Mr. T & The Mystery On The Rocky Mountain Express
Review By: Gringo

Mr. T is back! And yes, this time he's brought his catchphrase with him! This cartoon was the second of two episodes contained on the joy-machine video I bought from someone, somewhere via eBay. To increase the fun tenfold, good old 'T even says "foo" this time round, but he makes you wait for it. The show begins as always with a personalised introduction from the buffed one (wearing many medallions in a gym. Sense?). Whilst riding an exercise bike, he says something about not giving up and how it can affect everyone else. I wasn't paying too much attention because I was eager to learn exactly how Mr. T and his team got involved . Thankfully, he promised viewers the answer would soon be revealed. Less thankfully, he failed to warn viewers that what would follow equated to twenty minutes of headache-inducing stupidity.

The sight of Mr. T in a gym fades out as the cartoon kicks off. If you've not read my review of Mr. T & The Mystery Of The Mind Thieves (shame on you!) then let me introduce you quickly to the show's setup. Apparently after leaving The A-Team, Mr. T got himself involved with a group of teenage gymnasts, a bulldog and Alice from The Brady Bunch. They all travel around on a large bus - like the Partridge Family - and compete in gymnastic events - less like the Partridge Family - which normally lead them, however inexplicably, into some mindless adventure. Not at all like the Partridge Family. Anyway! This particular event is taking place in some large, nameless American city. The team's Mexican member tries his best, but fails miserably, seriously reducing their chance of success. And do you know what the Mexican guy is called? Garcia Lopez. Right. That must have taken all of three minutes to come up with. Mind you, they probably had the script finished within two.

When Garcia falls from the fancy gym equipment inside some curiously empty stadium, he really feels bad about it. Instantly you get a good insight into the personalities of the various team members. Suzy Nakamura (whose father caused the team so much trouble with that Mind Thieves fiasco) bitches at Garcia and blames him for losing his concentration, for putting the team's success in doubt, for a car jacking in another state, for trying to kill the President and finally for World War II. Mr. T on the other hand is far more philosophical. He offers his sage advice that "somedays you eat the bear, somedays the bear eats you". I'm sorry? Maybe this is a commonplace expression in some places, but I've never heard it. Not once. Garcia's response to this upbeat proposition is heartbreakingly soul-searching, with the Mexican one saying, "I really blew it, amigo". Because all Mexicans obviously say 'amigo' at the end of every sentence. Even Gringo is less stereotypical than the character of Garcia Lopez.

Once Garcia's finished listening to a string of abuse, the team makes their way to the bus to commute to their next venue. However, the bus has mysteriously and very conveniently broken down. I say conveniently because it is the sole contributing factor that which leads T and his team into their next adventure. Instead of travelling via airplane, the team decide to board the Rocky Mountain Express to move them from A to B. I assume the Rocky Mountain Express passes through the Rocky Mountains, because otherwise that's false advertising. Considering there's a scene later on set high up in some snowy mountains, I think it's a safe bet to say the train company was telling the truth. But you never know! These train people can be devious! Oh so devious! Anyway, Alice the bus driver decides not to accompany Mr. T because as some obnoxious little sod that's tagged along with the gymnasts says, "Someone's got to drive the bus - if it ever gets fixed".

After ditching the old dame in the town where Garcia made such a fool of himself, the wandering gymnasts and their companion Mr. T arrive at the train station. Here we see three men acting very strangely. Mystery! We're meant to think they're evil because they wear long coats, dark glasses and they look shifty. That, and the fact they've got some stolen virus in their hands. Before I continue, let me make clear that this is a bottled virus. It's not some stupid Trojan horse or whatever the hell you call them. Whilst the bad guys try and find somewhere to hide their booty, two policeman walk up to T and the team and for no reason whatsoever tell them that said virus has been stolen - from the Salt Lake Biological Institute nonetheless!

Garcia's bad run of luck then continues, because the thieves steal his camera case, empty its contents into a trash can, then hide the virus (in order to have his advice) inside the case. Poor Garcia! He doesn't know the web of intrigue he's about to become stuck in! Blissfully unaware of this, he joins the team in being introduced to Dr. Marcia Drake, Dr. Kirby and Dr. Adams. So many doctors! They elaborate on the virus theft due to the fact they all work at the Salt Lake facility. Whilst Dr. Drake and Dr. Kirby say something, Dr. Adams is mysteriously silent. Hmm! Meanwhile, Garcia - joined by annoying redhead Robin and some stupid guy called Jeff - go to the baggage compartment to get Garcia's camera. That's when they find the virus stashed away. Despite the "Warning: Toxic" labels, Garcia prods the virus, sniffing it and wondering what it is. Clever boy!

But the discoveries don't end there. Also present amongst the baggage is a chimpanzee called Evelyn. What? I really hate the way this cartoon just expects you to accept the insane and makes huge leaps in its story, without letting the viewer in on the secret. Anyway, Evelyn is apparently also from the Salt Lake facility (who the hell in this show isn't??) and is a test-monkey, subjected to all manner of diseases. But hey, she can still make cute noises so where's the harm? Thank you, Mr. T! After the three members of the team let Evelyn out of her cage - which was once locked, but now magically open - another trio enters the compartment. What the hell is going on? Either people enter places in threes all the time, or they work at some Salt Lake place. Damn you, T! Damn you straight to hell! This trio is special, VERY SPECIAL, because they all wear ski masks and happen to be the bad guys from the station.

Garcia and his friends are threatened, then pushed over with a couple of cardboard boxes before the bad guys make a run for it - taking the chimpanzee with them. Right. Blissfully unaware of common sense, Jeff and Robin climb on to the roof of the train and pursue the evildoers. Horrible, horrible animation and ludicrous dialogue then lead to perhaps the show's best scene. Jeff falls from the roof (which was bound to happen), and clings desperately on to the side of the train. However, it's fast approaching a tunnel. Oh no! As Robin helpfully explains "Jeff will be knocked off - or worse!". Or worse? She never elaborates, but I have an ominous feeling of what she might have been thinking. Robin has a diseased mind. Using all two of her brain cells, Robin tells Jeff to pretend he's in gym, and to swing back on to the roof. He does, and is sadly saved. But not before Robin gets to come out with yet another ridiculous comment, saying, "One more second and the soup of the day would've been Cream of Jeff". Cream of Jeff? That's sick!

Somehow or another the bad guys all escape, and the chase seems to be over. Garcia's getting progressively worse, fainting all the time and drowning in self-loathing with a fair share of angst as he says "I can't seem to do anything right!". As a result of accepting his lot in life, Garcia does a runner, hoping to leave Mr. T and the gymnast team behind. Forever! The Rocky Mountain Express eventually reaches its destination, but suspicious porters are lurking in the station!

The team recognises them as the men off the train (even though all three were wearing masks) and another brief fight ensues. However, the bad guys manage to escape yet again, with Evelyn the chimpanzee taken hostage once more. Dr. Kirby says something incomprehensible about Evelyn communicating sign languages, and from that they manage to pinpoint the bad guy's exact location.

And where is this hideout? A huge house high in the supposed Rocky Mountains, of course! With no keys or means of entrance, the team somehow gets inside and yet another stupid, stupid fight kicks off. Two bad guys are captured, but the third (Captain Mystery!!) gets away on a pair of skis. Robin notices this, so what does she do? She sets off after the last bad guy. With the chimpanzee on her back. Right. Evelyn proceeds to prove her worth in the plotline by covering Robin's eyes. Wise move!

Of course, Mr. T knows better and finds yet another pair of conveniently placed skis, exactly in his size. Setting off after both the bad guy and the demented girl-and-monkey duo, he zooms (yes, zooms) past them calling her "a blind foo". See, told you he said it. Magic. Mr. T undermines Robin's efforts by catching the last bad guy...who turns out to be Dr. Adams! That's right! The guy who didn't say a thing was the mastermind all along! The guy who - even when dressed as a porter and had no mask on - the other doctors didn't notice was missing! Hooray!

With all the fun and crazy excitement over, Mr. T remembers that Garcia is missing. And guess how they find him? By clambering onto some random bus which Mr. Lopez just happens to be passed out on. This is atrocious stuff. I really regret getting the video. All the loose ends are haphazardly tied up, with Garcia going from the worst string of bad luck in history to a great winning streak. He gets a vaccination from the virus and wins the gymnast competition, realising that "wanting to quit is the worst, because you let yourself down".

As if we hadn't got the message yet, Mr. T once again provides a coda to the episode by returning...in the flesh! He moans about playing as part of a team and staying dedicated, warning us that we can't solve our problems by running away from them. But what if problems are big, fat sweaty guys who can't run very fast? Mr. T fails to answer - the excitement of the cartoon obviously too much to consider anything else - and signs off telling us "That's a tip to you, from me, Mr. T". Thanks!


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