Seeing Tom Selleck in the lead role is a little strange at first. I mean, this is Magnum! Jogging on the beach, driving a Ferrari, wooing the girls, Magnum! Selleck keeps the mustache, but shows a different side as Jesse Stone. He does quite well in a darker role, making you wonder how much he can relate to the story of a man struggling to accept the fact that his best days are behind him. Good news: The mustache just keeps getting better with age. Selleck has a bit more paunch - but nothing to rival Stephen Baldwin - but Magnum can still convince the bad guys that he isn't afraid of them and kick some ass. Jesse Stone's version of kicking tail is very much in keeping with the character. World-weary guys don't bounce around and get into punch fights, but they aren't afraid to throw a well-placed elbow at the right moment.
There is some good writing and camera work in Night Passage, better than you'd expect from a television feature. The freeze/cut before commercial feels artificial and cheesy, but the whole venture is pretty steeped in melodrama. Five minutes into Night Passage you can spot the bad guy without a problem, so the real suspense is whether Stone can overcome his private demons and manage through the low expectations of those around him to come out a winner. There actually are some nice, touching moments scattered through Night Passage and most everyone around Selleck turns in a good performance. There aren't any special features other than previews on the DVD, but there's more Jesse Stone coming to DVD if you like what you see here.