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Western Animation / Action Man (2000)

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"Check it out, Dial it in, Amp it up!"
— Alex Mann's catch phrase when he triggers the Amp Factor.

In 2000, an Action Man CGI series (unrelated to the 1995 incarnation) was produced by Mainframe Entertainment for YTV and Fox Kids. It follows the adventures of Alex Mann, alias "Action Man," an extreme sports athlete who discovers he has something called the AMP Factor, which is an adrenaline triggered ability that lets him analyze any situation and mathematically determine the best course of action, represented by complex equations floating around in his head while time appears to stop. Alex maintains a friendly rivalry with fellow athlete Brandon Caine, who quietly resents always coming in second to Alex. The pair are approached by the mysterious Dr. X who offers to improve upon the two with cybernetic implants. Alex refuses but Brandon accepts. Soon an altered Brandon comes after Alex and Dr. X makes it clear that he wants the secret behind Alex's ability for himself. With the help of his former high school football coach Simon Grey (who is far more than he seems) and the rest of Team Extreme (Alex plus his camerawoman, manager, and pilot), the Action Man must stop Dr. X's plans for "the future of humanity" and try to save his friend while still maintaining his career as an extreme sports star.

Action Man provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Agnes "Fidget" Wilson, who can keep up with Alex. Diana Zerbas counts as well.
  • Adaptational Nationality:
    • Action Man (Alex Mann) is now Canadian, unlike other versions where he's British.
    • Same with Dr. X; in the 1995 cartoon series, he was Dutch, but here, he's Canadian like Alex.
  • And I Must Scream: In the finale, this fate befalls Dr. X. He’s gained superhuman abilities, doesn't need food or air any longer, and becomes Nigh-Invulnerable... and then Action Man traps him on an empty rock floating in the immense vastness of space with no means of escape. He actually does scream Action Man's name one last time as the rock drifts away from earth
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Action Man's signature Once an Episode move called the "AMP Factor" where Alex would mentally freeze time and evaluate his surroundings in Matrix-like slow-motion to save the day. These became less and less impressive over time. Initially it would involve complicated sequences of moves that make Rube Goldberg Devices seem straightforward. Eventually it would simply involve him running around doing things really fast while everything else was in slow-motion.
  • Bald of Authority: Simon Grey is bald and often serves as a mentor figure for Action Man in the episodes featuring him.
  • Beam-O-War: A brief one occurs between Tempest and Action Man (holding a power cable) during the last episode.
  • BFG: The recurring BSU 10000?
    Alex: BSU? What's that stand for? Ballistic... Sub-harmonic... Ultrasonic...?
    Coach: [fires gun] "Blow Stuff Up".
  • Big "NO!": "Tangled Up in Green" ends with Professor Gangrene screaming "No" after Action Man tricks him into destroying Action Man's plant clone.
  • Brain Uploading: How Dr. X steals Brandon Caine's body halfway through season 1. As a side effect, Brandon's brain gets uploaded into one of Dr X's trilobugs, resulting in the trilobugs going rogue during the season 1 finale.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": Alex has his own badge-esque symbol (an "M" that has one side colored orange and differently shaped to suggest an "A", over a diagonally-divided black and white circle). It appears over or on pretty much everything associated with him, and Team Extreme has a variant with a blue "E" on the same circle. Dr. X, meanwhile, uses a brushstroke-style "X", typically in green or purple.
  • Butt-Monkey: Ricky.
  • Cable-Car Action Sequence The first episode has a battle between Alex Mann and his rival Brandon Caine, atop a cable car leading up a mountain. Then the cable snaps and the car slides down the mountain.
  • Canon Immigrant: Action Man is a member of Team Extreme Revolutionaries #7(2017), part of the Hasbro Comic Universe published by IDW Publishing.
  • Catch a Falling Star: Alex deals with gravity and acceleration every day, and making physics work for him is part of his job description. Piece of cake. He even does this during the opening theme sequence.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Brandon, Simon Grey and agent Diana Zerbas are all never mentioned again after the end of season 1.
  • Colony Drop: In the finale Dr. X decides to destroy humanity by pulling an asteroid towards Earth.
  • Comm Links: Alex wears a specialized watch which can track his location (which proved useful on some occasions), check e-mail, give a rundown of that day's event (seen frequently at the beginning of the episode), and run data discs.
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: In the episode "Grey Areas", Fidget gets mad about Action Man refusing to let the rest of Team Extreme accompany his search for his unknown benefactor and threatens to tear Action Man's head off and shove it up his nose, comedically realizing shortly afterwards that such an act is not physically possible because the nose is on the head.
  • Cutting the Knot: Here's a riddle: you're in a plane, there's a time bomb that's going to go off in less than a minute, and you're not sure what wire to cut to stop it. What do you do? Well, you can do what Grinder did, and throw the bomb off the plane to explode harmlessly in midair—hard to argue with those results!
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: How Dr. X initially stole Brandon's body. He also has a AI program housed in a small Trilobite that can inject and infect other humans with his nano-trilobites, infecting them with the same AI program and turning them into clones of himself. This only works on the strongest physical specimens, so it's implied anyone who isn't an extreme athlete would die from the shock of the transformation.
  • Dating Catwoman: There were some vibes of this between Alex and Asazi. Before learning she was an assassin, ALEX admitted to Gray that he was flirting with her and he would offer her a chance for redemption whenever they meet.
  • De-power: Tempest and Quake lose their powers in the finale.
  • Don't Create a Martyr: There was a peace conference/athletic competition that two high-ranking officials and their families were attending. Dr. X's mercenary drugs the officials with knockout gas, but asks him why he isn't killing them instead of just broadcasting fake news footage of a reporter saying they appear to have died. His answer is that he wants to create confusion and fear, not martyrs to a peace process.
  • Dread Zeppelin: Dr. X and his Council of Doom have a high tech airship that, among other things, can turn invisible. It originally belonged to Tempest, who used it to control the weather in his debut episode, but Dr. X made it his headquarters after accepting Tempest into the council.
  • Earthquake Machine: The Quake suit of Powered Armor was designed by Japanese scientists to study tremors, but it could also produce them. It is subsequently stolen by a fat janitor who uses it to become the supervillain "Quake".
  • Enemy Mine:
    • In the "Swarm" two-parter, Action Man and Dr. X have to team up to stop a group of rogue trilobugs.
    • In the grand finale Asazi teams up with Action Man against Dr. X to stop him from destroying the Earth.
  • Engineered Public Confession: One of Doctor X's targets is a sporting event being attended by leaders of two countries that had just begun the possibility of stopping the war between them. He hits them with a weapon they both know about and then broadcasts news reports seemingly produced by each side saying the other side did it. Of course, Asazi ruins it all by bragging about the plan when she's got the good guys cornered. She obviously didn't know that Fidget *always* has a camera — her headset, in this case.
  • Evil Cripple: Dr. X starts out as one for the first 7 episodes, in which he is an elderly man who has somehow lost his legs and replaced them with wheels. Averted once he takes over Brandon Caine's body to get younger and become able bodied again.
  • Evil Gloating: Many villains, but Dr. X is most fond of it.
  • Evil Laugh: Dr. X at times. Fitting, since he's the villain.
  • Evil Plan: Dr.X wanted to create a new body for himself and used Brandon to work out the bugs in his system. After accomplishing this he moved on to creating neo-humanity.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Dr. X is a textbook example. He claims he wants to help humanity evolve into the stronger Neo-Humanity, but his means for doing so involve mass murder and other heinous acts.
  • Evil Versus Oblivion: In the finale, Asazi defects from Dr. X and joins up with Action Man to stop him once X unveils his plan to kill all of humanity through Colony Drop (he had the rest of his Council of Doom believe that it was just a bluff), which she notes would be bad for her line of work.
  • Exit, Pursued by a Bear: "The Triton Factor" ends with Dr. X having to flee from sharks.
  • Extreme Sports Plot: Extreme sports intersect with Cold War-style Super-Soldier experiments, radical Trans-Humanism and Bullet Time powered by super-advanced math.
  • Fair Cop: Diana Zerbas is an attractive law enforcer.
  • Fanservice: Fidget for the cropped shirts and short shorts. Asazi for the Spy Catsuit and Supermodel Strut.
  • Friendly, Playful Dolphin: "The Triton Factor" has the team befriend an amiable dolphin that Action Man names Triton.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Quake was just an overweight sleazeball before he stole a Powered Armor suit that can create earthquakes to become a supervillain.
  • Fun with Acronyms: AMP Factor (Advanced Macro Probability Factor)
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: The bad guys wear an assortment of black, red, dark green, and purplenote . Tempest averts it with his outfit, which uses heroic colors such as blue, yellow, and light grey.
  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: played with. In the episode "Ground Zero", when Fidget's journalist sister, Amanda asks Team Extreme who this 'Dr. X and the council of doom' are, Ricky answers they are a local rock band. Amanda doesn't buy it.
  • Grand Finale: The two-part episode "The Ultimate Doom" brings the series to an end, having Action Man take down Dr. X and his Council of Doom for good when Dr. X attempts to use an asteroid to wipe out all life on Earth.
  • Grand Theft Me: Dr. X comes to athlete Brandon Cain with an offer to use technology to give him an edge in competition, a deal which Brandon agrees to. Unfortunately, Dr. X really wanted to modify Brandon's body so he could put his mind inside of it, something Dr. X accomplishes is Episode 7. It is later revealed that Brandon's mind ended up inside one of X's small robotic trilobugs, and he eventually learns to control hundreds of them at once, before he attempts to take revenge on Dr. X.
  • Harmless Freezing: At the end of the series, Action Man takes out Professor Gangrene by freezing him with liquid nitrogen. Gangrene struggles to move his lips and mumbles incoherently after being frozen, so it's clear that the process hasn't killed him.
  • High-Heel–Face Turn: Asazi, at the end of the series, is the only member of the Council of Doom to defect to the good guys, while all of her male colleagues are either depowered or permanently dispatched in some other way. Although it's questionable if she will really quit being evil, since her only motivation for helping Alex was that Dr. X's plan to destroy all of humanity would be bad for her business.
  • Hitman with a Heart: If the final episode is anything to go by, Asazi plays this trope straight.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Little hints of it. Alex Mann was somewhere around 6 feet. Fidget was canonically 4'11".
  • Hyper-Awareness: The AMP Factor. Alex actually abused it at one point to find out where an invisible airship was. An invisible airship that the latest radar detection system couldn't find.
  • I'm Standing Right Here: In "Into the Abyss", Brandon goes on a mission with the team and Action Man's teammates remark on how they do not trust Brandon, causing him to sarcastically remark that he'll pretend he can't hear what they're saying.
  • In Their Own Image: Dr. X's plan is a very literal version. He desires to leave only the strongest humans on Earth, then inject his DNA into them, turning the survivors of the human race into clones of himself while being able to control their thoughts and actions with his mind.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Alex Mann can get pretty arrogant, but he is a good person and he never hesitates to end the schemes of Dr. X and the other villains he faces.
  • Legion of Doom: Dr. X runs a villainous team to further his schemes. In fact, it's literally called "The Council Of Doom".
  • Man-Eating Plant: Action Man and Dr. X encounter a huge Venus Flytrap on a deserted island after they crash land there.
  • Mechanical Insects: The trilobugs; mechanical insects that can be used for various purposes, like spying on his enemies, hacking computers or (when in large enough numbers) attacking opponents. Eventually modified into Nano-Trilobites, with the ability to infect and control any electronic system. They could also cobble together the infected machines or just harvest the material for reproduction.
  • Merchandise-Driven: The show's downfall appears to be closely linked with this. The story began with good writing and decently-paced arcs. Once season two began (and more toys were on the shelf) the stories became more generic, tied to toy-related concepts and every episode has a showcase of all the fancy tech and vehicles Alex uses. Episodes became more formulaic and a "Today on Action Man..." intro often spoiled the whole episode's plot.
  • Naked People Are Funny: "The Hereafter Factor" has a bit where Fidget finds Rikki hiding behind a subway train seat after he's lost his clothes.
  • The Needless: After assuming his metallic form in the series finale, Dr. X no longer needs food, water, or air to survive.
  • Not Me This Time: The episode "Storm Front" stands out as the only episode in which Dr. X is neither seen nor mentioned. Instead Action Man gets to deal with a new villain, Tempest, who at the time had no connection with Dr. X yet.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: Dr. X claims he's trying to help humanity evolve, even if many won't survive the transformation into "Neo-Humanity". In actuality, he's a psychopath with delusions of grandeur and world conquest. When his plans start to crumble, he decides to decimate the Earth with an asteroid. He basically says "I am humanity" during his final We Can Rule Together speech to Action Man.
  • Obviously Evil: Dr. X and the rest of his evil team. One look at them and you know they are the bad guys.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Dr. X actually doesn't fit this trope until his final appearance, since initially he desires to replace mankind with a neo-human race by forcefully "evolving" humanity. He eventually reasons that it would be more practical to simply wipe out everyone, survive the calamity, and start over so he can remake the world in his own image.
  • Once per Episode: At each episode's climax, Alex triggers his Awesome by Analysis powers and performs a stunt to save the day. Sometimes he also triggers these powers early in the episode as well.
  • Poisonous Person: Professor Gangrene, who can poison people by merely touching them. Something Grinder found out the hard way in Gangrene's debut episode.
  • Powered Armor: The Quake Suit, which eventually ends up in the hands of a fat janitor named Sydney, turning him into the supervillain Quake.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Asazi turns on Dr. X when he reveals his final plan is to completely annihilate mankind because it will be bad for her business as an assassin.
  • Precap: Summaries describing the plot of the episodes were placed at the very beginning of that episode. This practice began with Episode 11, but was then retroactively done with earlier episodes.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: The quiet version is executed with ease by Simon Grey.
    Grey: [opens suitcase, shows big gun] The BSU-10000. It's still experimental, but quite potent.
    Alex: BSU? What's that stand for? Ballistic... Subharmonic... Ultrasonic?
    Grey: [takes out gun, blasts a car into sky-high pieces] Blow. Stuff. Up.
  • Robot Dog: Team Xtreme has a pet robotic dog named Alloy, who is introduced late in the second season.
  • Rule of Cool: All over the place, but most notably with the luge suit, which is basically motorcross armor with wheels so you can slide at breakneck speeds without a sled. This sort of thing is normally suicide.
  • Run the Gauntlet: happens in the series finale: Action Man has to fight all members of the Council of Doom, first one by one, then all of them at the same time, before facing off against Dr. X.
  • Scary Black Man: Simon Grey. Voiced by Christopher Judge, indeed.
  • Secondary Color Nemesis: Alex Mann himself wore orange and blue with some occasional red in most of his outfits, while his sports rival, Brandon Cain, wore purple and green. It's worth noting that their rivalry started off as a friendly one, but then things happened...
  • Shock and Awe: Tempest has the power to shoot electricity. It also allows him to control the weather.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Occurs in "The Ultimate Doom, Part 2".
    Dr. X: We are alike, you and I! We both seek to push human potential to its fullest! With the power we both possess, we are that potential! We are the future! We are Neo Humanity!
    Action Man: Let's get one thing straight, Doc. You're nuts!
  • Sigil Spam:
    • Justified for Action Man, as he's an extreme sports star and the symbol appears on pretty much everything associated with him, likely for (in-universe and out-of-universe) marketing purposes. (Ricky even wears a shirt covered in the symbol like polka dots.)
    • For Dr. X, it's a bit less explainable, aside from maybe his large ego.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: Alex grabs Asazi by her arm in episode 25.
  • Steven Ulysses Perhero: Alex Mann- aka "the Action Man". Somewhat justified in universe. The name was likely made up based around his real last name to provide a good extreme sports moniker, only for the plot to turn him into a hero.
  • Super Window Jump: Asazi does this on a motorcycle in her debut episode. This was in a diner, so There Was a Door about three feet to her left.
  • Take a Third Option: Alex has to fly up to his own team's plane and save his friends from a bomb on board. It's going to go off in a few seconds, and no one knows which wire will defuse it... so Grinder snatches the bomb and throws it off the plane. Problem solved.
  • Take Over the World: Dr. X's ambition, mixed with Evilutionary Biologist.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Dr. X has smuggled his trilobites onto the plane, and a large one is monitoring the crew via video camera. They realize they'll need some privacy before forming a plan, so Grinder picks up a screwdriver and throws it directly into the camera's lens.
  • Toyless Toyline Character: The only characters who had their own toys were Action Man, Dr. X, Tempest, and Professor Gangrene.
  • Two Words: I Can't Count: "Double Vision" has Fidget give this kind of statement to Rikki.
    Fidget: I got two words for ya. Para Noid.
  • Unhand Them, Villain!: Happens twice in the Grand Finale. The first time this trope is played completely straight; Action Man demands Professor Gangrene lets Rikkie go while the former threatens to throw the later out of the airship. Gangrene is more than happy to comply with this request. The second time, when Quake threatens to throw Fidget into a lava pit, Action Man is more careful with his choice of words and specifically demands he puts her down safely on the ground. Not that it helps.
  • Unrelated in the Adaptation: The information about Action Man's past in the production bible for the 1995 series revealed that Action Man and Dr. X are adoptive brothers, when this series clearly shows them to not be related.
  • Urine Trouble: "Tangled Up in Green" begins and ends with robotic dog Alloy peeing on Fidget.
  • Villain Exclusivity Clause: Pretty much every episode either has Dr. X as the villain, or someone who works for him. His plot is always the same: kill a bunch of people, mutate the survivors into neo-humanity. He would also narrate his Darwinian goals Every. Single. Episode.
  • Weaponized Car: In one episode, Grinder added explosive weapons to Team Extreme's convertible, including missile launchers under the hood and explosives in the passenger's seat to act as a self-destruct. Did we mention the car was being remote-controlled on top of all this?
  • We Can Rule Together: Dr. X offers this to Alex in the finale, since they're both in possession of the superhuman AMP ability, and are thus both part of the "Neo-human race", which he thinks they should nurture together. Alex just retorts that X is a complete lunatic before sending him on a one-way ride into deep space.
  • The Worm That Walks: In the "Swarm" two-parter, the rogue trilobugs eventually come together to form a humanoid giant that strongly resembles Brandon Caine, thus revealing that it's Brandon who is controlling the trilobugs.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Dr. X's plan in episode 25-26. He kidnaps Alex's friends, and puts them in deadly situations that will force him to use his AMP factor. If Alex succeeds in rescuing them by using his AMP abilities, then X will gain enough insight into it that he can replicate it on himself and become superhuman, and further his plans to create neo-humanity. If Alex fails in rescuing them, X will have killed Alex's friends. This doesn't help his body issue but it is personally gratifying.
  • You're Insane!: Alex's retort to Dr. X's We Can Rule Together offer.
    Alex: X... you're nuts.


Video Example(s):


Fidget Flips

After watching Alex's taped message, revealing he's left without the rest of them to keep them all safe, Fidget takes it rather well...for about five seconds.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / ImmediateSelfContradiction

Media sources: