"Give me full turbos Dom!"
I really, really liked this show. It breaks several laws of physics, but I don't care! It's got a black armoured helicopter with jet engines and gratuitous amounts of seemingly limitless firepower in it. What more could you possibly ask for?! What, a secret hideout a la Tracy Island that requires immense skill to get into and out of? Well, it had that too!
On the left is one Stringfellow Hawke. His brother St John went missing in Vietnam and he's "borrowed" Airwolf to use as leverage against "the Firm" in order to persuade them to track him down. So we have this odd situation where the Firm uses Hawke as a sort of freelancer despite the fact that he's nicked their pride and joy. Hawke's not the most charismatic of souls, but then he's also supposed to be a bit of tortured soul - all the women he's intimate with tend to die!
This is Archangel, Hawke's contact in the Firm. He's very, um, white. White clothes, white helicopters, white jets, white cars - all very angelic. Only he isn't. All manner of dodgy arms dealing and cold war iron curtain antics go on at the Firm's instigation and he probably knows more about Hawke's brother than he lets on - but of course if he told Hawke, he might never see Airwolf again...
The supporting characters were many and varied, but the main one in the early series is Dominic Santini, a close friend of Hawke's who runs his own helicopter service and helps Hawk to fly Airwolf from the rear seat ops position. The pretty lady is Archangel's assistant Marella who is actually fairly well involved in things - perhaps indicative of the changing perception of women's roles at the time. Deep social commentary there, sorry!
OK, so forget all the Vietnam/Cold War fallout plotlines. THIS is what I wanted to see in the show. A Mach 1+ attack helicopter being piloted by a renegade pilot who has no qualms about shooting his attackers out of the air. Woo hoo! Yes, it's your classic one-of-a-kind, no-we-can't-build-another-don't-be-silly super vehicle!
Airwolf always seems to come round again on TV, even if it's the rather poor final series when they "updated" the graphics on the show and effectively scrapped the original cast. On a vaguely serious note, I do wonder how kids of today would react to it - much of the cold war and Vietnam references would probably be very unfamiliar to them and so they might not "get" the scenario at all - but then, perhaps kids don't worry about that sort of thing! I've seen it most recently on the DVD as advertised above - not many extras, but it's great to be able to skip to the action sequences which despite the use of dodgy graphics (see below) are still nicely done with suitably rockin' music! Go on, you know you want it!
Links: Airwolf.org (requires registration)
Airwolf Themes making available the music from the series and more
Last updated 14 December 2013