Review: ‘Fortune Hunter the Frostfire Intercept’

This new spy series, involving an agent out in the thaw on the heels of the Cold War, depends on old-hat material from countless films and TV shows and on not-so-dazzling gadgetry -- if you can't lick 'em with ingenuity, hit 'em over the head with a cliche. However, delighted viewers will be young and guileless enough to think it's all brand new, so "Fortune Hunter" is bound to be around for a while.

This new spy series, involving an agent out in the thaw on the heels of the Cold War, depends on old-hat material from countless films and TV shows and on not-so-dazzling gadgetry — if you can’t lick ’em with ingenuity, hit ’em over the head with a cliche. However, delighted viewers will be young and guileless enough to think it’s all brand new, so “Fortune Hunter” is bound to be around for a while.

Mark Frankel plays slick, Bondish Carlton Dial, now working for a spy bunch called Intercept on assignments handed to him by Mrs. Brady (played with a wry touch by guest-starring Anne Francis).

She tells him he’ll be working with tech whiz Harry Flack (John Robert Hoffman), who’s armed with an all-seeing, all-hearing device attached to Dial. The gadget magically displays all Dial’s activities on a widescreen in the aerie of the watchful Flack, and allows the two to communicate instantly with one another. Dial chases after a fiendish device called Frostfire that dissolves folks. Opportunistic trillionaire Jackson Roddam (Chris Sarandon) is carrying this ultimate weapon around on his oil tanker off Tangiers. Dial’s competition for the terrible weapon is Danielle Fabian (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson), patriotic Russian spy who’s only trying to protect her country.

Drugged drinks, an evil villain, poker in evening clothes, dinner-jacketed fights, explosions, electronic machinery and familiar plotting add up to a spyorama lampoon — it’s strictly second-bill action, off-the-rack dialogue (including one crude intrusion), unimaginative direction and casual acting.

Frankel plays his superspy with studied nonchalance, and Hoffman suggests the ever-vigilant, gleeful Flack is nothing more than a voyeur. Francis, of course, is all pro. Wheeler-Nicholson plays her Russian straight, and Sarandon limns the villain with traditional cool.

If it’s supposed to be a satire, the writer better look the word up. Meanwhile, pass the bubble gum.

Fortune Hunter the Frostfire Intercept

(Sun. (4), 7-8 p.m., Fox)

Production

Filmed in Orlando, Fla., by BBK Prods. Executive producers, Carlton Cuse, Frank Lupo; co-executive producers, Paul Stupin, Steve Aspis; supervising producer, Jack Bernstein; producers, Steven Beers, Boris Malden; director, Lewis Teague; writer/creator, Aspis.

Crew

Camera, Rick Bota; editor, Michael T. Elias; production designer, Okowita; sound, Thomas E. Allen Sr.; music, David Michael Frank.

Cast

Cast: Mark Frankel, John Robert Hoffman, Anne Francis, Dana Wheeler-Nicholson , Chris Sarandon, Tony Bolano, Max Brown, Tommy Canary, Carla Capps, Judy Clayton, Andrew Clark, Manuel Depina, John Fionte, Tim Goodwin, Andrew Heller, Hank Stone, Victor Helou, Lisa Hickey, Frank Hilgenberg, Michael Khoury, Heidi Mark, Michael Marzella, Jeff Moldovan, Montserrat Oliver.
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