Wednesday, August 2, 2006


Like many B-movie fans, I'm a big fan of actor Bruce Campbell (THE EVIL DEAD, ARMY OF DARKNESS, BUBBA HO-TEP). Thus, I was pleased to see both of the one-season television series he starred in – THE ADVENTURES OF BRISCO COUNTY JR. and JACK OF ALL TRADES (2000 both making it to DVD this month. Of course, Warners doesn't send me review copies, but Universal does…so it's JACK we're taking a look at here.

Set in 1801, Bruce plays Jack Stiles, a Revolutionary War hero and U.S. spy, who is sent by Thomas Jefferson to the tiny South Pacific island of Polau-Polau to work with British operative Emilia Rothschild (Angela Marie Dotchin) to foil the advances of the French Emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte (Verne Troyer) in his bid for world conquest.

Originally syndicated as half of an hour package with the dismal (despite the presence of the stunning Gina Torres) CLEOPATRA 2525, JACK OF ALL TRADES is a half-hour adventure comedy filled with broad, anachronistic humor, double-and-triple-entendres, Stooges-styled slapstick, and plenty of Campbell charm. In fact, if it had been a full-hour show and hadn't been chained to the derivative CLEO, JACK might have had a chance.

Universal's Complete Season set of JACK OF ALL TRADES is a bare bones affair, but while it would have been great to have Campbell involved with the release (nobody provides more entertaining commentaries than Bruce), it's good to have this show on DVD at all. The 22 episodes of the series are presented in crystal clear, 1.33:1 full frame transfers, and look and sound perfect. They are spread across three separate discs, each in its own slimcase. There are no extra features whatsoever.

For Campbell fans, this is a must-buy. While it lacks the Chinned One's personal participation, the episodes themselves are presented perfectly.

BUY: Jack of All Trades - The Complete Series