Lets get something out of the way right now. We love Richard Dean Anderson. It’s not enough that he spent seven seasons and 139 episodes playing the most resourceful man on the planet, he also played the most badass explorer-commander since James T. Kirk. Between MacGyver and Stargate SG-1, Richard Dean has solidified himself as an eternal member of the Geekdom Society of Explorers.

This time around MacGyver finds himself as the star of two television films. The first has Mac searching for the Lost City of Atlantis and the second chasing down the killers of an old friend.

Interestingly enough, the first film opens a lot like Stargate with a loony professor raving about world events that most likely didn’t happen. Atlantis feels a lot like a watered-down, but still really fun variation on Indiana Jones. Exotic locations, artifact hunting, academics yelling at one another, it’s all very familiar.

Instead of summarizing the plot, I’ll settle for letting you know the most awesome MacGyver moment. Amidst escaping the war in the Balkans, MacGyver turns a truck with no engine into a rocket ship. Yes, you read that right, a rocket ship.

The second film, Trail to Doomsday, takes Mac to England. There, he goes to visit an old friend for his birthday and the hired catering staff executes the man. The movie then becomes an elaborate “who done it” with MacGyver running all over England looking for clues as to why his friend was murdered. The caper is interesting enough, but the one large fault of the film is that you can pretty much guess the end in the first 20 minutes.

Doomsday was Anderson’s last portrayal of the MacGyver role and I’ll tell you he goes out with quite a finish. In the last moments he finds himself disarming a nuclear weapon with a… well, you’ll just have to watch and see for yourself.

At first, it might not seem like these movies are much to behold. TV spinoffs rarely live up to the greatness of their series. But, behind the cookie cutter stories, these MacGyver films are tales about obsession, passion, the need to keep an open mind when discussing the pitfalls of history, and the dangers of nationalism.

Like most re-released eighties TV series, they don’t expect to suddenly garner legions of new and adoring fans. They are exactly what they were made to be, the swan song of a fantastic television series that gave the fans one last chance to watch their favorite action-hero handyman do what he does best: save the day one paperclip at a time.

DVD Special Features:

None are included.
 

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