5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
It's no Long Way Round, but IS worth a watch,
This review is from: Charley Boorman - By Any Means [DVD] (DVD)
Firstly, I appreciate that many fans of Long Way Round/ Down (LWR) will miss Ewan McGregor, after all, he's a big film star and it was exciting to watch him facing precarious situations during the former series. Indeed, although he's a sometime actor too, Charley Boorman is only really famous due to his friendship with Ewan, and while Ewan could undoubtedly carry a series on his own, Charley is less charismatic and less able to carry it off.
For Charley's delivery isn't exactly polished and at times his language/ actions can be a bit crass and 'workman-like'. For instance, I think they should definitely have edited-out the bits focussing on his sweaty body parts! That said, many viewers will like his enthusiastic and down-to-earth demeanour, and admire him for coming across as a decent, normal bloke. I have to say that he comes across as just that, and appears to be a family man who's great with kids and likes a laugh. But does that make 'By Any Means' interesting to watch?
The answer is yes and no. 'By Any Means' is not 'on the edge of your seat' interesting like LWR was at times, lacking any real drama to speak of. It's also a bit formulaic, and frankly I'm not sure that there's much mileage left in the concept of man, mate and cameraman travelling across the globe for the guys to bother filming any more series unless Ewan (sans wife) or some other top actor comes back onboard.
However, 'By Any Means' IS worth watching, if not just to see the amazing scenery and all the different cultures they encounter, albeit briefly. Okay, so anyone could do what Charley, producer Russ and cameraman Mungo did, finances permitting, but the guys definitely went on something of an adventure (they did visit 25 countries after all). Also, even though they're not the biggest characters (some may even find Russ a bit annoying to be honest), you do get a sense of camaraderie among the group and I really felt for them when Mungo had to return to England due to injury.
Lastly, while LWD/ LWR undoubtedly inspired plenty of people to get motorbikes and *intend* to go travelling, this latest series could inspire people to actually go on a trip somewhere by more conventional and sensible means, and for that it has to be worth something. While LWR/ LWD appealed largely (though not exclusively) to bikers, 'By Any Means' might appeal to the sort of people who like to watch Stephen Fry and Paul Merton travelling across China/ India/ USA etc, although be warned that Charley et al do not really engage with the locals much and you won't learn a huge amount about the different cultures. The only caveat I have to buying this DVD is that the production company have a habit of releasing a better, 3-DVD set six months later, so perhaps you should wait for that one unless you're buying it as an Xmas gift?