December 06, 2016

Hollywood Movie Roundup: ‘The Karate Kid,’ ‘The A-Team’

Hollywoodnews.com: This weekend, two ‘80s themed projects duke it out at the box office: Sony’s re-boot of “The Karate Kid” and Fox’s long-awaited big screen adaptation of Stephen J. Cannell’s NBC action show “The A-Team.”

The Karate Kid
At this point in time, Ralph Macchio is nearing 50 – so it would be ridiculous for Sony to make a sequel. While the first two “Karate Kid” films in the ‘80s were hits, the franchise was soon paralyzed by sequelitis.

In this new millennium re-boot, wafting with hip-hop and mainland China themes, 12 year old Dre Parker (Jade Smith) is uprooted from his Detroit homebase by his mother’s career (Taraji P. Henson). Dre falls for Mei Ying, much to the consternation of the class baddie, Cheng, who attacks the American with a few karate chops. Dre soon meets Mr. Han (Jackie Chan), a master of kung-fu, who matures the boy through marital arts.

The film has already made $18.8 million on Friday, reawakening moviegoers who have been asleep at the multiplex. Box office analysts see “Karate Kid” potentially kicking up $50 million for the weekend versus the “The A-Team’s” $30 million.

“Karate Kid” boasts a 69% fresh Tomatometer with 37 of its 118 reviews being rotten. Not too shabby for a PG family film. L.A. Times says “The Karate Kid is a kung fu kick of a film that hits more than it misses, with its fresh prince of Beijing in Jaden Smith” while The Chicago Reader poo-poos, “The plot takes forever to get rolling, and the movie is hamstrung by numerous tourism sequences (from the Forbidden City to the Great Wall) facilitated by the state-run China Film Group.”

The A-Team

Hollywood News two cents on “The A-Team” is simple: go see it. If you were a fan of the show, you’ll love the movie. Most of the people who tend to be missing the point of the film are sorry – millennials who didn’t grow up with the show. This is the action hit that director Joe Carnahan has been waiting for and it’s fresh adaptation is just as worthy as Tom Cruise’s “Mission: Impossible” series.

Plot follows four U.S. army A-Team mercenaries who are double-crossed on an Iraq war mission to seize Saddam’s gold. Each member possesses a different talent: Hannibal (Liam Neeson) is the master tactician; B.A. Baracus (Quinton Jackson) is the strong arm, Lt. Templeton “Faceman” Peck (Bradley Cooper) is the smoother operator while Murdock (Sharlto Copley), is great for piloting and distraction. Amidst bombs and guns, the quad jogs around Europe, particularly, Germany, attempting to clear their names and their dishonorable discharges. Neeson gives Hannibal his own spin, every bit as strong as George Peppard, Cooper was born to play “Face” while Copley is funnier and zanier than the actor who originally played Murdock on TV, Dwight Schultz. Jackson’s B.A. is too quiet – and had Mr. T been brought back for this film; we would never find that illogical.

Hollywood News expects this film to sleep its way past $100 million at the box office. Don’t believe any bad news about it.

San Francisco Chronicle hails “The characters … are without interest. Their problems are not our problems. But the sheer motion, the spectacle and the flashes of wit take The A-Team out of the realm of garbage. It’s fun.”

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