Jeff Bridges and John Lithgow bring life to the spy drama 'The Old Man'

The spy genre is so well worn one would think there’s not much new to be done, ma “Il vecchio” confonde ampiamente queste aspettative, grazie alla combinazione stellare di Jeff Bridges e John Lithgow. Seeking a precedent for this FX series, the best might beRobin and Marian,” in which Robin Hood’s swashbuckling met up with the cold realities of creaking bones and geriatric limitations.

BridgesCIA operative Dan Chase has been in hiding for years, living off the grid for reasons that gradually begin to come into shape through flashbacks. (Bill Heck plays him as a younger guy, engaged in covert action in the Middle East.)
It takes a lot to bring him out of retirement, but he’s prepared when that happens, with Lithgow’s world-weary spy chief, Harold Harper, knowing full well that rounding him up is going to be more difficult than his subordinates assume. Just to extend theRobin and Mariananalogy, Harper is very much like the Sheriff of Nottingham in that 1976 classic, assigned to hunt this character down but taking no pleasure in the prospect, and irritated by the young hotheads upon whom he must rely.
    You aren’t the guy you remember,” Harper warns Chase by phone, hoping to avoid the worst of it.
      He isn’t, but he’s still resourceful and plenty dangerous, along with his very loyal dogs, as those sent to neutralize him discover. Infatti, “Il vecchio” (based on Thomas Perry’s book, and adapted for TV bySee’sJonathan E. Steinberg and Robert Levine) features an inordinately brutal fight scene, in part because there’s nothing pretty or choreographed about it. When Chase warns his daughter, “You don’t know how ugly these things can get when they get ugly,” he isn’t kidding.
        The limited-series format brings with it some of the usual disclaimers, including the fact that the show takes its time getting to the meat in the four episodes previewed, including a detour involving Amy Brenneman as an innocent bystander drawn into this perilous world. Yet Bridges (whose health issues and battle with cancer add a rather poignant real-world aspect to the proceedings) proves greatly effective as the gnarled spythink Jason Bourne if he lived long enough to qualify for AARP membership.
          There’s nothing particularly novel about the scenario, but nor does there really need to be. Because while Chase might not be the guy he remembers being, in terms of holding an audience’s attention, Bridges and Lithgow put thisOld Manin good hands.
            “Il vecchio” premieres June 16 on FX and on Hulu.

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