Fantastic Fest 2012: ‘Danger 5’ repeatedly hits a comic high note

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Danger 5
Directed by Dario Russo
Created by Dario Russo and David Ashby
2012, Australia

In Danger 5 an elite force of international specialist stop at nothing to thwart Hitler’s insidious schemes in this bizarro alternate reality comedy series created by Dario Russo and David Ashby. As with their bogus obscure 60’s euro-spiderman ripoff Italian Spiderman, Russo and Ashby go to great lengths to recreate the look and feel of pulp TV for Danger 5, but where the former played it so straight one might think you were watching the real deal – Danger 5 clearly aims for the absurd. The show which is produced for Australian TV bears more than a passing resemblance to another great action adventure series Thunderbirds (as well as subsequent parodies The Golords and Team America). My hunch is that the homage is intended.

Each episode of D5 more or less begins with a briefing by Chestbridge, an eagle-headed man commonly referred to simply as “The Colonel,” before the team disperses to battle the forces of the Third Reich. The imperiously poker faced spies tend to play up various national stereotypes to great comedic effect. There is Jackson the American, Tucker the square-jawed Australian, Ilsa a no nonsense Russian, Claire a sexy Brit and Pierre a happy-go-lucky Frenchman who makes a mean martini. The cast which includes Ashby as Jackson Carmine Russo as the Fuehrer himself are pitch perfect delivering over the top lines with utter conviction and rushing into a host of ridiculous scenarios as if the world really did depend on it. Heckling Hitler hasn’t been this much fun since The Producers.

The familiar setups and running jokes like the Colonel’s constant reminder of their mission to ‘kill Hitler!” are the bread and butter of the show adding to its cultish appeal. Fans of other recent spoofs like the OSS 117 series and Black Dynamite as well as shows like Look Around You should appreciate the attention to detail and oddball humor. With any luck it won’t be and long before Danger 5 makes its way onto Adult Swim or the likes but for now be sure to check out Italian Spiderman for a vision of Spidey as you’ve never seen him before.

 

– Scott Q.

 

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