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Under Review: ‘The A-Team’

— by MARIUSZ ZUBROWSKI —

It seems as if stupidity can get a pass on television much more easily than on the big-screen. Perhaps it’s because the majority of television programs are compressed into 30-minute episodes, whereas feature length films usually run in the two-hour range. Plus, you can simply change the channel without repercussions when dealing with a television program, but if you pay for a movie ticket, on most occasions, you are forced to sit through any idiocy that you paid for. This is what hinders Joe Carnahan’s big-screen revival of “The A-Team,” a once popular television program whose defining aspect was its stupidity.

Yes, “The A-Team” does maintain the feel of the show, but with that there comes a paper-thin plot, incomprehensible action sequences, and mediocre acting from all except Sharlto Copley, who lends another brilliant performance following his lead in “District 9.”

“The A-Team” starts by introducing the audience to each of the film’s unique characters. There’s the leader, Hannibal (Liam Neeson), who we first see being tortured by crooked Mexican cops. They attempt to kill him using his own gun and fail, so instead they try to feed Hannibal to a pair of hungry dogs. Next, B.A. Baracus (Quinton “Rampage” Jackson) is presented. We watch as he raids an automobile storage house in search of his “baby.” Of course, it turns out that its actually his pimped out car that he’s looking for and he surely finds it.

But as Baracus is driving off, he runs into Hannibal in the middle of the road. Hannibal, while holding Baracus at gun-point, explains that he must get to his friend before he is killed. The friend that Hannibal is talking about is Face (Bradley Cooper), who is about to be hanged by a peeved Mexican higher-up. In order to ensure that the action runs smoothly, Baracus is shot in the arm and Hannibal proceeds to drive. But this is where it just becomes frustratingly implausible. Hannibal notices an army tattoo on the injured Baracus, who suddenly forgives Hannibal for shooting him in the arm. It’s just horrible scripting. Regardless, they save Face who is now about to get burned alive, which is just beyond me. Why would they feel the need to burn Face alive if they already prepared a noose for his execution?

The trio then meets Sharlto Copley’s character, Murdock, who is a patient in a mental facility. Once again, Hannibal pulls some strings to miraculously release Murdock into his care within seconds and the foursome get on top of the roof, where is there a helipad with a fully-functional helicopter. Wow, that’s a lot more luck than I have a daily basis. Murdock, disregarding complaints from the rest of the team, shows off his skills as an expert pilot as they try to evade the Mexican police. Now, I’ve heard of jumping the shark, but what “The A-Team” does is literally over-kill. During this sequence in which Mexican aircraft are trying to gun down the team, Murdock flips the helicopter upside down for a couple seconds in order to dodge a couple of missiles. Well, that surely seems impossible.

But that’s just the first 20-or-so minutes of the film. Following their escape, we refocus in on “The A-Team” in a base in Iraq. But in order to conserve space on this review and keep spoilers to a minimum, I’ll cut this synopsis short. The team is then accused for counterfeiting to which they were framed and escape from various prisons in order to retrieve the engraving plates in order to clear their names.

The main problem with “The A-Team” is its horrid writing and story development. There is absolutely no explanation on why these four men chose to work together besides a simple agreement. These characters have no personal struggles and though they have a couple of unique attributes, they are never really acted well-enough for the film to prosper. However, Copley, lends an entertaining performance which even sports a reference to his break-out role as Wikus Van De Merwe, and it’s usually his one-liners that capture the audience’s laughter.

Even the action scenes are a mess. It’s just much too implausible for their own good and though I understand that this a big-budget action film, I do expect a certain level of reality — something that “The A-Team” throws out entirely thus making it pure escapism at its worst.

“The A-Team” is a C+ in everything from its script to its overblown action sequences and thus should be skipped by all.

. . .

Follow Mariusz Zubrowski on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ItsJustMariusz.

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3 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. Adam Poynter #
    1

    Wow, I have heard mixed reviews but it doesnt sound like you liked this film much. I still might catch it in the next few weeks though.

  2. Alexa M. #
    2

    I actually kind of liked this movie. I was in the mood for pure mindless ridiculousness when I saw it, which is pretty much what I got. I mean, they do try to fly a tank.
    But I completely agree that Sharlto Copley steals the show. He’s really the main reason I saw it. His timing is just impeccable. When he started swinging around on the propeller and singing “You spin me right round” I almost died.

  3. Dave #
    3

    Fond memories of Saturday teatimes spent with Hannibal Smith and the rest of The A-Team? Prepare to have them squelched, ouch.


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