Sunday, 26 May 2013

Mad Dogs 3, Sky1, with John Simm, Philip Glenister, Marc Warren, Max Beesley

Mad Dogs III - Episode 1 .Selected Stills - Exterior Airfield South Africa; Rick (MARK WARREN) doesn't think he can do it alone! Sky1
Don't look now – Rick (Marc Warren) faces a threatening future alone. Pics: BSkyB
Rating: ★★★

Sky1: starts Tuesday, 4 June, 9pm

Story: After the law finally caught up with them at the end of the last series, Woody, Quinn, Baxter and Rick are now being interrogated in a dilapidated prison in the Moroccan desert.

THOSE MAD DOGS who managed to turn a fun reunion in Spain into the holiday from hell involving stolen drug money and murder are now hitting their third series.

The law of diminishing returns dictates that this should be poorer than those preceding it. But while it is not as engaging or funny as the first series, it does pack surprises and have the guts to take the story on a new trajectory. 

Jaime Winstone as Mercedes

Woody (Max Beesley), Quinn (Philip Glenister), Baxter (John Simm) and Rick (Marc Warren) find
Mad Dogs III - EPISODE 1..Woody (Max Beesley). SKY ONE
Caged – Woody (Max Beesley)
themselves in a rundown interrogation centre in the Moroccan desert as episode one starts. The treatment they get is rough, they look rough and there's a tough young female prisoner there giving them a hard time.

This is Jaime Winstone playing Mercedes, and she seems to be following in dad Ray's footsteps by being the hardest character on display. Mercedes is a soldier who strayed but shows her combat readiness by throwing Quinn to the ground.

She's also a lot more clued-up than the clueless foursome. When Quinn whinges about their rights being infringed by their incarceration, Mercedes tells them, 'This place doesn't exist.'

Mad Dogs is again intriguing, surreal and pretty silly 

Sky1 Mad Dogs III - Episode 1 Exterior Airfield South Africa - The boys step out of the aircraft when its landed. Woody (MAX BEESLEY), Quinn (PHILIP GLENISTER), Baxter (JIOHN SIMM) and Rick (MARK WARREN)
Flying by the seat of their pants – Baxter, Woody, Rick and Quinn
They are, of course, in this pickle after being duped by Mackenzie (David Warner) at the end of series two. Instead of arriving in Barcelona with the three-million euros, the ship container they were travelling in turned up in Morocco, where they were greeted by armed men who took the money.

Writer Cris Cole instils the new series with intrigue and surreal touches again, including a scary little African figure haunting proceedings this time. It's a disorientating touch, similar to 'Tiny' Blair's appearance in series one.

That was a triumph for Sky1 in 2011, getting nominated for a Bafta and winning terrific ratings for a non-terrestrial channel (episode one got 1.6 million viewers). The plot was slow in places but the theme of old mates meeting up in disappointed middle age – and played with relish by the four actors – gave the drama emotional impact while the lads got sucked into Alvo's criminal enterprise.

The lads are now on the run from the CIA

This new series has lost much of that as the foursome's characters are subsumed in a hectic story. Where 'Tiny' Blair was bizarre, funny and sinister, here the scary masked figure is part of a more
Mad Dogs III - EPISODE 1..Rick (Marc Warren) interrogated SKY ONE
Wired – Rick under interrogation
confusing set-up.

Anton Lesser eventually turns up as Alex, who appears to be from the British government and tells the guys they are on a CIA hit list (don't ask). From there the drama spins off into another country and another cliffhanger.

Mad Dogs is now a story charging along so fast it's hard to get a grip on who's who and what's happening. The final moments of this opener do, however, set up some interesting possibilities for the remaining three episodes, so perhaps the dogs will stop chasing their tails and the series can recapture its earlier charm and character focus.