“Book ’em, Danno.”
For 12 years on TV, that signature line was uttered by Detective Steve McGarrett whenever he brought a criminal to justice on the original “Hawaii Five-0” series that aired on CBS from 1968 to 1980. Now McGarrett and company are back, reimagined and reinvented by Hollywood’s newest “Dream Team,” screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (along with “Underworld” director Len Wiseman) for a new era in a brand-new, updated “Five-0” series which premiered on CBS this past Monday night. Considering that this is an era in Hollywood where all the classics (TV shows and movies alike) are being remade or rebooted, the big question is: Does this new “Five-0” live up to the spirit of the original series?
But before we get into that, let’s take a look inside the revamped “Five-0” as opposed to the original. The premise here is that McGarrett (played by Alex O’Loughlin), an ex Navy-SEAL, returns to Hawaii searching for his father’s murderer when he is recruited by the Governor of Hawaii to lead an elite police task force that specializes in pursuing some of the Aloha State’s worst criminals.
“Your rules, my backing, no red tape,” the Governor (Jean Smart) tells McGarrett. Every cop’s dream.
McGarrett is joined by Danny “Danno” Williams (Scott Caan, James’ son), here portrayed as a cynical, by-the-book divorcee detective whose methods sometimes clashes with McGarrett’s more cowboyish methods. Also along for the ride is Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae-Kim of “Lost,” which ironically was also filmed in Hawaii), an ex-cop wrongly accused of taking bribes but is persuaded by McGarrett to return to the force. Rounding out the team is Chin’s sexy cousin, Kono (played by “Battlestar Galactica’s” Grace Park), a rookie detective who surfs and packs a mean right hook to boot.
You can tell right away that this cast has pretty good chemistry, most notably the “buddy-cop” relationship between this generation’s McGarrett and Danno, which is somewhat reminiscent of Riggs and Murtaugh, the cops made famous by Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in the “Lethal Weapon” series.
The chemistry between the cast as well as the in-your-face action makes this seem like more of a big-budget movie instead of a one-hour TV series, let alone one that’s a reboot of a classic TV series. Not that it’s a bad thing. Personally, I do believe that this series offers a shot of adrenaline that has been sorely lacking for a genre that has been suffering from endless procedural cop shows (do we really need another “Law and Order” series, anyway?).
However, there are some elements from the original that remain intact, most notably the intro. “Five-0” fans will be happy to know that the iconic theme music is still intact, which was a wise move by Orci and Kurtzman. After all, it isn’t “Hawaii Five-0” without it. And some elements of the original intro (including O’Loughlin channeling Jack Lord’s famous “McGarrett dramatic stare” and the close-up of the police car light) are also present.
In short, this is not your father’s “Hawaii Five-0,” but it’s definitely way better than many of the procedural cop shows that are on the air right now. So if you want action on Monday nights, I’ve got three words for you: “Book ’em, Danno.”