The A-Team Review

The A Team ReviewI’ll be honest, the only exposure I’ve had to this television series has been with odd references, well spoofs actually, in animated series like Family Guy or the odd cameo by Mr. T – Not Another Teen Movie comes to mind: “Be the ball, and throw yourself.” Anyways, since the original series was before my time I’m arguably in the target market for this film, but a PG-rating would seem to indicate that it’s actually intended for younger audiences, so I guess I’m speaking then for the lost generation, old enough to be inundated with the pop cultural references but too old for the Disney-like bloodshed and bleeped cuss-words of the remake.

We cover a lot of ground, both literally and figuratively: the team is haphazardly assembled in Mexico, Cpt. John ‘Hannibal’ Smith (Liam Neeson), the sage leader of this three ring circus, inlists the help of former Army Ranger B.A. Baracus (Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson) to save his comrade Lt. ‘Faceman’ Peck (Bradley Cooper) from being torched for sleeping with the General’s daughter. They seek out a lunatic pilot to fly them back over the border, Capt. H.M. Murdock (Sharlto Copley), who’s looney tune antics put a few much needed laughs in this film – he performs a rotor check on the medical helicopter while singing ‘You Spin Me Round.’ Everything goes ‘according to plan’ and we fast forward to Iraq where the gang has become an elite tactical unit, with some eighty missions behind them. Enter the way too hot Jessica Biel as Captain Charissa Sosa, and the shallow love story between her and Face, the ladies’ man. She’s on a super secret mission and she want’s her ex to stay out of the way, things go well but a shady character from the firm Black Forest (a play on defense contractor Blackwater) scores the loot and Sosa gets demoted and the A-Team dishonorably discharged and sent to the worst depiction of a military prison possible.

Both Hannibal and Face are exceptionally resourceful in prison, whereas B.A. Baracus develops a non-violent streak, which is good because the violence in this movie isn’t lethal: whether it’s stalling or rotating a chopper mid-air, or scaling the side of a skyscraper, there’s very little blood and involved, and the only way people die is to be consumed in a huge explosion, otherwise you’re knocked unconcious with the Roger Moore judo chop. The action sequences are equally silly, Murdock is freed from a V.A. hospital in Germany, they end up steering a free falling tank (long story) into a lake, presumably in the Bavarian Alps. There’s plenty of location shooting, and I have to say I was proud to watch Cologne’s train station and famous cathedral stand in for Frankfurt’s (the other fly over of Frankfurt is real).

The original actors aren’t happy with the way things turned out either, the original ‘Face’ (Dirk Benedict) has a cameo, but it last for three seconds and I missed it – and I even spotted Richard Branson getting wanded at an airport in Casino Royale. Fine, I have no idea what Benedict looks like but then again I didn’t know what the original actors from Starsky and Hutch looked like either, and I was able to spot them in the remake. Having said that, Liam Neeson brings his high standard, characterized by the flawless accent, as always. His interpretation of Hannibal Smith is somewhere between Captain America and Mr. Clean, and you wouldn’t think that somebody so straight-edged would be able to ‘fly a tank’ or pull off any other of the bad-ass stunts they do. Cooper plays the cocksure Face well, but his charcter, Biel’s and Jackson’s are all very one-dimensional. Murdock had a few good lines, so did some of the other characters, one in particular I meant to mention escapes me, but I can’t be bothered to watch that film again.

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