It’s like a sci-fi Die Hard with androids. It’s high concept, fun, quippy, and while not the most original premise, Almost Human is executed and packaged in an appealing hour of non-stop action. It’s like if Robocop, Lethal Weapon, Blade Runner, and Battlestar Galactica all smashed into other with preternatural force combining into one super show.
Almost Human is the buddy movie you never knew you desired, where the straight man is a flawed and nearly broken human cop and the comic relief is an Elton John singing android. The banter between John Kennex and Dorian is masterful as the two try to rescue a group of hostages in a skyscraper from a group of seemingly hi-tech militant terrorists. Make no mistake, it was Die Hard, all the way to the terrorist act masking a hi-tech robbery, but the genre bender worked with the relationship of Kennex and Dorian growing with each flight of stairs the unlikely duo climbed. It’s hard to organically grow a relationship between such a pair of disparate characters, but by focusing on the robot and the human’s willingness to sacrifice themselves for justice, J.J. Abrams and company foster a great bond between the two.
The same care is given to the setting, is the futuristic cityscape feels as organic as the newly minted mutual respect between android and cop. When Kennex wakes up, and viewers see him without his organic leg for the first time, the visual is so arresting because it so matter of fact. Kennex charges his artificial leg like you or I would charge a smart phone, and the act drives home that the contrasts this future world possesses with is just enough overlap with reality that it does not force the audience to disconnect.
The villains, led by Lucas Vincent played by Justified’s Dewey Crow his own self, Damon Herriman, are seriously bad news and from the moment they kill a security guard (who the show does a great job in humanizing) the audience will want to see Kennex and Dorian lay down the hammer of justice. The show utilizes future technology in a way that is cool without being obtrusive, creating a world where the unexpected is almost mundane. It’s a buddy cop romp, a police procedural and a very human but dystopian action driven cop story that moves at a breakneck pace so audiences don’t focus on the fact that they are really just watching Die Hard with some bells and whistles attached.
The show is a story engine that won’t run out of gas anytime soon because Dorian is eminently watchable and Karl Urban can do no wrong. Urban is part puppy dog and part meat head who gets by on stubbornness and instinct, while Dorian is almost the more ironically human of the pair. Whether the show will remain this watchable if it continues to riff off established action tropes remains to be seen, but so far, so good.
Den of Geek Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars