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DVD Review

DVD cover

The Cape
The Complete Series


Starring: David Lyons, Keith David, Summer Glau, James Frain and Jennifer Ferrin
Universal Playback
RRP: £24.99
Certificate: 15
Available 29 September 2011

Framed for murder and left for dead by one of the meanest bosses of the criminal underworld, forcing him into hiding and estranging him from his family, ex-cop Vince Faraday takes the law into his own hands. The gangsters of California were fools to think Vince would stand by and let this happen. Named after his son’s beloved comic-book hero, Faraday becomes The Cape, a cloaked vigilante on a voracious hunt for the crime lord that set him up. Ably supported by investigative blogger Orwell, Faraday pits himself up against ultra-violent villain Chess in his aim to defeat Chess and eradicate his various henchmen...

The Cape (2011) only ran for ten episodes before it was cancelled, so sadly it was still very much finding its feet when the rug was pulled from underneath it. I say "sadly", but what could have been an interesting and mature vigilante series is spoiled by the fact the producers can't seem to make up their mind if this is a kiddies show, or one designed to appeal to a slightly older audience.

While all the actors are fine in their roles I couldn't help thinking that James Frain was slightly miscast as Chess / Peter Fleming. He makes some rather odd acting choices throughout the episodes, but finally starts to take to the part well, just as the show is coming to a close.

Keith David plays Max Malini, the circus ringleader. You'll probably recognise David's face but not remember where from - he's been in a lot of movies. And even if you don't recognise his face you're almost bound to pick up on his voice as he's voiced numerous animated shows and console games (including playing Sergeant Foley in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009) and the voice of the Arbiter in Halo 3 (2007)).

Summer Glau is slightly underused as Orwell (poor old Glau, has she managed to star in a show yet that hasn't been cancelled prematurely?) and her surprise origin... well, you can see it coming a mile off.

There are many interesting ideas, but sadly not enough to make this an essential purchase. Firstly I loved the way Faraday meets up with the circus folk who end up teaching him their skills in order for him to create The Cape. There's an interesting fake death scene which plays with the cliche and there are a number of instances were you'll be thinking: "wait a minute, that doesn't add up..." only for the characters to question it also. Sadly, these clever moments get less and less as the episode moves forwards.

Another nice touch is the introduction of comic book style villains, very much in the vein of the '60s Batman TV series. The most impressive of which is Vinnie Jones as Dominic Raoul / Scales, an Eastend gangster whose moved to America. He has a skin condition that makes it look like he is covered in green scales.

While it has its moments, it's not overly surprising that The Cape wasn't commissioned for a second season. The show is more a failure than a success. If the producers had gone for a slightly more mature audience we may have seen a much better show. They didn't and as a consequence what we have is a rather bland show that could have had a lot of promise.

This two disc collection features no extras.


Darren Rea

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