“Airwolf” came at that time where America was infatuated with big vehicles and Americans fighting crime and foreign bad guys. Shows like “A Team” and “Knight Rider” were pop culture sensations, so “Airwolf” tries to tap in to that same vein. It’s not the most amazing TV series, but it’s a damn solid action series about a young soldier and crusty old veteran fighting crime and stopping international terrorists with their high tech helicopter. Sadly, the helicopter doesn’t have a sentient voice like KITT did in “Knight Rider,” but there’s at least Jan Michael Vincent, and Ernest Borgnine, who has a good time playing the mentor who also has a tough time piloting such a high tech gizmo. “Airwolf” has a good premise and one that can definitely fit in to a movie or two down the line.
As a TV series, the premise doesn’t stretch very well, and I always thought the writers reached way too far for ideas. It’s easy to understand as the series was tasked with owners that never knew what they wanted to do with it. The earlier seasons are a lot darker and more straight faced, as Jan Michael Vincent plays “String” Hawke, a reclusive pilot with a tragic back story involving war, and losing his brother who went MIA and was never found. The set up with “String” makes him something of a silly but fun hero, as he has a love for fine art and playing the cello, but is not above strong arming a woman, throwing her on a bed, and making sweet love to her. He also likes to slug men that violate his privacy.
When the government engineers a high priced war machine named The Airwolf, which is a high speed and high tech air borne vehicle capable of helping them during conflicts, the creator goes rogue, and begins working for the Arabs. Anxious to get Airwolf back, the government reunites with String Hawke, and asks him to help retrieve the helicopter once again, since he’s one of the few test pilots, and knows how to pilot it and its unique computer system. “Airwolf” Season 1 is a pretty solid realization of this premise with some fine espionage and interplay between the jolly Borgnine and hard boiled Michael Vincent. The DVD comes with eleven uncut episodes.
“C.O.P.S.,” the show that went out of print for many years is available from Mill Creek Entertainment once again in its complete form. The animated series from Hasbro is one of my favorite relics of the eighties, and garners a huge array of futuristic law enforcers, all of whom are based in some way on the popularity of Robocop. Set in 2020, the crime ridden city of Empire is taken over by “Big Boss” Babel and his gang of cronies, as they seek to rule the underworld, while the Empire Police have little power to stop them. Now with the help of a CyberCOP codenamed “Bulletproof,” he assembles a group of some of the best police officers and crime fighters in the world, all of whom make it their mission to stop “Big Boss” once and for all.
Along with “Bullet Proof,” there is “Hard Top,” a vehicle expert, “Bowser” and “Blitz” a K9 Officer who is paired with his cybernetic K09, as well as “Longarm,” my favorite of the group, who dons a pistol, night stick, and a mechanical pair of hand cuffs that can shoot from his arm and restrain potential criminals at long distances. For younger audiences in to action and adventure with a bit of heavy science fiction that draws inspiration from “GI Joe,” “Transformers,” and “Robocop,” “C.O.P.S.” will definitely be a hit with them. “Fighting Crime in a Future Time!,” the DVD set comes with the entire 65 episodes, all uncut.