Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Zorro Generation Z - Crime Wave

Been a while since I  reposted the reviews of the pilot, if you don't know what the heck this is go check out those ones first.

Our return to Pueblo Grande opens on a pair of guys working a crane hauling something called “life chips.” One notes that a shipment of these got stolen the week before, which is why the pier’s crawling with guards. Not that he expects anything to happen, because it’s not like this city has enough crime to warrant a pair of wisecracking superheroes. Two unaffiliated superheroes, even.

Right on cue, a magenta submarine built to look like a shark for some reason surfaces and a bunch of ninjas jump out. The guards might have more luck fighting off the ninjas if they remembered their guns still work outside the range of a spinning kick.

The ninjas get into the crane and lower the life chips into their sub just as what looks to be ¾ of the Pueblo Grande police force shows up and fails to apprehend them before they get away. All the cops manage is to rip off one ninja’s yin-yang necklace, and since none of them notice it that was probably a complete accident. Then again, since the mayor’s also in charge of most organized crime in the city he probably hires the most incompetent cops he can find.

That's not even close to what bolos are for but...whatever.

After the insipid theme song, things resume on a beach volleyball at night. The girls’ team, led by Maria Martinez, is up 10-0. Because Diego, who’s on the other team, isn’t as aware of his surroundings as you’d hope for a superhero whose powers are knowing kung-fu and having a lightsaber, it’s 11-0 after he runs into Bernardo.

Diego passes the ball back a little too hard and it rolls to the water, where it’s stopped by a bunch of considerate surfer dudes. The leader introduces himself to Maria as Manu (that’s weird. Suddenly wish I was playing Quest for Glory III instead of watching this cartoon), and Maria gives her name in that unsubtle sort-of-embarrassed tone meant to indicate she’s blown away by his hotness. Which seems wrong for a character who’s made out to be the polar opposite of who’s-her-face from that apple book I’ve been reviewing. Manu and his buddies depart to cut some waves, bidding Maria “aloha.”

Bernardo’s magic crime alert watch goes off and the boys realize the life chip shipment was hit, so they make a lame excuse and leave. Cut to Zorro riding toward the scene of the crime. Along the way he proves to have actually done his homework on life chips, which is totally inconsistent with how he was shown before to treat crime-fighting like the same thrill ride he treats motocross as, while leaving the brain work to Bernardo. Not really sure why he couldn't glance over a block of text brought up by Bernardo explaining what they do, which is automatically diagnose the illness of whoever they’re injected in.

Diego even knows they were meant for a children’s hospital, and thinks whoever stole them must be real jerks. Which might have something to do with why they’re stealing in the first place.

Zorro finds the fallen yin-yang necklace, but the cops find him. Furthering my suspicions about the police department’s hiring process, they seriously fall for a “hey, look over there!” trick and Zorro gets away. He surmises it can’t be a coincidence that the dock workers are part of a union run by a Don Chino, and heads to Chinatown to make some inquiries. Sort of blurring the lines on what does what in this outfit.

Don Chino proves to be a guy who doesn’t look or sound Asian at all despite the pathetic attempts to give him the diction of someone who speaks English as a second language: “This necklace has symbol of El Rey Beach gang. Surfers that used to work for Chino, but not no more. Most likely they stole life chips.”

The unmistakable sign of this other gang is a yin-yang symbol. One of the most generic images used to indicate “coolness” in the world. Why do I get the feeling the people behind this thought back to when T & C Surf Designs were really hot for their understanding of surfers?

Settling back into his more familiar behaviors, Zorro steals some of his dim sun, then cracks open a fortune cookie and notes it says “You will be visited by a dark stranger. Whaddaya know, these things really do work!” Ha ha.

By the way, since we know now that the guys who stole the life chips used to work for Don Chino but not anymore, does Zorro's logic that Chino runs the union that works that dock, therefore he must know who stole the life chips make any sense?

Next day at the beach, Diego’s spying on Maria with binoculars (creep) when she meets up with Manu and his friends. And Manu has…a yin-yang tattoo on his arm! He MUST be mixed up with those ninjas who stole the life chips, there’s no other explanation! “This is not good, on so many levels.” Care to name a few? I mean, Zorro and Scarlet Whip have expressed a little interest in each other a few times, but I never got that off Diego and Maria. If you get the difference. And again, the surfer dude has a yin-yang tattoo. So?

In his little hideout Diego angsts to Bernardo about what to tell Maria, since he as Diego would never know about life chips or criminal organizations. Trying to get the character back on track, huh? His concerns make sense. So warn her as Zorro. That solves every sticking point with telling Maria what’s going on. As the resident superhero he’d have a reason to know what life chips are, know about members of the underworld, and to take an interest in the welfare of the family of local officials all in one go. And if she asks too many questions, he's a mysterious masked avenger, so he even has a reason not to give specifics.

Yeah the mayor tries to make Zorro look like a criminal, but that doesn’t really seem to work. I mean, the plot for a whole episode was hiring guys to impersonate Zorro and make him look bad. Which suggests Zorro generally enjoys a positive reputation. Why doesn’t he suit up and warn Maria?

This is even assuming Manu has a greater interest in Maria than some action with a redheaded hottie, and that having a yin-yang tattoo proves he and his friends are the ones who stole the life chips. But because this is a brainless cartoon, he has and it does, and we’d better move along before I let myself go off on another rant.

Diego gets it into his head to make friends with Manu and his gang too, but the next day he still goes up to Maria and tries to warn her that he thinks they’re suspicious. She thinks he’s jealous that she’s more interested in Manu. After warning her to watch herself again, he goes over to Manu and his buddies to try and make friends. Which Maria, being an intelligent and self-acuated woman, finds kind of hypocritical.

Saying he’s a friend of Maria’s, Diego introduces himself, points out their necklaces and says he found one just like them. Manu identifies it as the one he’s missing and not as something you could buy at any crummy gift store in a beach city. Diego says he’ll tell them where he found it that night under the pier, and not to tell Maria.

That night he tells the surfers he knows they’re the ones who pulled off the life chip heist and he wants in because he’s a bored rich kid looking for kicks. So saying, they kick him. After he manages to hold his own against the five of them, Manu thinks maybe they can do something with him. If he can surf, that is. Diego picks up the gauntlet, and agrees to meet them at Punto Muerto to show them his stuff. Have I mentioned how often the writers use the word “bro” to sound with it?

By the way, you guessed it. The bad guys of the episode are surfers. That’s why it’s called “Crime Wave.” I’ll wait until you’ve stopped applauding that stroke of genius to continue the review.

Back in the hideout Diego angsts to Bernardo because he can’t surf. Bernardo’s thoroughly amused because he already has the answer to this problem, some kind of bionic wetsuit that makes it so he can, in fact, surf. Um, when the hell did Bernardo invent that? And WHY?? Anyway, the magic surf suit works, Diego does indeed prove himself the big kahuna of the hour, and Manu welcomes him to their gang. He tells Diego to meet them at the Puerto Grande (I thought it was Pueblo Grande) Yacht Club the next night, and invites Maria to “hang” with them that night.

What's that Skippy? You think the idol's cursed?
Diego shows up at the yacht club, and for some reason walks up to Mayor Martinez’s personal yacht, which he says to himself looks like someone’s having a fiesta on it. Uh, no it doesn’t. It looks like it’s moored. That’s it. For some reason he goes aboard and finds out Manu and his buddies are hijacking the yacht. They want to be modern-day pirates, and now they have a boat to do it with. With a luxury yacht, huh? I can see it having all kinds of unregistered weapons because it belongs to the crooked mayor after all, but the episode advances nothing of the kind. And seriously, a yacht as a pirate ship?

How many fiestas can you find in this picture?
They even kidnapped Maria after she helped them get on the boat. Not so tough without her laser whips, is she? Even though she’s wearing a backpack that obviously has all her Scarlet Whip stuff. What kind of pirates are these guys that they didn’t take it away and go through it for anything valuable?

Just so you know, I didn't skip any scenes. Manu says Maria helped to get them onto her dad's boat, but not why. Did their relationship get more time in the original script? Did she somehow know they were crooks and hoped to capture them? We'll never know.

Seeing as they plan to dump Maria now that they have her dad’s yacht, Diego tries to warn them that they, you know, robbed from “the powerful and very dangerous” Mayor Martinez, implying there are at least widespread rumors he’s not quite the man of the people he pretends to be. Manu’s sure Martinez’s bark is worse than his bite, and just to tie everything up with a neat little bow, adds that if Don Chino paid them what they were worth before, maybe they wouldn’t have to steal life chips and backstab their former bosses now.

In order to get away so he can become Zorro and save Maria at the same time, Diego pretends to throw her overboard and talks her through being a good hostage. The surfer ninja pirates follow them chanting “Heave-ho!” Who the hell says that anymore? They make a break for it and swim to shore, where Maria says she’ll stay so she can change to her superhero identity, and Diego asks no questions and runs off so he can change to his. And Maria’s never going to think about how uncharacteristically heroic Diego was, how he used her as a weapon against a bunch of ninja pirate surfers as a matter of course, and how he ran off just before Zorro showed up.

Once suited up Zorro angsts to Bernardo about how he’s supposed to get back out to the stolen yacht to round up Manu and his buddies before they can pull off their first aquatic robbery. Bernardo immediately has a solution, a shell that fits around his motorcycle and turns it into a jetski. There’s even a special gimp suit that goes with it. Why the hell doesn’t Diego know about any of these things? Does Bernardo enjoy seeing his friend get all stressed out when he can’t find a solution? I know they’re teenagers but they’re also the self-appointed protectors of a city where the same guy who runs the police runs the crime, too. Maybe they should be a little more professional about this? The “witty” banter doesn’t necessarily have to stop, but the guy doing the legwork should know what all his options are.

By the way, they're in the back of a semi. Where the hell is this thing rising up from?

By way of contrast, watch some Kamen Rider W. Not only are the heroes kind of goofy while still being professional about their self-appointed responsibilities, it’s about five million times more entertaining than this show. They even have a gizmo that plugs into their motorcycle to turn it into a jetski too, and manage to make it cool.

You even learn what an anomalocaris is, so it's educational too!

Zorro picks up Scarlet Whip, who was just waiting on the beach and not commandeering a speedboat or anything to take care of this on her own. Why did she even suit up if had no way of getting back out to the yacht? She tells him how the life chip thieves are out on that boat like he'd have any other reason to be out there with a jetski. They do get back to it and start having it out with the “pirates.” Scarlet Whip, of course, takes on the two girls among the group. Whip points out to one Sheila that Manu got while the getting was good, leading her to dismally exclaim “To think I was gonna lend him my surf wax.” There’s a double entendre in there somewhere.

Oh crap...Zoobilee Zoo!
They’ve soon rounded up the evil surfers and a police launch that already picked up Manu pulls up to collect his friends. Zorro even found the life chips on the boat, and carves a Z into the side before he and Scarlet Whip zoom away.

A surprisingly partial newscast reveals how the life chips were returned, “thanks to the courageous efforts of Zorro and the Scarlet Whip.” So if they’re generally regarded as heroes, why couldn’t Zorro warn Maria before, again?

Since wronged crime bosses like to keep things personal, Mayor Martinez is seen back on his yacht, about to make Manu and the other evil surfers walk the plank. Whoa, that’s not dark at all for a supposedly-humorous kiddie superhero cartoon.

No comments:

Post a Comment