Monday, June 14, 2010

The A-Team

My favorite of the two big summer movies of last week! As I write this I really want to see it again. A-TEAM has all the fun that a action movie should have. I really don't remember a lot of the t.v show so a few weeks ago a friend of mine refreshed my memory the best he could. He told me it was tough guy smarts mixed with Magnificent Seven attitude helping out people and friends in sticky situations every week. Four soldiers get charged for a crime they did not commit and get sent to jail. They break out of prison and go into hiding in L.A and become soldiers of fortune helping the helpless. The crime that they got set up for was never a pilot episode but rather just the shows introduction every week.
This new movie tells us how these guys became the A-Team. The director Joe(Smokin Ace's) Carnahan really knows his A-Team because right from the start he nails the tone of the series pitch perfect if not better. It's like he's telling us "You remember how fun the A-Team was? Well, get a load of this"! To start off the fun Carnahan introduces us to the future team in the deserts of Mexico in a Sergio Leone fashion, which of course I thought was very cool. What happens next is a very very entertaining strong character driven action movie!

Eight years after a fateful (and explosive) mission in Mexico united four unlikely Army Rangers, The "crack commando unit" led by Colonel Hannibal Smith are stationed in Iraq and sent on a mission by the CIA to go into the heart of Bagdad and retrieve a set of stolen money printing plates that are a threat to national security. Hannibal and his team, comprising of suave con-man "Faceman" Peck, burly B. A Baracus and comically insane "Howling Mad" Murdock, succeed in their mission. Returning to base, something goes wrong. The team in the wrong place at the wrong time, are charged with the famous "a crime they did not commit" from the series, dishonorably discharged and sent to separate prisons. Six months later, Hannibal Smith escapes and breaks his teammates out and start their first mission as the A-Team, to clear their name.

It's a blessing to see a real action director turn what most will pass off as tentpole summer action movie fluff into a bad ass action film with awesome characters! Carnahan knows his craft, all the action beats work and only improves on the fun of the original series.
THE A-TEAM just saved the summer movie season of 2010!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Karate Kid (2010)

I'll try not to sound like a jaded 33 year old movie fan because I'm sure that's what some of you will think? I am not arguing or saying that the remake of THE KARATE KID is bad, I liked it. It's not better than the original by a long shot. The original ( I really hate people are going to have to start saying that now) was not just a product of it's time but rather a classic movie made in the 80's. I wont go on and on but know this, I love THE KARATE KID (1984). It's the first movie that I wanted to see multiple times at the theater, we taped it on VHS from HBO, and I even watched it on HBO even having it taped on VHS. That VHS was the best; it had THE KARATE KID, THE LAST STARFIGHTER, and THE NEVERENDING STORY. Now that's what I call a triple feature!

Where does THE KARATE KID (2010) fall short? The two things that come to my mind are the acting and emotional development of certain characters. It wont happen but I honestly feel that Will and Jada need to stop putting their son Jaden in movies. This movie is the best work so far but I just don't know if he is going to get better? Some of his lines were cringe worthy and a lot felt like one takes to me. Don't get me wrong, he is not the worst child actor I've ever seen and If I'm wrong then cool, just don't expect him to follow in his dad's footsteps any time soon.

While being two different characters Ralph Macchio's Daniel Larusso is far more interesting and fleshed out more than Jaden Smith's Dre Parker.
The same goes for the Mr. Miyagi / Mr. Han characters. Jackie Chan is the perfect choice to play Mr. Han who teaches Dre kung-fu, but that's all it is a great casting choice. Pat Morita's Mr. Miyagi was so much more, it's no wonder that Mr. Morita got nominated for an Oscar for the role. When the dynamics of these two characters start to take off it just falls short of the relationship that Daniel and Miyagi had. These two ended up best friends even on a sort of father and son level. In the new movie Mr. Han is just some guy teaching Dre kung-fu.

The film makers had plenty of chances to work on this but instead focused on a sub-plot dealing with a girls violin recital. More time could have been devoted to training for the tournament. In fact, a lot more time could have been devoted to training for the tournament. Nothing ever topped the jacket on, jacket off lesson. The best training moments were few and far between plus highlighted only in montages it seemed.

Okay so what did I like? The kung fu. As much as I like Daniel it's no contest that Dre would kick his butt. The fights and fighting style are better in this new film. The story taking place in China was a nice touch.

In closing it was entertaining and better that I thought it would be not by no means is it a classic nor will it ever be one.