Obliterated TV Review

Its The A-Team meets The Hangover in the new action-comedy series from the creators of Cobra Kai.

Last Updated on December 1, 2023


Plot: Obliterated is a high octane action-comedy from the creators of Cobra Kai that tells the story of an elite special forces team who thwarts a deadly threat to Las Vegas. After their celebratory party, filled with booze, drugs and sex, the team discovers that the bomb they deactivated was a fake. The now intoxicated team has to fight through their impairments, overcome their personal issues, find the real bomb, and save the world.

Review: When an elite team of special forces, commandos, and spies team up to save the day, that is usually the end of the story. The credits typically roll on a happy ending once the bad guy is killed and the world is saved. The new series Obliterated looks at what happens when that celebration is premature in a blend of the team action of The A-Team with the drug and alcohol-fueled excess of The Hangover. From the team that created the Harold & Kumar franchise as well as the hit Netflix series Cobra Kai, Obliterated is an action-packed series that boasts buckets of blood, lots of sex, and so many explosions that you would think you were back in the early 90s days of Schwarzenegger, Willis, and Stallone. A fun ride that never takes itself too seriously, this is a fun romp that knows what its audience wants and delivers.

Obliterated review

Obliterated opens on a raucous Las Vegas rooftop party thrown by Ivan Koslov (Costa Ronin). Amongst the guests are a team of undercover operatives led by CIA agent Ava Winters (Shelley Hennig) and Navy Seal squad leader Chad McKnight (Nick Zano). Also amongst the team are Air Force pilot Paul Yung (Eugene Kim), musclebound Trunk (Terrence Terrell), sniper Angela Gomez (Paola Lazaro), NSA tech specialist Maya Lerner (Kimi Rutledge), and explosives expert Haggery (C. Thomas Howell). Following Koslov, the team engages with the Russian and his mercenaries while discovering a nuclear device that Haggerty expertly defuses. CIA Director Langdon (Carl Lumbly) thanks the team, and they prepare to go their separate ways. But McKnight decides they deserve some acclaim for saving Las Vegas and decides to throw a rager with their remaining budget. The insane party features drugs, lots of sex, and some major reveals between the team members before they learn the shocking news that the bomb was a decoy and the real nuke is still out there.

All of that happens in the first episode. Over the next seven, the team of elite soldiers must save Las Vegas again, but while they have MDMA, magic mushrooms, and tons of alcohol in their system. At first, the impairment of their abilities plays for laughs as they must figure out how to execute precision-oriented tasks while hallucinating and slurring their words. This also plays to the various actors’ strengths, notably C. Thomas Howell, whose character is already a veteran drug user, then goes AWOL from the rest of the team. McKnight and Winters, who share sexual tension and equal chemistry, bicker for leadership as she uses her mental skills, and he emulates a blend of Nicolas Cage’s hairstyle from Con Air, John McClane’s white tanktop from Die Hard, and the swagger of Stallone in every other action movie. There is a charm to these characters, especially as the series never tries to make them politically correct and allows them just to be ass-kicking, horny, and crass warriors who get the job done even when they are three sheets to the wind.

Obliterated‘s low-budget charm feels like a throwback to a series we do not get very often anymore. Each episode, along with the nudity, freely throws profanity without caution or consideration. Surprisingly, the first episode has an intense sex scene that does not show anything more than a couple of butts, while a few minutes later, there is a hilarious full-frontal scene featuring one of the male actors. As the series progresses, the narrative develops a somewhat repetitive rhythm that has the crew finding a lead, following it, engaging in a battle, and then realizing it was either a red herring or a lead to another clue that segues into the subsequent chapter. Each hour-long episode is pretty well-packed with comedy and action, much of which covers the story’s more glaring plot and logic holes. Obliterated is not marquee, award-level television but rather a more fun series that benefits from having a blast. Unlike the recent Netflix series The Night Agent, this series never tries to be smarter than it is. Much of this show revels the stupid, including a green gremlin-like monster and a great cameo from Lori Petty.

Josh Heald, Hayden Schlossberg, and Jon Hurwitz share writing credit on the first two episodes of the series, and each directed an episode. The rest of the writing staff comprises Cobra Kai veterans, including Bob Dearden, Rachele Lynn, Joe Piarulli, Laurie Magers, and Rowan Wheeler. Directors on the series also include Joel Novoa and America Young. The score is provided by Cobra Kai composers Leo Birenberg and Zach Robinson, while veteran cinematographer Abraham Martinez brings out the bright lights and big cityscapes of Las Vegas. The scale of Obliterated is surprisingly small, containing most of the season in hotel rooms, warehouses, and other such locales to keep production costs down. Still, there are some solid fights, both hand-to-hand and with weapons, along with good use of helicopters and wide shots of the Nevada vistas. The series benefits from a pumping soundtrack of familiar pop, rock, and hip-hop songs, including a familiar singer of standards who factors into a key part of the plot.

Obliterated review

Lest you think that Obliterated is a tone-deaf foray into lunkheadedness, the series boasts strong female characters, two LGBTQ protagonists, and a healthy dose of modern sensibility. It never dives into wokeness, instead spending a great deal of time mocking all Russian characters as “Communists” and showcasing a character recreating Ali Larter’s infamous whipped cream bikini from Varsity Blues. This is far from high art, but Obliterated is a lot of fun with some creative kills and witty one-liners that would have been right at home coming from Arnold or Sly. Obliterated is a solid original project from the team that has been mining Karate Kid nostalgia for half a decade. I hope we get multiple seasons of this series in the future.

Obliterated premieres on November 30 on Netflix.


Source: JoBlo.com

About the Author

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Alex Maidy has been a JoBlo.com editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. A Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic and a member of Chicago Indie Critics, Alex has been JoBlo.com's primary TV critic and ran columns including Top Ten and The UnPopular Opinion. When not riling up fans with his hot takes, Alex is an avid reader and aspiring novelist.