Fantastic Fest: ‘Danger 5’ Is a Retro Storm of Absolute Awesome

By  · Published on September 25th, 2012

by Michael Treveloni

That jerk Hitler is up to his usual jazz of world domination. His constant scheming, inventing, and insane tactics are sure to win him a victory over this big blue marble sooner or later. As the candle of freedom flickers in a wretched 3rd Reich breeze, a dastardly force of ultra-secret agents assemble to ensure if anything is going to be snuffed out, it’s Hitler’s conquest. The heroes go by the name of Danger Five!

In their mountain mansion they brood, hard partying, waiting for orders from Colonel Chestbridge, their smooth leader who also happens to have the head of a bald eagle. When Hitler pops up, Chestbridge delivers the biscuits, hashing out the plan for the 5 to execute. With mission set, they’re destined to do their damnedest against their tiny mustachioed nemesis.

On the ground, Tucker, the Australian, is the cool-headed brains. From Russia, Ilsa brings her gutsy vigor with a penchant for booze and dustups. Claire is England’s contribution, her virginal priss is only outshone by her ability to make men swoon. Then there’s Pierre, the cocktail mixer and bongo virtuoso. Lastly there’s Jackson; he’s just good ol’ American freedom filtered through a short temper with brass balls big enough to carve a second Grand Canyon. Together they fight against the Fuhrer’s relentless nightmare factory. A factory whose business is booming.

From snowy mountain fortresses to a flying Japan to the land that time forgot, Danger 5 is on Hitler’s case like stink on lindberger, grating his heals every goose-step of the way. Hitler isn’t no lay down Sally though, he’s got dogs in this fight too, talking ones, and dinosaur men and huge robots.

From animation to miniatures to models to mattes, Danger 5 lays it on pudding-skin thick, all realized in amazingly gaudy detail. Utilizing techniques pioneered in the days they parody only strengthens the kitsch value. Puppet strings are left visible, claymation fights look goofy, and at no point is it ever out of place.

Danger 5 is one of the few shows that is actually as good as it sounds. It brims over with ’60s spy kitsch with a generous side of Thunderbirds, winking slyly the entire time to let you know it knows just how fantastic it is. The show’s creativity is never hampered by ability, moving effortlessly with an imagination that brings its ideas to life, regardless of how outlandish and bizarre they may be. Plain and simple, Danger 5 is a retro storm of absolute awesome.

The Upside: Everything. There isn’t a wasted minute on screen. Clever writing and great effects make it hard not to fall in love with.

The Downside: There are only six episodes. ONLY SIX.

On the Side: Creators Dario Russo and David Ashby work overtime on the series; doing everything from writing, directing and acting while also playing music and handling some of the shows many effects.

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