The A-Team Review

Posted: November 19, 2010 in Review
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The A-Team Review

It must be the time for the unlikely ‘80’s revival, what with Stallone’s career, Mickey Rouke’s return and even a Yogi Bear film all being resurrected for a comeback. Fortunately, this big-screen version of cult classic The A-Team is firmly on the side of worthy of returning.

Col. Hannibal Smith (Liam Neeson) is head of a special Alpha Unit – or A-Team – that runs extremely covert operations in modern day Iraq. The team, consisting of Templeton ‘Face’ Peck (Bradley Cooper), ‘Mad’ Murdock (Sharlto Copely) and B.A. Baracus (Quinton Jackson) carry out missions with no mess, no casualties and only using parts found to hand. All this comes to an end, however, when they are made patsies for the murder of their commanding officer and framed with the theft of printing plates capable of making US bills. Now, with the four incarcerated in separate prisons and their names smeared in the mud, it’s time for a plan to come together…

It’s a big, dumb movie that aims to make its audience laugh. It might not have much to do with the original TV series (besides making perfect operations based on scrap metal), but it at least acknowledges that the show was really quite silly. The A-Team is all about mindless entertainment.

And, yes, it is exceedingly mindless. The film is essentially a series of plans coming together and being executed, but what makes it work is that the operations are so slickly filmed and so cleverly crafted that you’ll find yourself caught up in trying to guess how they intend to get away with it.

The cast are excellent, with a gentle, humorous bond that feels realistic and always managing to back each other up. Quite how new actor Sharlto Copely (in his second role after District 9) manages to fit in alongside Liam Neeson and Bradley Cooper is testament to his incredible talents.

Perhaps the film’s main weakness is its lack of an antagonist for the first hour or so. The first half of the film is meant to be a mystery, with the team trying to figure out who set them up, but it does mean that things are forced to be a little bit confusing, with CIA agents and military personnel interchanging regularly as the chief villain.

If you like your films a little more grounded in reality, then you’ll totally hate The A-Team. If, however, you prefer a small dose of escapism mixed up with pitch-perfect comedy in a film that doesn’t want to make you think too hard, then you could do a lot worse than this film. For instance, you could be watching the Yogi Bear movie.

  1. Alex says:

    A-Teams were a 1950s military concept adopted during the early part of the Vietnam War. They were essentially roiving elite infantry patrols performing special forces, reconnaisance and ambush missions. They were also a means to follow through with the “aid” concept for the vietnamese as they provided the only healthcare to the indiginous populations in regions sparsely populated. They were also some of the most heavily criticised for heavy handedness.

    Liam Niesson seems a curious casting decision as he is a serious professional actor. The choice seems motivated by his unfortunate personal tragedies over the last few years. He wanted to do a comedy rather than the serious acting he has been. Unkind? Maybe but if you wife died would you rather do something fun or something dark and depressing.

    All in all it wasn’t a bad film, it had Jesica Biel in it after all, the bit with the tank was cool. Interesting undercurrents of rebellion against authority, which is rarer and rarer in american productions. Yet once again the military is a cleaner, purer way of serving your country. Apparently.

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