Tag Archive: the 80s


Review: The A-Team

PG-13 Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Sharpo Copley, Jessica Beil.

This is a remake of the hit TV show from the 1980s about a group of 4 american soldiers who are set up and wrongly charged for a crime that they did not commit. They escape from prison and form themselves into the “A team” for hire to solve any problem, at a price.

There is not really much of a plot to the film, the real fun is in the characters themselves and the outrageous action sequences which are almost non-stop.

Our heroes fight their way out of all kinds of scenarios while attempting to clear their name.  During the course of this, there are helicopter chases, a scene involving an army tank falling through the sky and plenty of large explosions.  You can almost see how much fun the director (Joe Carnahan who also directed Narc and Smoking Aces) is having behind the camera.

However, what really makes this a winner is the characters. Liam Neeson is perfectly cast as the rogue leader Hannibal. Bradley Cooper has all the cocky charm needed to take on Faceman. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is certainly no Mr T, but he still plays a convincing BA Baracus. The real scene stealer here is Sharpo Copley as Murdoch, (who was brilliant in his debut as an actor in District 9).  He plays his role with such gleeful abandon that you cannot help but laugh. There is a particular sequence involving Murdoch and blue paint that was comic genius. I wish there had been more scenes like that.

Jessical Beil does not do much in a supporting role as the love interest of Faceman, but still remains a sight for sore eyes on screen. Patrick Wilson is also effective as a crafty CIA agent who help break the A team out of prison and has a pivotal role in the films plot.

I don’t know if we’ll see a sequel coming, but this is pure popcorn entertainment and the reason we go out to the movies in the first place. The movie does not take itself seriously at all and thats the exact reason I had so much fun with it.  3/5 stars

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PG-13. Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan.

Firstly, being the pop culture junkie that I am, I have seen the original version from 1984 with Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita about 50 times if not more. It remains a classic and cannot and will not ever be replaced.

That said, this is a fresh and exciting new take on the Karate Kid. The film is not without flaws, yet catches your attention from the start and keeps you hooked until the climatic fight scenes at the end.

The script is very similar to the original with the main changes being that the backdrop for the movie is China.

Jaden Smith proves to be an effective leading man even at such a young age. He takes the role of “Daniel San” from Ralph Macchio and makes it his own with a mixture of smooth cool and fuzzy adorability. Having  just moved to China, he is the new kid on the block and soon enough is targeted by a group of bullies. The fight scenes are not child’s play and I honestly found it hard to watch Jaden Smith get pummeled by a 12 year old Bruce Lee psychopath.

Of course, “Mr Miyagi” is filled in by the more than  adequate Jackie Chan, who brings more depth and emotion to his character than I had expected. He comes to save “Daniel San” from a particular nasty beating and then embarks upon training the young boy in the arts of kung-fu so he can protect himself. Somehow they get away with keeping the title “The Karate Kid” by making a plug about the contradiction in the film itself.  The film is so much fun that is does not bother you anyway.

A series of intense training exercises ensue where “Daniel San” is taught the way of kung fu. While this is all happening there is a sub plot involving a romance between the young boy and a pretty chinese girl that he meets.  A particularly amusing scene involves a dance contest between them both, where they get to show off some moves. The girl ends up getting the upper hand with a somewhat suggestive dance that she does to a Lady Gaga song.

It all plods along well enough and keeps you entertained, but then the real action begins. The last 10 minutes of the film is by far the best. “Daniel San” enters the tournament to compete against his rivals and prove his strength. These fight sequences are nothing short of thrilling. We see 11 year old kids whizzing about the mat doing all kinds of extraordinary martial arts. It truly does keep you on the edge of your seat and you are rooting for “Daniel San” to kick some serious butt!

Another revamped franchise has been born as well as a rising star called Jaden Smith. You can expect “Karate Kid II” in theaters soon enough.  I know i’ll be standing in line to see it.  4/5 stars