Five-0 Redux: Stellar stunts elevate season four

Jun. 21, 2014 | 9 Comments

BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser

Season four of “Hawaii Five-0” has been one of the strongest since its debut in 2010. Not only are the storylines better and characters more developed, but there have always been amazing action and stunt scenes in the forefront of the show.

Between the strong writing by Peter Lenkov and his team, great direction and a stunt team led by stunt coordinator and director Jeff Cadiente, “Five-0” has figured out the winning formula for a hit television show.

While I usually spend my summer reflecting on the past season, I can’t help but think about all the great action that propels not only the plot of the show, but also helps to further develop the relationships between main characters. The action in each episode also tends to reveal the thoughts and motives of secondary characters, who are often deeply involved with the week’s procedural or a particular character arc or storyline.

I had a much longer list of favorite action scenes this season, so I broke everything down into four main categories to highlight a few of my favorite explosions, car chases, fights and shootouts of the season.

BEST EXPLOSIONS

While “Hawaii Five-0” is no stranger to blowing things up, this season some of the explosions have made more of an impact on an episode’s storyline instead of just being a cool effect.

In the season premiere for season four, the destruction of Danno’s (Scott Caan) Camaro was a sad moment for fans, as most were very used to watching McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) driving Danno’s silver bullet as they worked a case.

The scene was even more action packed with Chin (Daniel Dae Kim) engaging in a shoot out with El Condor (Nestor Serrano) and his crew (Henry Ian Cusick, Martha Higareda and Eddie Fernandez).

Another detonation that served as a major event within a storyline was the explosion and building collapse in “Kū I Ka Pili Koko” (“Blood Brothers”), which not only revealed more about McGarrett and Danno and their relationship, but also helped to explain Danno’s new love, Amber (Lili Simmons), as well as his fears about being a good father.

Wo Fat’s (Mark Dacascos) timely escape from a maximum security prison in the season finale “ʻO Ka Pili ʻOhana Ka ʻOi” (“Family Comes First”) was another explosion that really made an impact. Fans loved how it confirmed, as well as progressed, the mystery surrounding Wo Fat and McGarrett’s mother, Doris (Christine Lahti).

BEST CAR CHASES

“Hawaii Five-0” has some of the best car chases on television. Not only is Hawaii the best backdrop for scenic speed, but the fun twists McG tends to throw in always give the typical car chase scene its definitive “Five-0” flair.

Along with Kono (Grace Park) and Adam (Ian Anthony Dale) being chased in the streets of Hong Kong and Danno on the run from the HPD with McG while trying to shield Roy Parrish (Michael Madsen), car chases on the show this season have been cool and intense at the same time.

One car chase, interestingly enough, involved horses. In “Akanahe” (“Reluctant Partners”) McG and Grover (Chi McBride) chase bank robbers on horseback and start a cowboy-style shootout while trying to stop their suspects.

One car chase that encompassed all fans love about “Five-0” has to have been the clown car chase in the season finale. I loved watching McG and Danno race through Waikiki in a small, three-wheeled red scooter, snipping at each other like an old married couple — yet still being able to catch their man.

BEST FIGHTS AND FOOT CHASES

Of fights and foot chases, McG wins on his feet and Chin takes the belt for fights this season. Not that Danno didn’t get his licks in, but Chin and McG seemed to be the ones who took the lead in this category.

Chin had two great fight scenes with his ( brother-in-law Gabriel (Christopher Sean)) in “Hana Lokomaikaʻi” (“The Favor”).

Chin also fought a serial killer while being tied up and stabbed. This season was just another reminder of his fighting abilities on the show.

I would be remiss in mentioning the amazing fight scene between Cath (Michelle Borth) and Yakuza henchman Hideaki Kuroda (Brian Tee) in “Ua Nalohia” (“In Deep”). One of the longest fight scenes of the season, Cath definitely held her own in order to get information that could help Kono find Adam.

While McG is better known for his fighting ability, he had some amazing foot chases this season, with the coolest having to be when he chased a wannabe terrorist. He even jumped from the roof of one building to another at one point during the scene.

Another foot chase — that turned into a gunfight, a fistfight and then a very cool motorcycle stunt — saw McG and Danno chase bad guy Ellis Gregory (Will Oak Wild) at the Honolulu Museum of Art.

Of course, our heroes succeed, engaging Gregory and his mates in a museum shootout and a bit of one-on-one combat. I love when they work together; McG shot Gregory’s tire out and Danno got him with a good right hook.

BEST GUNFIGHTS

What’s an episode of “Five-0” without a little gunplay? I’ll just mention the biggest scenes that made an impact this season.

When McG and Cath faced the Taliban in Afghanistan and McG was almost beheaded, viewers were on the edge of their seats. That was a more serious gunfight, both in the ambush of McG and Cath, as well as the gunfight when McG was rescued by his fellow SEALs.

Another great scene fans loved was the gunfight in in “Nā Hala a ka Makua” (Sins of the Father), as it coupled a fantastic car chase with a major shootout.

Things didn’t seem that serious when bullets started flying (there was time for a romantic argument in the middle of it) after Danno and McG took Roy Parrish to see a man who could clear his name. Unfortunately, it turned into a pretty nasty shootout and they had to be saved by the rest of Five-0, as well as Grover and his HPD SWAT team.

One of the best action scenes that gave fans a glimpse of what was to come in season four was the big car chase, gunfight and helicopter stunt that pitted McG against El Condor and his crew.

Fans loved the action and suspense of watching the Five-0 team engage in a major shootout, only to see their vehicle flip and McG chase the crew into Aloha Stadium where a getaway chopper waited. McG handily jumped aboard to fight El Condor and his henchmen, eventually tossing him out of the helicopter to his death.

BEST SCENE

I can’t leave one of the best action scenes of the season off my list. The reenactment of the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 in “Hoʻonani Makua Kāne” (“Honor thy Father”) has been well documented on the Pulse.

The opening scene, including a view of what it was like on the ground with soldiers and sailors fighting back and their world exploding around them, seems to be so much more than just categorizing it as best of the season.

Hopefully, the accolades this episode deserves will help build the show’s reputation as a strong dramatic series. I’m sure the cast and crew are proud of the work they’ve done this season, as is evidenced in every episode they’ve produced.
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Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

  • Linda M. Stein

    What a great idea for this week Wendie! I can remember tuning in to watch this new version of Hawaii Five-0 not knowing what to expect. It took the first scene of the pilot, what Peter Lenkov would call “event TV” to show me this wasn’t the old Five-O at all and I was totally hooked (my first sight of Alex didn’t hurt either, of course LOL). I have never looked back since. Season 4 has continued and actually upped the ante on all the great action while still bringing me all the character and personal scenes with these people I love so much.

    Week after week I sit and watch these stunts, explosions, high jumps off buildings, etc. and think “how the hell do they DO that and not get hurt?” It is a testament to Peter and the writers but most of all to Jeff Cadiente and his fantastic crew who plan, organize and execute these stunners every week. Also to the cast who do their own portion of the stunts as much as they can (or are allowed to). It adds a realism to everything we see no matter how mind blowing the scenes are. It elevates the show above a “just the facts mame” type of police show and makes me feel like I’m watching a movie every week instead of just TV.

    I agree Wendie that Season 4 ranks right up there with Season 1. Everything just clicked for me this season and I can not wait to see what they have in store for us in Season 5.

  • Robin Jane Bridges

    I liked them all!

  • Dina

    Love this piece Wendie!!! (ppssstttttt let’s hope Amber isn’t Danno’s love forever – IMHO he is still has feelings for Rachel and vis versa hehehe )

  • Angela Gerstner

    Just a short comment today since it’s super-late at my end of the planet – I had a great time with two lovely fans of Alex :-)
    Jeff and his team are almost personal heroes to me cause they are doing such an awesome job and they are risking their health to do the stunts for the main cast. There have been quite a few injuries and I just hope that nobody ever gets badly hurt while filming the show.
    A huge Mahalo to Jeff and the fantastic stunt team!

  • alavenia

    Awesome article Wendie, I agree season 4 had the best stunts, great writing and the best explosions! Thank you!

  • Sam

    Season 4 was my favorite season for various reasons, action just one of them. There were a few things in it I’m still not over and still angry about, but that has nothing to do with their great and wonderful stunt work. And their writing for that part of the show. That really is top notch. Kudos to the stunt team, and the actors who are allowed to do a bit of it.
    I think the season opener is the winner in all the categories, and well deservedly so. That was one hell of an episode.
    What I’m dearly missing is some hand-to-hand-combat with Steve. That was so long ago that we had that. And Steve is so darn good with it, I think it’s a shame they don’t give us more of that.
    One thing is for sure, they had some great action sequences in season four and I’m looking forward to see how they will top that in season five.
    Guys, bring it on, I’m ready. :-)
    Thank you, Wendy, for showing us again this great side of Five-0.

  • edmattes763

    Jeff Cadiente’s stunt crew does excellent work. The chase scene in Hong Kong was actually filmed in Hong Kong. And because Grace could not come to Hawaii at the time, they went to her in Vancouver to film the rest of the scene (which matches pretty well and was actually on the show for maybe 3 min.)
    And I love the authenticity of the Pearl Harbor scene, The trays they were eating off of were the ones the Navy used forever. And outside of the mess hall, there was a yellow stop sign which would have been use at the time (my online research says that yellow stop signs began to be phased out in the early 1950s).
    Season 4 stunt work will take its place among the excellent sequences in many seasons … like McGarrett jumping across the crashing cars in the Pilot or the excellent skydiving sequence in Season 2.

  • Brenda

    Great choices Wendie for all of these. Well done.

  • Diane

    Season 4 was my favorite as well. Thank you so much for posting the scenes that you wrote of, loved looking back at them. I will miss Catherine and thought that was a great fight scene. The car chases, the explosions, great stunt work, and acting. A nice balance to the personal character growth and back stories. They will start filming in a couple of weeks for season 5. I think there was a lot of growth this season, not just the characters, but the writing as well.