A-Team, The

It’s about goddamned time I had fun watching a movie. The Hollywood adaptation of 80s TV staple The A-Team is a laugh riot, and in a good way.

We start it off right, somewhere in Mexico, where we meet Hannibal (Liam Neeson), B.A. Baracus (Quinten Jackson), "Howling Mad" Murdock (Sharlto Copley) and Face (Bradley Cooper) in a completely silly but awesome sequence. We jump ahead 8 years (and 80 successful missions) to the final days of withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, meaning it takes place in the future, I suppose.

The boys are tricked by a barely competent, completely evil C.I.A. agent named Lynch (Patrick Wilson),  who dupes them into . . . standing too close while someone else blows up some counterfeit money and the team's commanding general. That someone else is, in fact, the ultra-competent military contractor Pike (Brian Bloom), the first villain since Ledger’s Joker to pose a credible threat to a protagonist. He’s just a great screen presence and actually presents a real menace.

The plot really isn’t worth mentioning, as it’s poorly done and more than a little silly. There’s actually a reveal that’s straight out of Scooby Doo . What is worth mentioning: this movie is freakin' hysterical. At it’s heart, The A-Team is a comedy, but unlike most comedies, things explode a lot. There are scenes that are just sublime in their humor, especially those devoted to making fun of the CIA and their legendary incompetence. Between Pike being a rather scary guy and Lynch being arrogant, yet incompetent in a way we haven't seen since Cobra Commander, their dynamic yields as many laughs as the heroes’ shenanigans.

Patrick Wilson does a fine job as Lynch. He’s the sort of guy you just want to punch in the throat. At one point, he says a video of a building actually being blown up looks just like Call of Duty, which is something a strawberry douche would say.

The action set pieces are absurdly awesome, as well. We’ve all seen the tank falling out of the sky via parachute in the preview, but how they get out of it is a site to behold.

Really, the best part of this movie, much like the Losers, is the characters just being goofy despite their lives being in constant danger. The real fun of this film is the endless string of great lines and the dynamic between the four main players. Even Quinton Jackson does a great job as Baracus, and well, I don’t expect much from MMA guys after the tragedy that was Universal Soldier: Regeneration.

Overall, this movie is worth the price of admission, but only if you approach it in the way it was intended. It is a comedy through and through. Although, unlike the original show, it does have a body count ...the 80’s were, of course more innocent times. Couple this with The Losers, and it's a recipe for a Cavalcade about people who just can’t take being shot at seriously.

Taken

Liam Neeson will come to your country and kill EVERYONE.

Well, okay, he need's a little provocation first.

Neeson plays ex-CIA Super-Ninja Brian Mills. Mills retired to be closer to his teenage daughter, Kim (the 26-year-old Maggie Grace) who lives in Los Angeles with her mother Lenore (Famke Janssen), who married some rich scumbag named Stuart (Xander Berkley, who's made a whole career out of playing these sorts) who can get Mills' daughter a pony, but is fairly useless when it comes to anything outside of being a rich guy.

Lenore is the classic movie ex-wife stereotype: bitchy, unforgiving, uninformed and hypocritical. All the trouble begins when she bullies Mills into signing some sort of release to let their, go on a trip to Paris. He signs off on this whole Paris trip only to find out, too late, that his daughter is actually going to follow U2 on tour.

U2 is an Irish band, and-well-Jesus, what good have the Irish done? I mean, aside from giving us good beer, music, culture, and Liam Neeson?

Mills waves goodbye at the airport, then worries and worries about her. He keeps calling her cell, only to find every parent's worst nightmare realized: hearing her on the phone as she's about to carted off by smarmy foreign slave traders.

Without Neeson, this movie would be total crap. But when he decides it's time to turn it up to 11 , by GOD-does he ever. Mills is a one-man wrecking crew, tearing Paris apart brick-by-brick. He will shoot, beat, chase, or (only as a last resort) even pay anyone to get his daughter back.

At it's core, this is a combination flag-waving "go America!" propaganda film, with a little parental revenge fantasy thrown in for spice. If you look closely, you realize that Mills was an absentee father, and is making up for in spades by killing at least four different members of varying ethnic groups to get his kid back. Unfortunately, there's a dour quality to the whole affair, and while Neeson can sell anything-here he's selling a stone cold killer who will kill people all kinds of dead in all kinds of ways. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

One last note: why is it a Hollywood convention to have very corpulent men always require two or three girls to sleep with? I mean, it's not like these guys are word-class lovers. Or else they'd be thinner, right?

Pair this off with another movie in need of a good ribbing, like the dreadfully self-serious Fast & Furious , and you could have fun mocking all the furrowed eyebrows and growled line delivery. Otherwise, you can go all revenge happy with any of the Death Wish series.

Krull

If there’s one thing that sets sci-fi/fantasy/horror/grindhouse movies apart from others, its their love of weaponry and creative applications for it. We here at the Cavalcade will now spend the next 4 wednesdays reviewing some of the best movies out there with uniquely bad-ass weapons.

It’s the summer of ‘83, and I’m 6 years old. My dad is taking his annual week off of work during the summer to spend time with his son. I wouldn’t know it until I’m older, but it’s one of those promises my dad made to himself to ensure he wasn’t like *his* dad. All I cared about at the time was that it was the time where dad and I did whatever **I** wanted. This particular summer, my dad is going to give me a particular treat that will inform my life for the rest of my days. I tell you this quick and smarmy story so you’ll understand my absolute love and adoration for all things **Krull**-the first movie I ever saw in a theater.

And what a weird little movie it is too! The story takes place on the world of Krull, a land of wizards and warriors, of barbarians and monsters, of Kings and Seers. Into this world of might and magic (or more specifically, Dungeons and Dragons in the early days of production), comes **The Beast**-an alien(!) invader who, with his army of minions is there to do-um…*beastly *things. To be honest, his motivation is never really explained as being more than he’s an extraterrestrial son of a bitch who rides around the stars in a giant mountain. Good enough for the writers, good enough for me.

In order to combat this menacing menace, heroic Prince Colwyn and the lovely Princess Lyssa choose to get married in order to foster and alliance between their father’s warring kingdoms. But wouldn’t you know it? The Beast sends his men to crash the party-resulting in a kidnapping of the Princess, and the impetus behind the movie.

But, really-who cares? This movie is all about one thing: The Glaive.
Roughly a third of the way through the picture, the Prince completes a trial to get a weapon prophesied to help him clean up this mess, because on this medieval fantasy world, alien invasions are the *predictable* threat.

Sadly, once he actually *has* the weapon, he doesn’t use it nearly as often as he should. Hell, if it were me, I’d be using it to cut up my steaks at dinner, or open my can of beans at dinner during the long trek to the Beast’s space-mountain-ship-lair-thingy. Even worse, the Prince manages to *lose* the glaive, getting it stuck where the sun don’t shine, and has to end up using the “fire of love” given to him by his, up until that point, damsel in distress . Seriously, this Prince simply wasn’t cool enough to wield this object of weaponized awesome. How else do you explain having to be rescued by the very person he came to rescue?

All in all, this is a great-if silly-little adventure flick, and one of the few “family friendly” movies covered here on the Cavalcade. The Glaive alone elevates this deep into the realm of watchable, so we highly recommend it for any Event themed around cool weapons, high fantasy, or (strangely enough) alien invaders.