McGarrett 2.0 clearly has never watched Die Another Day

Because if he had, he wouldn’t have gone to North Korea. Or, as somebody said in Return of the Jedi, “It’s a trap!”

As you might gather, we were watching the Nov. 21 episode of Hawaii Five-0, featuring the latest confrontation between Steve McGarrett 2.0 and his arch-enemy Wo Fat 2.0. We’re not even halfway through the episode but he’s already been betrayed by Jenna Kaye (female version of the original show’s spymaster Jonathan Kaye). Lesson for viewers: If somebody says you need to go with them to North Korea, DON’T GO!

Station break. We’ll update this post. And follow us on Twitter as the episode unfolds.

UPDATE I: A friend of this blog tells us that Doug Mossman, one of the regular bit players of the original series, was in this episode.

UPDATE II: It only took 40 minutes, but we finally see special guest star Jimmy Buffett.

UPDATE III: The Korean sequences of this Five-0 episode have the same washed-out look as the Korean sequences of Die Another Day.

UPDATE IV: Wo Fat 2.0 kills off Jenna Kaye, the second female version of a “legacy character” to be whacked by Wo. The first was he woman governor in season 1 (Jean Smart), based on the intrepid Gov. Paul Jameson of the original show. Gov. Pat Jameson was working for Wo Fat, who doesn’t like loose ends. Wo 2.0 eliminates loose ends himself; the original had flunkies who did the killing.

UPDATE V: Will Neal Purvis and Robert Wade call their lawyers tomorrow morning to demand a royalty from this Five-0 episode?

UPDATE VI: How can Kono 2.0 get such great wireless connections IN THE MIDDLE OF NORTH KOREA? (NOV. 24 — watching again she may have been simply in a VERY REMOTE OF SOUTH KOREA JUST SOUTH OF THE BORDER, getting incredibly fast, real-time information about what was going on in North Korea.)

UPDATE VII: This episode would be so much more entertaining if Morton Stevens were still alive to do the score.

UPDATE VIII: McG is freed by his friends and Wo Fat is still at large. Despite the ridiculous elements (love how the Five-0 team waltzes into North Korea and Kono gets a great wireless connection), this was a pretty entertaining episode. Perhaps there should have been a “Special Thanks Lee Tamahori” credit.

UPDATE IX (Nov. 23): Mike Quigley, webmaster of a great Hawaii Five-O/Five-0 Web site has a very detailed review of this episode. He doesn’t like it, only giving it one-and-a-half stars on a scale of four stars. We recommend you check it out BY CLICKING HERE and scrolling down to episode 10 (of the second season).

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Happy 79th birthday, Robert Vaughn

How the time flies. Nov. 22 is the 79th birthday of Robert Vaughn, the original Man From U.N.C.L.E.

It was 48 years ago, while filming the U.N.C.L.E. pilot, that the crew took time off to celebrate the star’s 31st birthday when news arrived of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Not the way to celebrate one’s birthday. Hopefully for Mr. V. the succeeding birthdays have been (or in the case of this year, will be) much more pleasant.

A lot of U.N.C.L.E. fans (us especially) were disappointed to hear the latest attempt to create a film version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. crash and burn. But we’ll always have the original portrayal and that’s just fine.

Syd Cain, an appreciation

When the subject of James Bond movies comes up, Syd Cain isn’t one of the first names to come up. But Cain, who has passed away at the age of 93, is one of the unsung heroes of the long-running film series.

In Dr. No, the first 007 film, Cain had the title of art director and was essentially the deputy to production designer Ken Adam while not receiving a credit. In the John Cork-directed documentary Inside Dr. No, Cain described how he had to wade into a swamp in Jamaica and had to deal with leeches. Hardly glamorous.

When From Russia With Love went into production in 1963, the brilliant Adam was working on Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove. So it fell to Cain (this time receiving an art director credit) to be the primary designer of sets. In the documentary Inside From Russia With Love, Cain would call his set for a chess match, involving SPECTRE master planner Kronsteen, one of his favorites. The video below can’t be embedded but just glancing at it you can get a sense of Cain’s design work:

Cain returned to the series with 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, this time with the fancier title of production designer, the same title Adam had. That movie couldn’t boast of a volcano headquarters set a la Adam’s You Only Twice set of SPECTRE headquarters. But Cain’s sets for SPECTRE’s home base in Majesty’s were impressive in their own right (integrating actual locations and buildings in Switzerland).

Finally, he was the lead production designer of Roger Moore’s 007 debut, Live And Let Die (this time with the less-fancy title of supervising art director).

Ken Adam, rightfully, is hailed as the innovator of 007 art design with his seven Bond films which included the volcano set, Goldfinger’s Fort Knox sets, The Spy Who Loved Me’s Stromberg villain’s lair and others. Peter Lamont get kudos for longevity, designing sets for nine Bond movies (after also being one of Adam’s deputies), starting with 1981’s For Your Your Eyes Only and running through 2006’s Casino Royale. Also, both Adam and Lamont won Oscars for their non-007 work.

Cain didn’t get that kind of acclaim. But he was responsible for the look of two of the best Bond movies (From Russia With Love and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) regardless of his on-screen credit. And he helped Adam in a major way on the first Bond film. On top of all that, his spy entertainment work includes The New Avengers, the 1970s continuation of The Avengers television series.

So, RIP, Mr. Cain. Heroes may go unsung, but they are heroes all the same.