The Grand Tour’s Richard Hammond’s has had more than one accident on the open roads of the world, but in The Great Escapists he takes his accident-prone self onto new ground – or water, as it turns out.
Joining forces with MythBusters’ Tory Belleci, Hammond learns to put his survival skills to the test in a fictionalised effort of life stranded on a desert island.
Washing up on shore after a shipwreck, the six-episode series follows Belleci and Hammond as they try and keep themselves alive until they can be rescued.
The time frame in which these adventures take place is not noted, but it doesn’t really matter – as the actual stars of the show are the big science set pieces that see them blowing stuff up, making electricity out of nothing and generally causing a nuisance for themselves.
Oh, and there’s also a football-headed dummy named Clarkson keeping them company for good measure.
The Great Escapists doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel when it comes to pop science shows, but it couldn’t have come at a more opportune moment – with dozens of families seeking ways to keep kids interested in education.
It might not have been entirely deliberate by the filmmakers, but The Great Escapists is perfect for this.
Hammond and Belleci make quite a good pairing, with Hammond’s childish persona a great match to Belleci’s straight ‘man with a plan’ who is consistently annoyed by his pal’s attempts to have fun.
While Belleci is creating a light house and help signs, Hammond is creating his own television show made out of a camcorder he’s charged with yukka plants and acid. As you do.
Naturally as time goes on, it devolves into chaos, with a pineapple canon and a soul-smelling air gun coming into play as their patience with each other wears thin.
The acting parts are probably the weakest link in the series, with the pair clearly not actors and therefore suffering through the means-to-an-end narrative thread connecting the experiments together.
There’s a little Home Alone thrown in for fun, and more than a couple of not-quite swear words to keep the parents interested should they try and make the kids sit down and watch it.
It’s unclear who the target audience is for this, with the scientific elements seemingly made for the 11-16 year olds, the slightly more adult humour there for the parents, and the extravagent explosions there for children.
But somehow it works, and while six episodes is a bit of a stretch, and it’s not really a ‘binge-watch’ kind of show, it’s definitely one that’ll pass some time, or at least some education hours.
- The Clarkson saga is a spin-off waiting to happen, as he may be the show’s true hero.
- You ever imagine what Pixar film Up would look like with condoms? You’re about to find out.
- We know why it was done, but don’t expect Hammond or Belleci to be tipped for the next Bond anytime soon with their acting skills.
The Great Escapists is silly, absurd fun – and possibly just what some parents might need in lockdown to help their children care about science.
From condom explosions to makeshift airplanes, Richard and Tory are really playing the big kids in the fictitious set up.
It might not be for everyone, with the ‘plot’ driving the big set pieces sometimes wearing a little thin, but it’s worth a look for fans of MythBusters and The Grand Tour.
At the very least it will keep the family quiet for a few hours.
The Great Escapists launches January 29 on Amazon Prime Video.
Credit: Original article published here.