Icons of Action

December 11, 2013

Icons of Action: Jack Bauer

We haven’t done a TV Icon before but I think if ever there’s a good place to start it’s with 24’s Jack Bauer, played by Kiefer Sutherland.

24 ran for 8 successful Seasons, each almost unbearably tense as Jack works with CTU (Counter-Terrorism Unit) to prevent various attacks on the US.

Jack starts off as a total hero but there are moments in the series where you begin to question his sanity, especially by the time we reach season 8 and he is torturing a bad guy very brutally. His methods can be extreme… yet effective, causing debates about torture and its use on prisoners.

In Season 7, Jack discusses his methods with Renee Walker where he says the following:

I see fifteen people held hostage on a bus, and everything else goes out the window. I will do whatever it takes to save them, and I mean whatever it takes. … Laws were written by much smarter men than me. And in the end, these laws have to be more important than the 15 people on the bus. I know that’s right. In my mind, I know that’s right. I just don’t think my heart could ever have lived with it.”

This was one of the best things about the show; in a post 9/11 world, it made you think about actions and consequences and doesn’t provide easy answers.

According to Wikipedia: “Jack Bauer was born in Santa Monica, California, on February 18, 1966, to Phillip Bauer, who placed his livelihood in his company, BXJ Technologies. The name of Jack’s mother is unknown. Jack had one brother, Graeme Bauer. Philip originally planned to give the company to Jack, but as Jack said in Day 6, “I just had to go my own way”.

Jack has lost nearly everyone he loves, including his wife Teri who was killed by a mole within CTU called Nina Myers. His daughter Kim has a rocky relationship with him at best but she eventually understands that he does what he has to for the greater good; if he has to sacrifice himself he will.

One of his closest allies is Tony Almeida, another all-round hero, however after the first few seasons Tony (who is meant to be dead) appears looking for revenge against the people he held responsible for the death of his wife. Both he and Jack have lost so much but Jack still manages to essentially be the hero… no matter the cost.

There is meant to be a new 24 Series coming soon which will be 12 episodes long… shouldn’t it be called 12? There was also talk of a movie and even a crossover with the Die Hard movies called Die Hard 24/7. I would have loved to see McClane and Bauer on-screen together but sadly it never materialized.

Jack Bauer remains Kiefer Sutherland’s most iconic character and even though Jack has done questionable things for the greater good, it can’t be denied that at heart he is a hero.

About the Author

Eoin Friel
Eoin Friel

I grew up watching JCVD, Sly and Arnold destroy bad guys, blow things up and spew one-liners like it’s a fashion statement. Action is everything I go to the movies for and the reason I came up with this site is to share my love for the genre with everyone.



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