The Young Avenger
Page 110 of 110

The Gladiators
By Joseph A.P. Lloyd

Direction: Half a point out of five. What the heck is this? Just watch the scene where Purdey and Gambit have to turn around in the TR7 to face the other way. It lasts half an hour, whilst we are treated at a close up of the gearshift as Gambit selects reverse and then first gear again as he turns. If Claude Fournier has to do this to make it exciting, then he clearly has no idea about direction.

Plot: One out of five. I suppose the central idea of a mobile training master to produce these private armies is fairly original, but the rest of it is just pure, predictable cheese. Clemens contributes his worst ever script to the series, and not even Steed seems sure of what he is doing. This is so bad!

Music Cheese Factor: Two out of five. Not as bad as "Complex," but still an awful score, with various bits from "The Midas Touch" being reused here. Disaster areas abound when this sort of music is used as a reference!

Wittiness: Nil points. Not a single funny line in the whole thing. If the best one is Purdey saying: "Trouble is our business," then you know you should turn off.

Action: Four out of five. Although they might be done very badly, this episode is full of punch-ups, kicking, knife attacks, shooting, and goodness knows what else. Gambit, Steed and Purdey somehow manage to beat the three invincible gladiators! Then we have Purdey and Steed taking some of them on, and the man who says that he can win losing. This is a total, outrageously violent mess!

Cars/Sets/Locations: Three out of five. The house where Sminsky sets up is rather spooky, and about the best thing in the episode, frankly. Apart from that, I love seeing the American cars, as I am starved of that kind of pleasure in England, but we still have the dull, concrete office-block heaven that is Toronto. I really cannot believe the dullness of the city! Even the security building is uninspiring.

Introduction: One out of five. All that happens is that Sminsky, in true "Invasion of the Earthmen" style, walks around his four finest "gladiators" and gives the entire plot away to the audience within the first 30 seconds of the story. Then, he sets them against each other in a cheesy "fight to the death." Sometimes I cannot believe that this is by the author of "Death at Bargain Prices."

Overall Impression: The second worst episode ever is just terrible. If it was not for Louis Zorich, this would be the worst episode ever. Admittedly, the Russian ambassador is very funny, but not a true eccentric, unfortunately. Other than this, cheesy acting, kitsch dialog, and the worst direction ever, ever seen in the series make it look like an awful Canadian local television advert. Even Patrick Macnee looks to be having a bad time. His best line is just appalling.

Rating: One out of ten.

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Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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