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Cult TV number 17: The master Episode 12
Hello everyone and welcome to the latest issue of Cult TV. I am Bryan Kristopowitz.
With only two reviews left for The master (I’m including the review you’re about to read in this countdown) I think it’s high time I announced what Cult TV will be watching next. I said a few issues ago I was looking to do either the fantasy horror show produced by Wes Craven/Robert Englund Nightmare Coffee or the sequel to the TV show Blade film trilogy, Blade: the series. And so, after much thought, not to mention hemming and hawing and so on, I decided to do Nightmare Coffee. It’s only six episodes and basically it won’t take as long as The master. And then I could do Blade: the series after that, or maybe I’ll find something else. There are lots of cool shows to check out.
I really need to finish street hawk at one point. Maybe this will arrive after Nightmare Coffee. Maybe.
I have The master to finish before all that, however. So let’s do that.
Here are the links to the reviews of the first eleven episodes of The masterjust in case you missed them for some reason (or want to read them again):
And now, on the twelfth episode of The master.
Episode 12: “The Thieves”
Director: Gordon Hessler
Screenwriter: S.S. Schweitzer
“Rogues” begins with a corrupt cop, Loring (Kaz Garas), trying to kill another cop who knows he’s a corrupt cop (Jerry Donovan, played by Paul Tulley) at police HQ (or maybe is it the police academy? It sure as hell looks like the place where TJ Hooker worked TJ Hooker). It’s all done in the open and it’s all good one way or another. You’d think that a cop trying to shoot another cop at police HQ would at least generate a small crowd of other cops wondering what’s going on. It doesn’t really happen. The scene then cuts to Max Keller (Timothy Van Patten) learning a new ninja lesson (how to do ninja flips and so on) from ninja master John Peter McAllister (Lee Van Cleef). Keller can kind of do a flip, but he can’t do a flip like McAllister (Lee Van Cleef’s double is a really good gymnast).
After finishing the ninja lesson, McAllister and Keller head to an aerobics studio where Keller has a friend in need, a woman named Talia Donovan (Cindy Harrell). Turns out that mean dirty cop Loring stalked Talia and Jerry Donovan is Talia’s brother. And Loring is there in the studio and as soon as he sees McAllister and Keller, he starts giving them both shit. It doesn’t take long for a martial arts fight to break out, as Loring has martial arts skills. It also doesn’t take long for McAllister to mop the floor with Loring, as McAllister’s martial arts skills are obviously superior to all of Loring’s skills. Loring sulks and McAllister and Keller learn more from Talia about what is going on.
So stuff happens, Loring meets his fellow corrupt cops (one of them is played by Frank Pesce, now late but still awesome), then they meet Campion (Keith McConnell), a guy who runs a high nondescript boutique in Beverly Hills. Apparently, Loring and his team of cops are planning some kind of robbery at Campion’s shop and everything has to happen soon. This whole “Jerry Donovan still alive” thing could ruin everything.
So, other things happen, McAllister and Keller get a text message from Jerry Donovan, and then they head to some sort of college party with Talia. Other things happen, McAllister and Keller foil a robbery attempt at the college party by some of the corrupt cops wearing burglary gear, then the corrupt cops pose as cops to “investigate the scene”. It is at this point that McAllister realizes that Loring and his fellow cops are full of criminals and they need to be stopped. So McAllister heads to police HQ and confronts Loring. There’s back and forth between the two, McAllister fires a gun at a paper target and manages to get all six shots into the same hole, and McAllister swears to bring down Loring.
Now, while all of this is going on, Frank Pesce’s Officer Thomas attacks Keller at Talia’s apartment for some reason, and Keller finds a big clue as to what Loring and his evil cops are up to. Afterwards, McAllister is tipped and told to go to police HQ that night to get more information. McAllister agrees to the meeting, but he also knows the meeting is really a set up by Loring. That fact doesn’t stop McAllister from donning his ninja gear and heading to police HQ to kick some ass. And yes, McAllister kicks major ass.
After the corrupt cop is beaten, McAllister returns to Keller and Talia’s house and they head to the shop and meet Talia’s brother, Jerry. They find a crate of stolen goods that Loring really wants, and they decide to go to the neighborhood. lawyer with all their evidence. Before they can get there, Loring and his team of corrupt cops ambush everyone and take Jerry and Talia hostage. The next day, McAllister meets Loring again in public and they come up with a plan that if McAllister gives Loring the stolen goods, Loring will free Jerry and Talia.
And so McAllister and Keller head into the big hostage surrender knowing full well that Loring is once again preparing some kind of ambush. General ninja and other violence ensues, including a brief and unsatisfying final fight between McAllister and Loring.
“Rogues” is, at best, a mediocre episode of The master. It has an interesting premise (ninja vs. corrupt cops) and a pretty decent sleazebag villain in Kaz Garas as Loring, but the story never really gels. The episode starts with juice and energy (a cop trying to kill another cop at cop HQ is pretty messed up) but then it never quite lives up to what we see at the very beginning. Things just happen and then the episode is over. The action throughout is also mediocre, which is annoying. Why aren’t there more scenes of Loring and his team shooting McAllister and Keller? And why isn’t the final fight between McAllister and Loring a better fight? I mean, yeah, we know Loring doesn’t have McAllister’s skills, but you’d think that Loring, being real shit, would be able to get the upper hand for a few seconds with sneak fights. The final fight is about as exciting as the first fight between McAllister and Loring (and that fight isn’t exciting at all).
The chemistry between Timothy Van Patten and Cindy Harrell is also lacking. You can tell they’re trying to show that they know and love each other and so on, but it just doesn’t work. They’re just actors on a TV show going through the motions. Paul Tulley is not so interesting as Jerry Donovan. He’s just a guy.
The episode has some funny moments. The track where McAllister at the police shooting range is incredibly badass. There’s a party at the college party where one of the revelers thinks McAllister is an actor who’s appeared in many Spaghetti Westerns. And then there’s Gretchen (Lynne Randall), a woman from the aerobics studio who keeps telling McAllister he’s out of shape. Is she just teasing him because she secretly has a crush on him, or is she telling him because she’s one of the health freaks who thinks everybody not in good shape? The episode’s final sequence involves McAllister beating up several martial arts instructors at the aerobics studio, showing Gretchen that he’s not out of shape at all.
And Frank Pesce is fun. But then, when isn’t Frank Pesce fun? I wish it was part of a better episode. Why wasn’t he in the New York set episode? Does the Beverly Hills Police Department really have a guy who looks like Frank Pesce?
“Rogues” is just okay. It’s not bad but it’s not that great either. It’s just kind of there.
One more episode to do.
Next topic: The master Episode 13: “A Place to Call Home”
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