Keifer Sutherland is back in action as ex-CTU agent Jack Bauer. He’s not looking for trouble and he’s not looking for action; he’s just looking for some closure and a chance at the quiet life. Yet moments of quiet tend to be disrupted by gunshots and explosions.

The two-hour ’24” television event kicked off the start of Day 7 of the series, in which producers hoped to redeem the show from the less-than-great sixth season we experienced in 2007. The entertaining two hours are complete with on-location filming in Africa, the setup of many potential evil-doers and Bauer shedding a few tears. Jack Bauer, crying? Come on, we know him better than that.

The premiere, entitled ’24: Redemption,” is set in the fictional African country of Sangala between the hours of 3 and 5 p.m. All events occur in real time. We quickly learn that a man named General Juma poses an imminent threat to the country. He has been kidnapping the children of Sangala in hopes of training them as child soldiers in order to overturn the government.

Meanwhile, Bauer has been working with his old colleague and friend, Carl Benton (Robert Carlyle), at a school for some of the children of Sangala. When the U.S. Embassy representative tracks down Bauer in order to deliver a subpoena for torturing a suspect in the United States, Bauer makes the decision that the school and children will be safer without him there. Bauer doesn’t have time to take 50 steps before Juma’s army arrives at the school; Bauer is called back into action.

As Bauer risks his life saving the children of Sangala, back on U.S. soil we are introduced to season seven’s president, Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones). Inauguration Day is in full swing as President-elect Taylor finds out about the situation in Sangala and is informed by President Noah Daniels that he has made the decision to evacuate the U.S. Embassy there.

While we are in the United States, the show introduces us to Taylor’s son Roger and his girlfriend Olivia, in addition to some other potential evils for season seven. So while we are introduced to new characters in the United States and Bauer is saving the young ones in Africa, I am asking myself, well, where is the action? The first and best show of action occurred within the first hour while Bauer takes on the entirety of Juma’s forces that are imposing on the school.

The usual show of Bauer’s great arm is exemplified as he shoots down each of his opponents on the first try. I never cease to be amazed that despite the distance between Bauer and his target, he consistently hits the bull’s eye. Then we add an explosion here and there for the nice effect of flying people. Put it all together, and it still doesn’t quite add up to ’24” at its best.

And while it was nice to have the change from Los Angeles to Africa, I missed the familiar faces that will undoubtedly return in January. I attribute these missing qualities to the fact that ‘Redemption” really serves as a set up for Day 7.

We get to meet the new characters, learn where Jack has been since season six and get a fix of the ’24” we’ve been missing over the past year and a half. While it may not have been the best two hours ’24” has ever put forth, it was certainly better than most of the 24 hours of season six and sets up the promise for a great seventh season. And, if anything, it was great to hear that clock counting down again.

Season seven of ’24” begins with a two-day, four-hour premiere event from Jan. 11-12 on Fox.

‘There he is, the mighty warrior who traded his gun for a wheelbarrow. Why are you here? To do penance for all your sins?” To find out, watch ’24:Redemption”

Rosenberg is a member of the class of 2012.



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