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After critics and fans maligned the sixth season of 24, which was full of recycled clichés such as Beltway power players pulling the strings of the terrorists and moles inside CTU, some people wondered if the show had lost its creative edge. Due to the Hollywood writer’s strike, we haven’t heard from Jack Bauer since May 2007. The TV execs knew that Jack had a lot more riding on his shoulder with this TV movie than just the normal terrorist threat—he must prove that this great show still had fresh ideas.
24: Redemption is a two-hour, real-time telemovie. One of the best and most shocking changes in the 24 storytelling is the shift from Los Angeles (I guess the terrorists have finally learned to steer clear of CTU in this area) to Africa, which will prepare viewers for another shift as the upcoming seventh season takes places in Washing DC.
In the movie, Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) has tried to escape his past by running away to the fictional country of Sangala in Africa. He is staying low and escaping USA subpoenas by helping out at an orphanage for Sangala boys founded by his old special forces pal Carl Benton (Robert Carlyle). Turns out Sangala is a politically unstable place. A warlord has secretly been kidnapping and brainwashing boys into warriors for his army. 24 never shys away from brutal violence and one scene has a boy using a long knife to kill an adult as part of his training. In order to prevent the orphanage boys from being forced into the army, Jack and Carl must get them to the American embassy.
Back in the states, the recently ousted President Noah Daniels (Powers Boothe) is trying to manage the Sangala crisis while also working on a peaceful transition with the President-elect Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones) who has different ideas on how the situation should be handled despite not yet having the authority to implement them. It is interesting to note that the first few seasons of 24 was ahead of the curve in portraying an African-American as President of the United States and now they will have a female President for the upcoming season.
The action sequences are on par with what we’ve come to expect. The humor is also there, with a hilarious scene having Jack Bauer tell the useless United Nations peace worker “why don’t you go hide in the shelter with the rest of the children?” It is also full of emotion, as Jack tries to help his close friend and the African children he has come to love. Consider the series 24 completely redeemed.