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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

'Danger 5' S1 DVD: Hilarious WWII Action Films Satire


[EDITOR'S NOTE: This Region 4 DVD set will not play in a standard North American DVD player. It requires a (well worth buying) Region-Free player.

Australian-based DVD producer/distributor Madman Entertainment outdoes itself with the Season One and Season Two DVD sets of the hilariously bizarre WWII action film satire "Danger 5." As the S1 promotional materials prominently advertise, the series is "set in a bizarre 1960s inspired version of World War II." The second season, which Unreal TV will review in August 2015, moves the action ahead roughly 20 years.

The titular international commando group in "Danger" consists of five inglorious basterds whose primary mission is to kill Hitler, who conveniently places himself in the line of fire in each episode. An unintentionally amusing aspect of this is that every member of the team looks incredibly Australian.

The roster consists of Jackson the slightly doughy American, Ilsa the busty Russian, Tucker the particularly hunky (and often shirtless) Australian, Claire the overall reserved Brit., and Frenchman Pierre. The colonel who commands them aptly is an eagle/human hybrid.

The wonderfully cheesy visuals alone make "Danger" a must-see. Every exterior and vehicle clearly is a model, and the terrifically bizarre creatures borrow from minimal budget horror and Japanese monster movies. A shark with legs is a personal favorite.

All of this will evoke thoughts of "The Thunderbirds," the '60s "Bartman" series, "The Venture Bros," "Scooby-Doo," and local cable station productions.

Each episode begins with allied forces encountering a nefarious scheme by Hitler or one of his high-ranking officials, who include Rommel and Mengele. This then prompts calling the "Danger" team into action with the dual objectives of neutralizing the threat and killing Hitler.

The fun starts with a Nazi plot to steal monuments in Allied countries with the objective of creating a massive tribute to Hitler. The second episode, which wonderfully channels the cheaply produced live-action Sid and Mary Krofft Saturday morning show "The Land of the Lost," has the Nazis using mind control to create an army of dinosaur soldiers.

Other equally terrific plots has Hitler and his gang using a virus to transform Allied soldiers into Nazis and separately creating the best anime-style live-action robots this side of "The Power Rangers."

S1 ends on a particularly strong note by marooning (it had to be said) the quintet in the undersea kingdom of Atlantis. Highlights include pitting the group against their doppelgangers in one of the most unsentimental encounters ever of that type, a particularly brutal encounter with Hitler, and an epic season-ending battle that perfectly illustrates the spirit of the series.

Madman awesomely includes the five-part web series "The Diamond Girls" that gives birth to "Danger." It is less awesome that pure carelessness precluded watching these episodes before writing this review.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Danger" is welcome to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.