Hawaii Five-0

Part buddy series, part action, part police procedural, Hawaii Five-0 throws it all at the screen, including an iconic theme tune and a favourite catch-phrase.

For twelve years Steve McGarrett (Jack Lord) was crime-busting in downtown Honolulu, against a lush backdrop of sand, surf, and exotic locales. There was a famous catch-phrase and an even more famous theme tune -still one of television’s most iconic.

Now CBS is rebooting the series with Australian actor Alex O’Loughlin in the central role.

As if to prove a point, the opening sequence sets the scene with a stunts and action aplenty.

We meet Navy SEAL Steve McGarrett (O’Loughlin) escorting a terrorist en route in rural South Korea. With its sweeping mountains and palm trees, this is clearly an Hawaiian location. The scene sees McGarrett contacted by arch rival terrorist mastermind Victor Hesse, who has his father at gunpoint back in Hawaii. Say bye bye, dad. After hearing a gunshot, McGarrett is endowed with a need for vegeance that will doubtless resonate across the series. Cue the theme tune (no they haven’t dumped it).

Jean Smart plays Hawaiian Governor, Patricia Jameson, with a straight face. She offers McGarrett the chance to lead his own crack team of crime-busters to eradicate her State of crims. He’s initially reluctant, but will soon be given the impetus to take her up on her offer and handpick his team.

Amongst the team are former cop and school pal Chin Ho Kelly, played by Lost’s Daniel Dae Kim. Given he is actually of Korean-US descent it’s becoming clear this show requires a suspension of disbelief. Check the fake rain and the very dry McGarrett walking in from a downpour, and you’ll know what I mean.

But the best is saved for Detective Danny Williams (Scott Caan) whose ringtone from his wife is the Psycho shower theme. Williams is a tough guy whose soft spot is his single daughter. His first scene with McGarrett, a Mexican standoff, quickly establishes an abrasive relationship between the two. This bubbles along nicely across the episode, with crackling dialogue and humour.

The final member of the troupe is Kelly’s cousin, the smokin’ hot, surfin’ police graduate Detective Kona Kalakaua (Grace Park). Sexy chick with gun and surfboard? Look out, Nikita.

Throw in hip-hop music, sweeping aerial shots, a chase, shooting, fist fights, explosions, a high use of golden filters …. I’m just about ready for an Hawaiian kitchen sink. But it’s all good.

Crime procedural plots (and the odd signposting) aside, this is a show that looks set to make the most of it action and the buddy rapport between its two lead men.

There is also some fun to be had teasing us with the “Book ’em, Danno” line and its derivation.

O’Loughlin fits the action hero like a glove, and after two short-lived US series, deserves a big, broad hit. US ratings would suggest he has found one, or rather, that the US has finally found him. Caan may yet surpass him.

This is a testosterone, sandy cop show that lives by its own rules (ironically, Miami Vice did similar things in Florida many years ago). If they can survive even half as long as the original they should consider themselves pretty lucky.

Hawaii Five-0
airs 8:30pm Sundays on TEN.

14 Responses

  1. I am old enough to remember the orginal.
    So forgive me that … lol
    Apart from Beautiful Hawaii & the theme song, and the 2 main characters names,
    it had no bearing on the old series.
    It certainly was ‘based on’ the old …
    but it had such a new feel to it …
    that I couldn’t watch all of the first episode
    (First time I lasted ten minutes, tonight with the replay I lasted 40 minutes)
    Maybe it will improve … but I’m not sure I will watch.
    Even though the two main actors are gorgeous 🙂

    Just my humble opinion … 😉

  2. I watched the 1st ep for curiosity – I came away with the opinion this is a ‘guys’ show -for example the pretty girl had to strip down to her underwear – gosh, I’d love to see a guy have to that – just for a level playing field… have fun guys.

  3. i ave 2 say that dis version of Hawaii five-0 is really really goooood but i still like da original but dis 1 cuts da cake, Alex is great so is Scott 2 and Grace is da hotest chic is seen with a gun and surf board and da line ” book em’ Danno ” i love it, tho it wud ave been nice 2 hear da original theme song wen da show started???

  4. Watched the whole series to date (courtesy work trips to USA and US iTunes account)’and loved every minute of it! Each episode gets better and one of the plot lines runs throughout the whole series with a dramatic conclusion. Action is great and camaraderie between McGarrett & Dano is brilliant with some memorable one liners. Great action series.

  5. Spot on review of the first episode. I have seen all the eps that have aired in the States and loved them all. Sure, there are some that aren’t as great as others, but what series is completely perfect? H50 is a show to sit back with and relax and enjoy it for the characters, of which I think they have cast really well. The bromance between Steve and Danny is terrific and lots of fun. Chin Ho brings a somewhat “shady” past to the task force and Kono with her rookie smarts balances the team really well. There is never one show that everyone loves, but everyone in my family finds lots to love about the new H50.

  6. If this version makes it to a second or third season then that would be what I consider lucky. The show needs a lot of work to make it more than just a standard crime procedural show that happens to be set in Hawaii.

  7. I absolutely love this show. Too young to have seen the original so i can’t compare, but this show is great. Alex O’Loughlin is great, and easy on the eye. He really deserves a hit show. But Scott Caan is brilliant. I love the relationship between the two, provides some good laughs. And there’s plenty of action.
    Deserves to rate well here.

  8. I like the show, seen only a few eps (on a trip to the US) but liked it a lot and looks like they like it in the US so the future should be good.

    Love the “Book ‘em, Danno” line and explanation to how he was called Danno.

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