Obliterated: Rock ‘em-sock ‘em action on the ribald, silly side

ObliteratedObliterated was making some noise on Netflix a few weeks ago, and I had much fun sliding my way through it. Just the kind of premise you know grew out of a half-sloshed pitch session, where everybody’s three cocktails in, and somebody says, “You know what would be cool? You have this typical kick-ass team of commandos – the sexy-smart leaders, the brawny man of action, the timid but brilliant hacker, the ice-cold sniper – out to save the world from an atomic time bomb in, what, wherever, Las Vegas – yeah. yeah, Vegas! — and through a weird turn of events, they have to stop this terrorist guy from blowing of Vegas after they’ve had the victory party – when they are all drunk and high as hell, on everything from vodka to magic mushrooms – but they still have to save the world. Great idea or what Am I right? Am I right?

Well, actually … yeah, you are sort of right. The meta-cliched team of action heroes is right there, in scene one frame one, and they ru through the whole “saving Vegas from nuclear annihilation” plot at breakneck speed, like in, what, twenty minutes … only to find out halfway through Act One that they were wrong, that the bomb is still out there, and they still have to get it back … except they are all, every one of them, way too drunk and high to pull it off.

A clever enough bit, but maybe a tad overlong. Might have been better as a solid and super-fast two-hour flick; it seems to work very hard to justify the many episodes, but the plot and the accomplished character actors who populate this thing make it work. You’ll recognize faces, if not names, up to and including C. Thomas Howell of The Outsiders as a Hunter S. Thompson-level drug-lover who’s also the best bomb defuser in the world. But here’s the crazy part …

Do you remember when I talked about Violett Beane, now in Death and Other Details, rising up from 21 appearances as sassy young speedster Jesse Quick on CW’s The Flash? And how unrecognizable she was? Well here in Obliterated, we have another veteran from one of the CW’s other Arrowverse shows, and you’d have to be a cinematic Sherlock yourself to recognize Nick Zano – Steel, from Legends of Tomorrow, as one of the beefcake leads here. Who’d a thought he’d look better all sweated up than he did encases in metal? Huh.

By the way, some of the other actors who paid their dues with DCEU shows, all vaguely in the same multiverse, are doing fine, too. Lisseth Chavez, who played Spooner for the last couple of seasons on Legend, is Nathan Fillion’s new partner on The Rookie, and doing just fine, while Alan Richardson, pretty literally tearing it up as Jack Reacher in Reacher – the real Jack Reachers, not the stubby imitation that Tom Cruise tried to pull off – was semi-psychotic superhero Hawk, of Hawk and Dove fame, on Titans, and even before that shows up on SmallvilleSmallville, people! — as a young version of Arthur Curry – yeah, Aquaman, before he was Jason Momoa, before he was a thing.

Anyway: Obliterted is a little too frenetic and a little too long for our own good. They went to surprisingly explicit lengths with the sexy stuff, more than once, and got a little too into the whole penis-torturing stuff. I mean, I’m all four full-frontal nudity, but hoo boy, a razor-sharp rotating French tickler right there and put it up – never mind. But Obliterated has a kind of giddy exuberance that makes you want to stick with it. And given its popularity for a while there and its open-ended conclusion, you would have thought we would be seeing more of this team. Unfortunately, the Powers That Be at Netflix have already decided: no more Obliterated. Don’t ask me why.

But seriously .. what are Grant Gustin and Melissa Benoist up to these days? Yeah, yeah, they gave us a couple hundre episodes each of The Flash and Supergirl, but that was then and this is now. What have you done for me lately? Come on, people, back to work. Jeez, these kids today…

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