The Hawaii Five-O Pantera Episode
A Movie Review by David Bell
(Actually it’s a TV show not a movie but then the title would sound sort of dumb so I changed it for artistic reasons)

I happened to be flipping channels on the TV the other day and as I passed by the local oldies channel a familiar looking wheel caught my eye.  So I backed up with the channel changer and sure enough there was a full frame Campy in official Ford Argent Silver.  Well now my curiosity is full on, so I sit there watching.  Then I see a close-up of a guy that looks vaguely like Ricardo Montelban in sunglasses and an orange helmet sitting in some kind of orange car.  I can't tell what type of car it is but I'm starting to think it might be a Pantera because I can see through the car past the driver and someone behind him is working on the engine - obviously mid or rear engine.  Then I catch a glimpse of the side gills and am for sure positive it's a Pantera.  Cut to music - da da da da, daaa, daa (you know, the Hawaii Five-O song) and the big giant wave, then a commercial.  Man I hate that show!
The only problem now is I have to watch this whole, entire Hawaii Five-O episode just to see the Pantera.  So I do, even though I have lots of more important things to do (all of a sudden for some reason I can't seem to remember what all those important things I need to do are). Turns out old Ricardo is a for-real racecar driver practicing for a hill climb - in Hawaii no less.  There's some nice though slightly fuzzy footage of the car winding up this one-lane, narrow road at speed to the top of the mountain.  Lots of shifting through a gated shifter and the console gauges and radio are also visible.  I was trying to read the temperature gauge to see if Richardo's Pantera overheats too but I never could quite make out the numbers.  The car also sounded nice but if you listen carefully you can tell it’s not a big American V-8 sound.  Still, very cool stuff.
Later we get to see several prolonged shots of the car up close in the garage while the cop mechanics check it out. They think someone's tampered with it trying to hurt Ricardo.  It's clearly a '71 push-button with the old tall tires on it.  I never liked orange but this one looks pretty good that way.  The director screwed up though because he didn't know I'd be watching and he showed someone reaching in through the passenger window to release the front decklid - and it wasn't even a right hand drive car.  Then, more footage of Ricardo practicing on the mountain road.  Panteras look really good drifting through corners with the rear hanging out.  Ricardo must be a really good driver because he didn't once go off the road backwards like I do.  Also, I saw him in a Star Trek movie once and he was driving a really big space ship - which is definitely much harder to do. He didn't crash the space ship either.
Back to the Hawaii Five-O plot: eventually Ricardo catches his son with the Pantera’s rear decklid up doing something completely sneaky to the ZF with a huge giant wrench (Hmmm, mine doesn't have any bolts that big).  Meanwhile I did get a nice clear view of the engine compartment complete with yellow condenser fan, the entire factory engine bay undercoating (really ugly), and a big blue stock air cleaner with the snorkle pointed to the left rear (only slightly ugly).  Anyway, it seems that the son wants dad dead because dad kicked mom out of the house many years ago.  But I guess the cops didn’t think that was a good enough excuse, because they all ran into the garage at the last minute to save Ricardo before the kid can brain him with the big ZF wrench.  Then the kid starts slobbering all over everybody because he wants to kill Ricardo so bad but the cops won't let him go.  I was mentally coaching Ricardo to move away from the car so if the kid got loose from the cops and tried to hit him with that big wrench again but missed, he wouldn't accidentally hurt the Pantera.  But the cops drag the slobbering kid away and Ricardo gets sort of choked up too - I think because the kid had scratched the Pantera's paint or maybe rounded off the corners on one of the ZF bolts because the big giant wrench was the wrong size.
Then the kid goes off to the loony farm for trying to kill his dad and the wife (a new one not the kid’s mother) leaves him and all he has left is his Pantera.  So I guess everything worked out fine after all (you know these TV shows always have to have a happy ending, right?). 
The show ends with Ricardo headed up the Tantalus Mountain in his orange push-button trying to break the all-time record to the top.  Lots of shots of the car while he revs the engine then gets the green flag and burns out.  I was sort of nervous that he was going to do a "Thelma and Louise" off the top of the hill and crash the car but lucky for me they did a freeze frame just as he was driving away.  Sort of like at the end of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (You know, I heard that Butch and Sundance didn't really die, it was just a movie thing).  Also, I know Ricardo escaped dying somehow because later that afternoon I saw him on that island with the midget.
The worst part of the whole deal is that I didn't get to see the name of the Hawaii Five-O episode and for some reason it never occurred to me to turn the VCR on to tape it.  So now I guess I'll just have to watch all the Hawaii Five-O's till the Pantera episode comes around again.  I really hate that show.
The Hawaii Five-O Pantera Episode
Part I – Reviewed 3 Months after Part II
I realize that just like me, probably everyone was holding their breath waiting to find out what happened in the first half of the Hawaii Five-O Pantera episode (you know where Ricardo Montelban's kid tried to sabotage his Pantera and then brain him with a ZF wrench) that I didn't get to see because I tuned in too late. Well after about 3 shows, I got sick and tired of watching Five-O reruns waiting for the Pantera episode to come around again.  I really do hate that show.
Lucky for me, I found out that there are scads of Hawaii Five-O web sites where fans can log on and discuss important psychological aspects of the TV series - or just to see pictures of bikini girls. Not me though, I only like the psychological stuff (just in case the wife is reading this). Anyway I found a guy who has VCR tapes of every single episode and he mailed me a copy of Hawaii Five-O Episode 98, 'Death Wish on Tantalus Mountain' (he also wanted to know all about Panteras so he could put it on the Five-O web site).  Very cool!
So I watched the tape.  The first thing that happens is that Ricardo Montelban is ordering everyone on a dock around to get them to help unload a big metal container from a ship to a truck (where's that little midget when you need him?).  Richardo's obviously multi-talented, as he knows all about dockwork as well as driving racecars, spaceships, and running magic islands (except I been told the midget really did most of the work there, which is why I can't figure out why he wasn't in the Hawaii Five-O episode).  I guess that's where Richardo got his Pantera money - from knowing everything about everything.  Anyway, then they open the container doors and out rolls a really nice yellow pre-L which some cute little Hawaiian girl decorates with a lay (No - the flower kind not the porno kind. This is a family show). Lots of good shots of the car and then a Pantera TV exclusive, the car rolls down the ramps right over the top of the camera and we get to see the whole entire underside of the car.  It was so realistic, for a second I got scared I was going to get squashed - but then I remembered it was just a TV show.
Anyway Ricardo wants to use the Pantera to set the world hill-climb record up Tantalus Mountain so he takes the car home and parks it in the garage so he can race it the next day. Sorry, no footage of him driving it home.  But, later that night his mechanic, who is I guess a homeless person who sleeps on a sofa next the garage, hears a noise and wanders into the garage to see what’s going on.  While I'm sort of distracted looking at the cool yellow Pantera (which is being adjusted in the dark by someone with a big wrench), the mechanic's shadow gets brained by the shadow of some other guy with a shadow of a big gigantic wrench (very Hichcock like). Ouch, you know he be dead!
If the mechanic had watched the second half of the show first like I did then he would have known he was going to get killed all over the garage floor and would probably have just stayed on the sofa bed.  But if he hadn't gotten whacked so his brains all leaked out then they wouldn't have called Hawaii Five-O to investigate.  Isn’t it amazing how the details of these incredibly twisted plots seem to all fit together eventually?
Now McGarrett (the big haired Five-O detective) is really suspicious that the mechanic dying from brains on the garage floor is not just an accident, especially since his body ended up with a chalk line all around it.  Eventually, just about every citizen of Hawaii is a murder suspect and it's McGarrett's job to figure the whole mess out.  Didn’t I tell you it was complicated – with lots of psychological stuff too!  That must be why I hate this show so much.  And now I know why they have so many Hawaii Five-O web sites cause nobody could figure out anything without some help.
Then just when I think my head is about to bust trying to hold everything, the plot gets even stickier.  Ricardo hires the best mechanic on the west coast (besides Jack DeRyke) to check out the car to make sure it didn't get sabotaged (Did you know that sabotage comes from sabot, the Dutch word for shoe, and originally described damage to floors caused by wooden shoes.  That's just a little of the important psychological stuff you learn watching TV!).  Then the new mechanic decides to test drive the yellow Pantera up Tantalus Mountain. The car looks great, and the mechanic is going really fast, drifting through the bends and the engine sounds great too except, as Mike Drew told me later, it’s a Ferrari engine sound (I'll have to bring that up on the Five-O web site).
Then just when you think he's going to set the world hill-climb record instead of Ricardo, the mechanic's eyes get real big and he starts jerking the steering wheel back and forth and pushing all the pedals in the car at the same time and you just know he's going to fly off the cliff because all of a sudden he forgot how to drive or there's a snake in the seat with him. It sort of reminds me of that scene from 'Driving Miss Daisy' where Miss Daisy gets confused which is the gas and the brake and crashes her big old Chrysler and ends up with a chauffeur.  But then all of a sudden, the mechanic crashes into a rock wall instead of going off the cliff and all the fenders fly off the Pantera and it turns into a Formula 1 car (excellent trick photography) and then bursts into flames just like Mad Dog's car. Instead of getting a chauffeur like Miss Daisy though, the mechanic just got dead. Personally, I'm thinking he deserved it anyway for crashing Ricardo's yellow Pantera.
Now McGarrett is even more suspicious (and would have pulled all his hair out except it’s held down with about 50 pounds of hair spray or maybe even concrete mix painted black) because the crashed car is too burned up to find any new evidence. But he's (McGarrett) pretty sure the second mechanic guy died too because the mechanic doesn't show up when they yell for him and also they found a toasty, crispy body in the F1/Pantera he was driving.  Now get your notepad ready! It turns out that Ricardo's wife is being blackmailed by someone who took 'dirty pictures' of her before she met Ricardo and the cops photographed her paying this guy $10,000 and the guy gets caught with the bloody ZF wrench which killed the first mechanic under the back seat of his car and McGarrett thinks the wife paid a hit man to kill Ricardo so she could get his Pantera. Wow!!  Can you believe this was actually on TV and that poor old McGarrett had to try figure it all out in only 60 minutes (minus commercial time)?? Even Sherlock and Watson would have had trouble with this one.
So all this stuff makes Ricardo very angry and he decides to get a new Pantera and drive it even faster (this must be where the 'Death Wish' title came from but you'll have to check out the Five-O web site to be sure) than the one the best mechanic on the west coast besides Jack DeRyke crashed.  Anyway I guess since all the Pantera mechanics in the world are either dead or afraid to come to Hawaii, Ricardo has to work on his new Pantera (an orange push-button this time) all by himself - but with his kid's help.  The two of them end up checking the new Pantera from top to bottom including tightening the lug nuts and adjusting the clutch and very luckily they discover that one of the battery terminal clamps is loose.  Now all the non-automotive types who are watching the show think that is what crashed the first Pantera but I'm not so sure because I've very alertly noticed that the big shadow wrench that killed the first mechanic's shadow was way too big for a battery clamp. I think they're just trying to keep everyone on their toes. The suspense just doesn't stop on the big Five-O.
So now we're all set up for Part II - which I already wrote about before Part I.  So you may want to go back and read Part II again just to keep everything straight.
By the way, the Hawaii Five-O Pantera episode tape will be available for showing at any Space City Panteras club meeting (Houston, Tx).  Drop in if you're in town. Be sure to wear your best Hawaii shirt.  If you don't have any Hawaii shirts then an old bowling shirt will do, as they kind of look the same anyway.