Ah, the good old days of enthusiasm, naiveté, and youth. A lot can change in 5 days. Did I say that the producers of the EXTRA LARGE series had figured out the formula for a Bud Spencer TV series? I was just fooling myself, it seems. To be honest, the signs were all there. Why, for example, was almost 90% of the action featured in the opening credits from the “Lord of the Sun” episode? I didn’t want to admit that they might do this to me again. But after they buried my heart at Wounded Knee-to-the-groin with the “Indians” episode, I knew I had to be on my toes. The bad news? They decided to step on them.
Every serious detective TV series has to have a certain number of staple episodes. The most commonly seen one is the variation of “someone from our main character’s past comes back” plot. Just how did our lead become so angry/bitter/caustic/deadened etc. and how did they reach this point in their life? Not only is it seemingly a detective series requirement, but it also is the perfect avenue to open the character up a bit. “Condor Mission” is our peek into the past of Jack “Extralarge” Costello. The episode kicks off with Jack and Dumas the 2nd enjoying a relaxing day of fishing. This is interrupted by a helicopter whose crew informs Jack that Lt. Bosely has been looking for him. Why? Some “VIPs from Washington” are looking for him.
Me finding out I didn't have to review the “Indians” episode:
Turns out that Jack’s old D.E.A. pal Col. Kurt Olsen (Klaus Peter Thiele) wants to recruit him for a mission. In one of the series’ more emotional lines, Jack comments that since they last worked together that he is now “about 70 pounds heavier and a century older.” Damn, hanging out with Maria and double Dumas sure takes its toll. Olsen entices Jack with the lure of not only a $1 million dollar payday, but also the prospect of settling an old score. You see, 12 years ago Jack lost a partner while working against drug lord Rosario Partega (Ray Datz) in Cartagena, Colombia. Not only did he lose his friend, but the agent’s wife went insane after finding out and Jack took that hard (as evidenced by flashbacks in black-and-white). Man, Jack versus drug dealers in the jungle? This is gonna be good…I think...I hope.
Landham stretch his acting legs with the unique role of an American Indian with a rough demeanor who frequently wears army fatigues and cowboy hats.” At the same time, the casting of Landham made me think of what a missed opportunity the rest of Jack’s team was. I was hoping for some more washed up ‘80s actors or maybe some Italian staples. Sadly, we got neither and were left with two regular guys who made as much emotional impact as the surprise twist at the end of the film. Yes, I’m sure you can figure it out from just reading my plot breakdown. It’s dumb and pedestrian, but then again we are dealing with a script where Jack finds out he was betrayed because Partega just happens to have a framed picture of himself and the traitor in his office. Yes, because drug czars love their turncoat BFFs enough to frame pictures of them.
That isn’t to say this is a terrible entry. It has its moments and it is nice to get some background on the Costello character. And, most importantly, it wasn’t “Indians” and actually delivered some good action scenes (including what may be the biggest explosion in EXTRA LARGE history). So I can be thankful that it wasn’t “Indians.” Now stay tuned for Tom’s review of the next episode “Diamonds,” which is co-written by Rosario Galli, who wrote “Indians.” Haha, I win! PS: Did I mention this was better than “Indians” yet?