Romano Orzari (second from right) stars in 24 Hour Rental a new TV series written by Al Kratina and debuting SuperChannel Feb. 18, 2014. Photo courtesy of SuperChannel
By Denise Duguay
24 Hour Rental
Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 at 11 p.m. ET on Super Channel, repeating at 3 a.m. Feb. 19 and 1 a.m. Feb. 23.
Tuesdays 11 p.m. ET on Super Channel
Small-time criminal Tracker owes $56,000 to slightly bigger time criminal with a pocket knife and creepy old-world stories about how he’s used it “to remove the eye from the eye hole” of his foes. Somehow, Tracker gets more time to repay the debt. What’s Tracker’s next play? No doubt one of his friends and even smaller time criminals (well, one’s an ex-cop) will get him out of the jam.
By which I mean drag him deeper and deeper into a hole until… Well, the outline is already set in the opening scene, in which Tracker addresses the camera: “This is where I ended up, in an empty mansion with blood stains on the cushions. I don’t even know how I got here, and I’ve got no idea what’s going to happen next, but I know how it all got started.”
24 Hour Rental – Opening Title from 24 Hour Rental on Vimeo.
Primary cast and crew
Romano Orzari (White House Down, Durham County, Omertà – Le dernier des hommes d’honneur) is Tracker, small-time criminal with hapless friends, nasty enemies, very bad luck and a failing video store. On the plus side, he’s a devoted son.
Michael Biehn (Terminator, Grindhouse) is Buzz, ex-cop with a few tattered remaining connections and a love of animals. But not in that “awe, cute!” way you’re thinking.
Adam Kenneth Wilson (Lost Girl, Flashpoint) is Ace, drug dealer and henchman with very poor judgment in footwear. Who gets to say the line: “I ain’t no fucking finger bitch.”
Aaron Berg (standup comic, Elementary, Breakout Kings) is Floyd, Tracker’s oldest friend and henchman. He’s in love with his wife. Unfortunately.
Vlasta Vrana (19-2, RED2, Bonanno) is Khvisto, the scary crime boss with a scary son.
Mike Smith (Call Me Fitz, Bubbles from Trailer Park Boys) is Paul, the smarmy owner of the successful video store down the block.
Gavin Crawford (Robson Arms, This Hour Has 22 Minutes) is J.R., sneering film snob who works in Tracker’s 24 Hour Video store.
Al Kratina (occasional Gazette contributor, Sorority Surrogate, Criminal Seduction, My Daughter Must Live) wrote the series, inspired in part by his stint working at Montreal’s Movieland.
Frank Massa is the co-writer and creator.
George Mihalka (My Bloody Valentine, Lost Girl, Da Vinci’s Inquest, Omertà – Le dernier des hommes d’honneur) directed the series.
24 Hour Rental – Promo “Tracker” from 24 Hour Rental on Vimeo.
But what do I know anyway? After having seen two episodes…
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Full disclosure. Series writer Al Kratina is a friend and occasional Gazette colleague, which both made me want to review this show (despite not doing a lot of reviewing lately) and nervous in case I hated it. No need for worry.
A very black comedy, 24 Hour Rental is a hilarious, ultraviolent sendup of and love letter to movie geeks, mob movies, film and TV antiheroes like Tony Soprano and Walter White and people who love unconditionally those psychopaths . If 2 Broke Girls makes you throw up a little in your mouth, this might be the show to cleanse your palate.
If not, this might be a little like seeing a punk band in 1982 at your favourite disco bar. A little jarring. Tracker is an idiot. Most of these characters are idiots who make terrible decisions and occasionally ignore logic. No matter. These idiots grab your attention. When the first episode opened with Tracker addressing the camera and setting the stage for the story of how a $56,000 debt had ruined his life, my hopes of seeing smart funny TV rose like the smoke from his cigarette. I love the episode openings, with a different character each week addressing the camera directly.
I love the quirks, like Floyd’s devotion to his wife, a shrewish hooker and shrewd entrepreneur. I love the passing nods to the likes of George Romero* (episode title: Don of the Dead). I love a series or film that opens at the end and flashes back. Done well, landing right back on the X painted in the opener, it is my favourite story style. But it sets a high standard, removing the safety net of TV’s wasting disease of the wandering storyline. I look forward to seeing if 24 Hour Rental is up to that narrative challenge and to seeing if it maintains the quality of the first two episodes.