This weekend At the Movies, Peter Travers jumps into the Hollywood time machine back to 1984 with a pair of big budget reboots: the explosion-happy The A-Team, based on the action TV series starring Mr. T, and an updated take on the Ralph Macchio classic The Karate Kid. The verdict: neither film lives up to its original predecessor.
The A-Team director Joe Carnahan assembles a pretty stellar cast — Liam Neeson as “Hannibal,” Bradley Cooper as “Face,” District 9 star Sharlto Copley as “Murdock” and UFC fighter “Rampage” Jackson in the Mr. T role of “B.A.” But fans of the TV show will be turned off by the film’s “shoot to kill” mentality.
As for The Karate Kid , starring Will Smith’s son Jaden, Travers points out the film focuses on kung-fu and not karate. Despite a decent turn by Jackie Chan in the Mr. Miyagi role previously filled by Pat Morita, The Karate Kid‘s biggest crime is that it clocks in at a whopping two-and-a-half hours. The original version is a cult classic, however this new version is “predictable formula.”
There is one must-see movie in theatres this weekend, and it comes from the unlikeliest of people: Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work is one of the most “shockingly funny movies” out there now, Travers say. With its in-depth look into Rivers’ life off camera, the documentary reaches Borat-levels of comedy. “For those who know Rivers only from her red-carpet interviews, this doc will be a revelation,” Travers wrote in his three-and-a-half star review of A Piece of Work. “Rivers is more than a pioneering funny lady who paved the way for the likes of Kathy Griffin and Sarah Silverman.”