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HTF DVD REVIEW: Walker Texas Ranger: The Fifth Season

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#1 of 4 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

Matt Hough

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Posted June 27 2008 - 03:14 PM


Walker Texas Ranger: The Fifth Season
Directed by Tony Mordente et al

Studio: Paramount
Year: 1997-1998
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Running Time: 1124 minutes
Rating: NR
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo surround English
Subtitles: CC
MSRP: $ 54.99

Release Date: July 1, 2008
Review Date: June 27, 2008


The Series

2.5/5

Chuck Norris kicks lots of butt in the fifth season of his hit television series Walker Texas Ranger. Of course, what else would you expect him to do in any series about the modern day Texas Rangers? Without strong writing or a vibrant supporting cast, most of the episodes usually reach their climaxes with various brawls where Norris’ celebrated karate moves can be demonstrated (in quickly clichéd slow motion), shootouts which no Texas-set crime drama could do without, or high speed chases through the streets of Dallas, the ones here frequently ending in incendiary splendor.

Norris does indeed return as Cordell Walker, tough but occasionally tender-hearted Texas Ranger operating out of Dallas. Assisting him is partner Jimmy Trivette (Clarence Gilyard), retired ranger C.D. Parker (Noble Willingham), and sweetheart (and assistant district attorney) Alex Cahill (Sheree J. Wilson). The cases run the gamut from traditional crime dramas fighting drug pushers and mob bosses to more offbeat almost sci-fi cases like a genius kid with telekinesis powers being cruelly experimented on or a child with such supercharged DNA that he‘s impervious to injury. There are quite a few poignant stories involving Walker’s fondness for kids in trouble (a two part episode even finds Walker serving as a foster parent for a young boy dying of AIDS and is by far the highlight of season five), and even opportunities to let Norris play a lawman in the Old West as he relates a tale of famous ranger Hayes Cooper who cleaned up a town under the thumb of a particularly vicious gunfighter.

Because Norris is such a limited actor, the producers (of which he is one) have surrounded him with similar second tier acting talent for the supporting players. They all make earnest attempts at adding some nuance into their performances, but Walker Texas Ranger is not a series known for its strong central cast nor for its brilliance in writing: the villains are ludicrously obvious and always the worst pistol shots possible. The best acting comes from guest stars who appear during the season’s episodes. Among them are Terry Kiser (in a fun dual role), Haley Joel Osment (superb as the child with AIDS), Gwen Verdon, Anne Lockhart, Joseph Bottoms, John Beck, Randolph Mantooth, Burt Young, Marty Ingles, Linda Purl, Roddy Piper, William Katt, Robert Fuller, Paul Gleeson, Barbara Bain, Valarie Pettiford, Paul Winfield, and Stephen Macht.

Here is the line-up of the season’s 25 episodes:

1 - The Fighting McLains
2 - Iceman
3 - Lucas (Part One)
4 - Lucas (Part Two)
5 - Forgotten People
6 - Last of a Breed (Part One)
7 - Last of a Breed (Part Two)
8 - Brainchild
9 - Mr. Justice
10 - Rainbow’s End
11 - A Woman’s Place
12 - Small Blessings
13 - Tribe
14 - Saving Grace
15 - Money Talks
16 - The Crusader
17 - In God’s Hands
18 - Undercover
19 - Everyday Heroes
20 - Warriors
21 - Angel
22 - The Soul of Winter
23 - Circle of Life
24 - Test of Faith
25 - The Wedding (Part One)


Video Quality

3/5

The series’ original 1.33:1 television aspect ratio is adhered to faithfully in these transfers. The quality of the images is very erratic throughout the entire 25 episodes. For every scene that’s solid in picture quality, there’s another that’s washed out, overly grainy, or irritatingly soft. There isn’t one entire episode that’s top notch from beginning to end. Without anamorphic enhancement, of course, aliasing and jaggies run rampant in the transfers also making them somewhat of a trial to watch. Each episode has been divided into 5 chapters.

Audio Quality

3.5/5

The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo surround track is, if nothing else, very loud. With the constant chases, gunfights, and brawls, the soundtrack is very active with good bass levels. Of course, the loudness and impact of the sound effects punches and kicks are overdone to the point of absurdity, but those looking for a noisy, action-filled show will undoubtedly love the exaggerated audio.

Special Features

0/5

Apart from previews of Paramount series like Twin Peaks, Jericho, and the CSI franchise, there are no bonus features at all in this seven disc set.


In Conclusion

2.5/5 (not an average)

The fifth season of Walker Texas Ranger still found the show among the Nielsen top thirty most popular shows on television (in 28th spot). These episodes provide meat-and-potatoes action for fans of modern day western crime dramas. They’re not deep, but they can offer some reasonably good entertainment for undemanding viewers.


Matt Hough
Charlotte, NC

#2 of 4 ONLINE   Regulus

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Posted June 27 2008 - 03:27 PM

I've already Pre-ordered this Show and look forward to seeing it. Six Seasons down two to go!

DVD Collection Inventory: TV Episodes - 36,372 :biggrin: ( 755 Series ) :biggrin: Movies - 2,413  :biggrin: Serial Chapters - 1,201 :B)


#3 of 4 OFFLINE   Ockeghem

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Posted June 27 2008 - 03:59 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Regulus
I've already Pre-ordered this Show and look forward to seeing it. Six Seasons down two to go!
Same here. I've loved all of the DVDs released thus far. Posted Image Posted Image

#4 of 4 OFFLINE   todd s

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Posted June 27 2008 - 05:01 PM

The hidef war was single handly won by blu-ray. When Chuck decided it so.

Posted Image
Bring back John Doe! Or at least resolve the cliff-hanger with a 2hr movie or as an extra on a dvd release.