Thomas Ian Griffith’s bid to overtake the mantle of 1990′s action-star/sex-symbol continues with Ulterior Motives, a private eye thriller with a bit of martial arts fighting thrown in for genre fans. The cover art on the DVD showcases Griffith in a Karate gi, holding a samurai sword in a battle posture. That leads potential viewers to believe that Motives is an action flick, in reality it’s a drama about industrial espionage and secret identities. Griffith is a pleasing screen presence, even if he’d rather talk it out with a bad guy instead of kicking him in the face.
As someone who freely admits to being fearful of roaming cattle on my jogs through the hills of California, After Earth taps into a certain primal fear of mine. The majority of the film tracks, young Jaden Smith through a series of encounters, escapes and near-death experiences with environmental predators. This is essentially a campfire tale, albeit one dressed up with a $135 million budget and given a snazzy sci-fi retrofit.
3 1/2 Stars
I have to admit upfront, I’m a big sucker for this type of movie. You can call it the It’s a Wonderful Life genre, a story in which the main character gets a second chance to relive a seminal moment in his young life that causes a cataclysmic change in his future life. This is not centered on a Christmas theme though, it’s actually a football movie, and a damn good one at that. Excuse the obligatory Rocky reference that typically accompanies most sports movies, but this feels like it was influenced by the lithe handed work of director John G. Avildsen. To be fair it is more in line with his work on The Karate Kid than Rocky. Particularly in the low key working class family and neighborhoods that populate the picture.
Balance of Power begins like The Karate Kid, has a middle section inspired by Rocky 3 before morphing into Indiana Jones lite, then refocuses for a Bloodsport inspired finale. This is one lesser effort from stone faced star Billy Blanks. Unfortunately this martial arts action pic is mediocre in all aspects. From a cliched script that offers absolutely nothing new, to the poorly staged fight sequences. The film is additionally bogged down with one of the most obnoxious child actors in recent memory. So bad in fact that I hoped the bad guys would follow through on their threats against her life.
It should come as no great surprise that Sony pictures is moving forward with a sequel to the smash hit Karate Kid. The 2010 reboot grossed a staggering $359 million dollars worldwide on a budget of $40 million. Zak Penn (Last Action Hero, The Incredible Hulk) has been brought in to take a crack at the script originally hatched by Kung Fu Panda screenwriters Cyrus Voris and Ethan Reiff. At this point in development no plot details have been leaked and there has been no official announcement that stars Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith will return. However since Karate Kid was an unexpected phenomenon, I’m sure both actors can clear their schedules for another go around. After being pleasantly surprised at the quality of the rebooted franchise I’ll be one of the first in line for this follow-up.
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T and J discuss the weekend box office of June 25-27, 2010. Toy Story 3, Grown Ups, Knight and Day, The Karate Kid, The A-Team.
This show is based on Sunday estimates.
T and J discuss the weekend box office of June 18-20, 2010. Toy Story 3, The Karate Kid, The A-Team, Get Him to the Greek, Shrek Forever After, Jonah Hex.
This show was based on Sunday estimates. Weekend actuals were as follows:
Toy Story 3: $110.3M
The Karate Kid: $29.8M
The A-Team: $14.4M
Get Him to the Greek: $6.1M
Shrek Forever After: $5.6M
T and J discuss the weekend box office of June 11-13, 2010. The Karate Kid, The A-Team, Shrek Forever After, Get Him to the Greek, Killers.
This show was based on Saturday estimates. Weekend actuals were as follows:
The Karate Kid: $55.6M
The A-Team: $25.6M
Shrek Forever After: $15.7M
Get Him to the Greek: $9.9M
At first the ‘Karate Kid’ seems nothing more than a polished version of its original. Beat for beat it follows the same formulaic storyline that made the first a great kids film. But movies from the 80′s have originality in their defects. It was a time when Hollywood was dreaming bigger than the special effects and the filmmaking process itself could deliver. In today’s Hollywood anything is possible – and it always looks crisp and somewhat soulless. Fortunately Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan make the ‘Karate Kid’ work. Continue reading