chin Ho Kelly) is without a doubt the best of the major cast members here, though his techy-savvy character at times borders on being stereotype. His age also prevents me from taking him as earnestly as I would have an older actor (exactly why didn’t they cast and older leads?). My feelings of contempt on that front, however, are nowhere near as bad as the casting of Grace Park as Kono, who not only fills that “missing female star” quotient absent in the original series, but also suggests that Jack Lord’s show was better off without a woman.

It’s also weird that Kono has gone from being a large man to a petite girl. But, of course, that’s just another fine example of how today’s overly touchy sense of political correctness and equality can turn a potentially-good television series into a laff riot.

CBS brings Hawaii Five-0 (2010): The First Season to DVD in a 6-Disc set that houses all 24 episodes, presented in anamorphic 1.78:1 widescreen and with 5.1 English audio. The set also includes a number of bonus materials, such as Behind-the-Scenes and Making-Of featurettes, audio commentaries, deleted scenes, gag ree etc. A Blu-ray release of this season appeared briefly in Best Buy stores (and is now hard-to-find), but has yet to surface on the mainstream market.

Looking at Hawaii Five-0 now, I see it as a poorly-written, badly-acted hybrid of just about every other cop show on the air these days. The humor is too cutesy and forced for my taste, and the producers tend to overcompensate for their lack of originality by injecting the odd explosion or two — which, thanks to the wonders of CGI, look completely unnatural and unconvincing. In short: I laughed. A lot. In a way, this show’s pretentiously intentional seriousness is so funny that it results in some grand unintentional comedy.

Hence, I am forced to rescind my previous statement that the show was rather good, and resubmit Hawaii Five-0 under the “Guilty Pleasure” category. And it is for that reason alone that I would recommend it to people who enjoy laughing at all of the wrong things.

If you’re a devout fan of the original show, however, you might want to avoid it altogether.

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About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the disgruntled alter-ego of a thirtysomething lad from Northern California who has watched so many weird movies since the tender age of 3 that a conventional life is out of the question. He currently lives in Chico, CA with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.