THE A-TEAM (2010)

Directed By: Joe Carnahan
Written By: Joe Carnahan, Brian Bloom and Skip Woods
Based On The Television Series Created By: Frank Lupo & Stephen J. Cannell
Cinematography: Mauro Fiore
Editor: Jim May & Roger Barton 

Cast: Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Jessica Biel, Sharito Copley, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Patrick Wilson, Gerald McRaney, Yul Vazquez, Brian Bloom, Henry Czerny, Terry Chan, Omari Hardwick 

A group of Iraq War veterans looks to clear their name with the U.S. Military, who suspect the four men of committing a crime for which they were framed.


I will admit I had to watch this film More than once to really Get into it. As originally it felt more typical, I will admit to disliking it upon the first view. but a few years removed You can actually notice its qualities. Due to repeated viewings, it has grown on me. 

The film is surprisingly funny at times with some really Good action sequences. Which makes the films mostly fun than anything else. Definitely a perfect summer movie.

The portrayal of B.A. Barscus was originally played by Mr. T. Who became the most popular character and the breakout star of the show. Isn’t As memorable or outrageous here played by Quentin “Rampage” Jackson. Though he works for the film and is used well. Plus this was his first acting role so he is a rookie among the professionals.

Here it shows everyone is having fun playing espionage and with all the hardware and inventions involved. Unfortunately, Jessica Biel is the only one who comes off as bland. As she is the only woman playing in the boys club. So the Script treats her as the killjoy and convenient love interest.

Patrick Wilson is memorable as the villain or at least one of them. As he is clearly Having fun. He comes off as a fan of action but is rarely involved in that type of film.

This is a film That finally at the time used Bradley Cooper’s Looks and charm in an impressive way 

The film and cast actually gel well together; the theme of honor stays a major plot point throughout and while silly the film always feels cool. Though overstuffed and comes off more comedic than pure action a lot of the times 

At the time it seemed typical of the action films coming out at the time, but being able to look back at it is a fine example of basic but being a bit above and using that basic quality to it’s advantage. 

Grade: C+

COPSHOP (2021)

Directed By: Joe Carnahan
Written By: Kurt McLeod & Joe Carnahan 
Story By: Mark Williams & Kurt McLeod 
Cinematography: Juanmi Azpiroz 
Editor: Kevin Hale

Cast: Frank Grillo, Gerard Butler, Alexis Louder, Toby Huss, Chad L. Coleman, Ryan O’Nan, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Kauai Lyman 

On the run from a lethal assassin, a wily con artist devises a scheme to hide out inside a small-town police station-but when the hitman turns up at the precinct, an unsuspecting rookie cop finds herself caught in the crosshairs.


This film came across as a welcome surprise. At first, I was interested in the cast and director but when I heard that the director was upset at the cut used upon release. I tried to stay away but my curiosity got the better of me.

Though I know director Joe Carnahan is upset with this cut of the movie. If this is the cut that he is disappointed with I would love to see his cut, because this cut constantly breathes life into certain cliches and keeps the action moving and the scenes exciting.

This is why it is upsetting to a degree that Joe Carnahan is one of the best action directors out there. Whose films feel tough, full of life, vital, and still manage to usually be exciting and surprising. Seems to have to try and get by while higher-profile projects he attaches himself to would be great but rarely seem to work out. Even though he does his best with lower budgeted films. There is always that what if. He got bigger budgets. Because he certainly gets the actors and his scripts are always character-driven with the action.

Though you have two action powerhouses on each side by Frank Grillo and a surprisingly likable hardass played by Gerard butler. What really amazes me in the film is the lead played by Alexis Louder, as she is all gusto. She can be rough and tough one minute and funny the next but always in a serious manner. She is no pushover and here she makes a kick-ass action debut that hopefully, we will see her in more of these types of films. As she damn near steals the whole movie. 

It also is nice to see an African American female in an action movie leading a role. She more than holds her own against these two known action movie veterans.

The film has minor weaknesses like it would have been nice to learn a little bit more about Frank Grillo’s character. As both actors are mysterious at first and slowly their true natures come to be shown. It would have been nice if there was still some mystery to them after a bit. As like the main character at first, you don’t know entirely who to trust and it keeps us on our toes.

Eventually, the film becomes a kind of siege movie as it seems everyone wants either into the police station or that certain prison block. Though considering the importance of everything that is on display you would think there would be more involved rather than the few that are eventually shown. 

Although Toby Huss does provide laughs and chills as a rival contract killer who seems to enjoy his job a little too much. Who is as diabolical as he is Goofy. 

While there is plenty of action and double-crosses what works for the film is how much the double-crosses are character-driven and feel more personal overall. Not easily forgettable even as it seems half the characters are at the end of their ropes. 

It manages to be a memorable crime thriller. That is also a lot of fun as it goes along. It never gets boring and uses its one location wisely and to the most extent. As it makes it feel vast rather than secluded. 

Maybe the reason why it is enjoyable is that it has a feel of ’80s and 90’s action. Thrillers with a modern-day flair. So that while not seen it feels like a throwback to those straight to video action films that were little hidden gems because they never tried to be more than what they knew they were. The type that seemed more like B-Movies that would air on HBO on Friday nights as their action offerings of extravaganza. 

This is a film best to go blindly into. Though definitely worth your time. As it doesn’t rewrite anything but works well within its genre and with its time 

Grade: B

BAD BOYS FOR LIFE (2020)

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Directed by Adil & Bilal (Adil El Arbi & Bilal Fallah)
Written By Joe Carnahan, Peter Craig & Chris Bremner
Story By Peter Craig & Joe Carnahan
Based on original Characters Created by: George Gallo
Cinematography: Robrect Hayvaert
Editor: Dan Lebental & Peter McNutley 


Cast: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Joe Pantoliano, Kate Del Castillo, Jacob Scipio, Paola Nunez, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Charles Melton, Nicky Jam, Theresa Randle 


Marcus and Mike have to confront new issues (career changes and midlife crises), as they join the newly created elite team AMMO of the Miami police department to take down the ruthless Armando Armas, the vicious leader of a Miami drug cartel. Now let me start off by saying I have seen all of these films in the theater. In fact I survived a mini mall riot when the first film was soo out at our local theater in Brooklyn. Over the years the films have come at different stages of my life and have meant a lot. As they are a kind of male bonding. Experience and shows the power of Friendship and your own chosen family.

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DEATH WISH (2018)

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Directed By: Eli Roth
Written By: Joe Carnahan
Based On The Novel By: Brian Garfield
Based On the original Motion Picture Screenplay By: Wendell Mayes
Cinematography: Rogier Stoffers
Editor: Mark Goldblatt & Yvonne Valdez 


Cast: Bruce Willis, Elisabeth Shue, Vincent D’Onofrio, Camilla Morrone, Dean Norris, Beau Knapp, Kimberly Elise, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Len Cariou, Jack Kesy, Stephen McHattie, Jaslene Gonzalez

 
Dr. Paul Kersey is a surgeon who only sees the aftermath of his city’s violence as it’s rushed into his ER -until his wife and college-age daughter are viciously attacked in their suburban home. With the police overloaded with crimes, Paul, burning for revenge, hunts for his family’s assailants to deliver justice. As the anonymous slayings of criminals grabs the media’s attention, the city wonders if this deadly avenger is a guardian angel…or a grim reaper.

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