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After sacrificing everything for his country, Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) is on the run in Africa, protecting his own freedom. But the freedom of innocent young native children becomes threatened when ruthless warlord Colonel Iké Dubaku (Hakeem Kae-Kazim) begins drafting boys into his murderous militia. Jack gets caught up in the events when the American missionary school run by his friend Carl Benton (Robert Carlyle) is targeted by the militia. Meanwhile in Washington, as preparations are in force for the initiation of the new President Elect, Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones), a conspiracy unfolds revealing the sordid dealings of Jonas Hodges (Jon Voight) and his colleagues.

Review by Louise Keller:
Based on the TV series 24, this stand-alone adventure thriller finds Kiefer Sutherland's Jack Bauer keeping a low profile in the fictional African country of Sangala. It plays a little like an extended episode, although that is not necessarily a bad thing. Fans of the series will be well satisfied (it bridges the gap between Seasons 6 and 7), and those (like me), who have only heard of its success, can enjoy watching Sutherland playing an appealing and reluctant hero, as he saves a group of African children targeted for kidnapping by the militia. Director Jon Cassar ably folds in the story strands as the narrative (in real time, with the familiar digital clock beating and multiple-camera perspective) jumps from Sangala to Washington, where disturbing terrorist links are discovered.

In the film's opening scenes, we watch in horror as a young African boy is initiated into the brutal militia. Quickly setting the scene, we immediately understand what is the redemptive task on which exiled Jack Bauer is about to embark. Jack's idealist friend Carl Benton (Robert Carlyle) asks if he is doing penance for all his sins when he ignores the outstanding subpoena he has been avoiding for the past year investigating his interrogation tactics. The film's most satisfying relationship is that between Jack and Willie (Siyabulela Ramba), one of the youngsters who have taken a shine to him. The action scenes with the soldiers pursuing and abducting children in the lead up to the military coup are chilling and reminiscent of similar ones in Blood Diamond. Even though he says to the contrary, we know Jack won't be leaving - after all, the boys at the American School are counting on him to protect them.

Split screen action takes us to Washington, where the imminent inauguration of the new President Elect (Cherry Jones) is about to take place. Script writer Howard Gordon may have been gambling on Hilary Clinton's election to keep things topical: the private conversation between the outgoing and incoming presidents is an interesting moment. Good to see Jon Voight as a corporate villain, and the story strand involving Kris Lemche's pill-popping, troubled executive and the son of the new president is well handled.

DVD special features include a making of documentary, Children of War featurette, Season 6 featurette and a sneak peek at Season 7.

Published February 12, 2009

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(US, 2008)

CAST: Kiefer Sutherland, Cherry Jones, Bob Gunton, Colm Feore, Powers Boothe, Robert Carlyle, Jon Voight

PRODUCER: Paul Gadd, Michael Klick

DIRECTOR: Jon Cassar

SCRIPT: Howard Gordon


EDITOR: Scott Powell

MUSIC: Sean Callery

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Henry du Rand, Joseph A. Hodges

RUNNING TIME: 102 minutes


SPECIAL FEATURES: Behind the scenes, Children of War featurette; Season 6 featurette; Season 7 sneak peek

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: February 11, 2009

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