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June 14, 2010 - Image 10

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2010-06-14

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Monday, June 14, 2010
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

From Page 9
ues his butt-whooping streak from
"Taken" - albeit playing a much
less pissed-off character - in his
role as Col. John "Hannibal" Smith,
the wide-grinning, cigar-puffing
leader of the Alpha Team. Brad-
.ley Cooper is perfectly cast as Lt.
Templeton "Faceman" Peck, awise-
cracking womanizer - essentially
the same character Cooper played
in "The Hangover," except that
Faceman will blow up your plane
with a turret gun on a tank whilst
the tank is parachuting through the
Before continuing on to the rest
of the stellar cast, please re-read the
preceding sentence. If such a scene
would make you cringe, DO NOT
watch "The A-Team." The film's set
pieces are all about the suspension of
logic, and the best part is, the whole
cast and crew are in on the joke.
They've all embraced how stupidly
excessive "The A-Team" is, and in
-order to enjoy it, the audience has to
be willing to embrace it as well.
Now then. UFC fighter Quinton
"Rampage" Jackson does a surpris-
e e

ingly strong job as B.A. Baracus, the FILM REVIEW
character formerly played by Mr. T.
Rampage pities fools like a pro and,
just like Mr. T, shows vulnerabili-
ties beneath his badass exterior. Yet
in a film with so many impressive
performances, the award for Most
Consistent Scene Stealer goes to
Sharlto Copley, as James "Howling
Mad" Murdock, the team's lunatic
pilot. After his incredible break-
through in "District 9," Copley is
now two for two in delivering eye-
poppingly stupendous performanc-
es. The absolute beauty of all these
actors is their uncanny ability to
capture the personalities of and the
camaraderie between the original
characters without merely imitat-
ing them.
But a slap on the wrist is neces-
sary for whoever cast Jessica Biel
("Valentine's Day"), whose attempt
to pull of the role of an army officer
is more nonsensical than the para- Now there's a kid who eats his spinach.
chuting tank sequence. Admittedly,
it's difficult to write a good role for
a woman in such a testosterone-
fest, but Biel just kills the flow of the
movie whenever she's on screen.
The only significant drawback of
"The A-Team" is its lack of appeal
to cinemagoers who prefer their The remake of the
films to have creative storytell-
ing and to operate within the laws classic Karate Kid'is
of physics. If it's not clear by now, dn
it's unmitigated fun to watch Han- long but rewardig
nibal, Faceman, Murdock and B.A.
interact, crack jokes, take down the By IMRAN SYED
bad guys and blow shit up. Even tra- Daily Arts Writer
ditionally dull scenes, like montag-
es, are punctuated with brilliantly A remake of the beloved 1984
hilarious non-sequitors to keep the underdog classic, "The Karate Kid" is
audience chuckling throughout. not quite the movie
To intentionally misquote Hanni- it should be.7
bal's classic line - "I love it when a Overlong, sput-
movie comes together." tering and aim- The Karate
less at times - and Kid
cheesy pretty much
throughout - the At Quality16
film still man- and Rave
ages to pack in an Columbia
87*1 West Eisenhower Parkwayi astounding number
Aim Arbor,i11481(3 of stand-and-cheer moments toward
pecial>StudentrPrice (734) 22210200
Disco L BaiRBERS
Supporting the UofM Community
SINCE 1939


Tear-old 'Kid'

the end. Thus, in what has largely been
a forgettable year for the blockbuster,
"The Karate Kid" may well be the best
that summer 2010 has to offer - even
if it falls well short of the original.
The film stars Jaden Smith (most
memorably seen alongside his famous
father Will in "The Pursuit of Happy-
ness") as Dre, a Detroit youngster who
has to move to China with his mother.
Apart from its changed setting and
character names, the story closely
resembles that of the original: Dre
meets a girl in Beijing, but some mean
bullies keep messing with him every
time hetries to talk to her.
After one particularly painful
beatdown, Dre is rescued by Mr. Han
(Jackie Chan), the local maintenance
man, who happens to be a secret kung
fu master. Dre asks Han to teach him
kung fu, and Han agrees after seeing
firsthand the ruthless philosophy the
local kung fu master is passing along
to his students - who happen to be
the same kids tormenting Dre. After
many painful training sessions, with
the usual underdog-story angst and
adversity, Dre competes in a kung fu
tournament, facing and defeating the
bad guys.
For all the film's shameless cli-
ches, it's made watchable, and
occasionally enjoyable, by superb per-
formances from its two stars. Smith's

performance is fresh, energetic and
surprisingly believable. That he has
the same mannerisms and some-
thing reminiscent of the swagger that
made his father one of the world's big-
gest movie stars certainly can't hurt.
Young Jaden even drops a hip-hop
track on the film's soundtrack, as Will
Smith did in so many of his biggest
hits. (Regrettably, the track also fea-
tures Justin Bieber, but still.)
And Chan, as he has done in nearly
every recent role of his, brings a good
deal ofgrace and solemnity, along with
unmatched kung fu skills. Although
his role is hampered by a needlessly
meandering character backstory, Han
is a worthy replacement for the vener-
able Mr. Miyagi - humble and under-
standing, but also funny and blunt
when needed.
With a grueling runtime of nearly
140 minutes - well beyond the atten-
tion span of the film's key demograph-
ic - "The Karate Kid" nearly exhausts
the considerable charm of its stars
and the patience of its audience before
Dre's kung fu training even begins.
But when the uplifting, musically
enhanced scenes of sap and sentiment
finally appear, viewers will be all too
willing to cheer out loud.
It's clear, then, that "The Karate
Kid" is a film to love, even if it isn't all
that good.

E-mail eajeszke@umich.edu for information
on applying to review video games.

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