I’ve got to tell you, I struggled with what to use as JPFmovies’ third installment of our tribute to Bruce Campbell, so SS recommended Burn Notice. As I don’t have regular/contemporary TV I had no clue what he was talking about, so obtained the pilot and episodes 1-2. While he does not play the leading role (and in my opinion should get more face time) Campbell does fit the mold perfectly.
Campbell plays “Sam Axe”: An aging, semi-retired pudgy covert operative and former Navy SEAL. Constantly short of cash, Axe spends his time drinking and sleeping with rich, older Miami women in exchange for the basics: food, booze and shelter. He and Westen (the main character) are old buddies; Axe is also Westen’s consistent link to the official spy community. Axe is “the guy who knows a guy,” and Westen relies on Axe’s long list of shady contacts as well as his ingrained tactical and covert skills. Axe is not all fun and games; he is also an FBI informant, reporting on Westen when the FBI buys him lunch, but Axe is glad to become a double agent and pass questionable information to the FBI agents. At some point in the past, Axe foiled Westen’s ex-girlfriend’s attempt to sell a large shipment of weapons to a Libyan arms dealer, costing her a good deal of money. As a result, Fiona initially is very hostile towards him, but the two eventually become very antagonistic friends and Axe asks her for advice concerning his relationships with women.
The general premise of the show is this: Spies aren’t fired; they get “burned.” Michael Westen received a “burn notice” and is stuck in his hometown of Miami, he’s been left in the cold with no money, no job and no information. With no job history, cash or credit, he becomes a quasi-private eye, using the skills he learned as an intelligence operative. With the help of his old friend, the drinking, womanizing Sam Axe (Campbell), and his gun-running, trigger-happy ex-girlfriend Fiona, he makes people’s problems disappear. However, he remains on a constant quest to find out who burned him so he can get back into the game. Burn Notice is in its sixth season and (like Miami Vice) filmed on location in Miami.
I liked the episodes, even though I was skeptical and expecting another run of the mill cop show with a tired twist. The first three episodes were not bad. I don’t know if it can keep up the stories for six seasons, but the first one was probably pretty good. The show is sort of a cross between Miami Vice and MacGiver; that is, using the flair and glitz of Miami while Westen and Campbell use hardware stores and homemade devices more than guns (that is what Westen’s ex Fiona is for).
Like I said, I think you could substitute Bruce Campbell in My Name is Bruce for Sam Axe in Burn Notice without skipping a beat—but hell, that is ok with me ‘cause there is nothing like a good old fashioned sleaze ball on TV.
July 12, 2012 at 3:00 pm
I was trying to find your email address here but couldn’t locate it. I literally browsed everywhere. Can you please contact me at: alyson[at]ftframes.com
It is regarding a writing opportunity!
This is not a spam message by the way, although it might appear like it. Also if you could be kind, please remove this message once you have seen it so I don’t get emails by randomers.
July 27, 2012 at 12:32 pm
Other than the setting, I’d disagree with the Miami Vice reference (Miami Vice was famously “MTV Cops” and “Burn Notice” is neither music-oriented nor, in a larger sense, trying to ride the pop-cultural zeitgeist). After stumbling across it and watching several episodes, I realized it is pretty much a remake of the “A-Team”: he’s a wanted former government operative, he’s always improvising using esoteric skills, most of his jobs are robin hood affairs, and nobody ever dies. In fact, you could even use the same intro with just a few updates:
In 2007, a crack spy was “burned” for a crime he didn’t(?) commit. He promptly entered the Miami underground. Today, still wanted by the government, with an oddball assortment of former colleagues he survives as a soldier of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find him, maybe you can hire Michael Westen
August 1, 2012 at 12:30 am
Excellent observation. I would even add to that, that is in the beginning the A-team were mercenaries, just like in Burn Notice, however, as I’ve notice while watching the show on netflix I can see that the mercenary angle is now downplayed to the almost non existent. I must also stress that when I wrote the review, I had never seen the show before (I have no regular TV and no cable)and only watched the first couple of episodes. However, I must say Bruce Campbell does ham it up nicely.