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The A-Team (2010)

September 15, 2010

7/10 Fools Pitied

Can’t believe I liked it either.

The A-Team is about a ragtag group of highly unorthodox Army Rangers who pull off a near-impossible mission in Iraq, head on back to the good ol’ US-of-A and find themselves framed for murdering their commanding officer. Since apparently it’s frowned upon to kill high-ranking members of the military, they spend the next 6 months doing their best not to drop the soap in a federal penitential before busting out in true crazy bastard fashion and start hunting down the mofos who set them up so that they can clear their good names and go back to waxing foreign dictators and the like.

So I’ve never seen the show, never had any real interest in seeing this from the second I heard about its existence, but then again, there’s only so much one can do to keep themselves occupied on a six-hour flight. Sure as shit wasn’t gonna watch Dear John.

All the same, color me shocked.

I guess the big reason this movie works at all is because it’s all effing ridiculous and everyone one board is very much in the know. From the moment we’re introduced to Hannibal, Face, B.A. and Murdock, you can tell that this is a group of guys who know how to have fun. They’re all smiles all the time, they’re the kind of dudes who take “insane” as a compliment, and they make their jobs seem like the best damn thing you could do for a living next to Chief Roller Coaster Tester. From “flying” a tank by unloading its cannon rounds in freefall to catching a guy in a parachute with the leg of a helicopter, there’s really no limit to what this crew pulls off like it’s nobody’s business. lthough I realize that in theory, this all sounds pretty stupid, and in most practices, it probably would be.

But it’s all about tone here, the tone being “you know it’s crazy, we know it’s crazy, so let’s all take this with a grain of salt and have ourselves a fuckin’ time”, and you don’t really get a lot of that in action movies nowadays. If it were trying to take itself seriously, this baby would have crashed and burned real early on, but since this is. It does get a little too serious/absurd for its own good thanks to B.A.’s ethical struggle over whether Gandhi would approve of him powerbombing someone to death and a final action scene in a shipyard that should have killed off the entire cast within the first minute, but the pros tend to outweigh the cons.

Liam Neeson continues to further his new found total badass reputation as Col. Hannibal Smith, Bradley Cooper is actually quite enjoyable as Lt. “Faceman” Peck, Sharlto Copley ain’t bad as Capt. “Howlin’ Mad” Murdock, and while he’s no T., I can’t knock Quinton “Rampage” Jackson for doing a pretty swell job of transitioning from nutcase MMA fighter to B.A. Baracus. They’re all good on their own, but it’s when they’re all together and talking like guys at a bar instead of mercenaries on the run that it really comes together. Also nice to see Patrick Wilson as a genuine asshole instead of his usual everybody’s-All-American shtick, he needs to keep that up. And Jessica Biel does her thing.

Some of it might have had to do with my spending the other four hours of the trip suffering through Prince of Persia and Robin Hood, maybe I’d just gotten to that point of sheer exhaustion and sleep deprivation where everything seems funny for no reason, but whatever the explanation, I was pretty damn close to giving this an 8. I can see how folks might shit all over this and the final action scene that comes this close to jumping the shark, but The A-Team was kind of a blast. Consistently funny dialogue, pretty sharp direction by Joe Carnahan that keeps a good balance between “laid back” and “adrenaline rush”,  and while I wouldn’t go so far as to take this review as a full-out recommendation, it’s definitely one of the better guilty pleasures I’ve come across in recent memory.

Strange how all these strengths would normally come up as weaknesses in most action movies. All about the attitude, I suppose.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. September 15, 2010 4:27 am

    Murdock won this one for me, Copley’s definitely one to watch!! I was exactly the same, didn’t expect anything but the action scenes were so cool that I didn’t really care about the story – although at least they tried to make the story decent!

    There’s been a whole bunch of decent action films recently, long may this trend continue!!!

    • September 15, 2010 9:35 am

      Wasn’t crazy about Copley in District 9, but he was pretty sweet here. And what are these other decent action films you speak of? I need details.

  2. September 15, 2010 9:23 am

    Yep, a guilty pleasure is how I recommend this film to all my friends. Couldn’t agree with your review more; a definite BluRay purchase on day 1 for me!!

    • September 15, 2010 9:33 am

      Hahaha, that’s a lot of love right there. Glad you agree, thought I’d get lambasted for this in no time flat.

  3. September 15, 2010 12:04 pm

    I enjoyed this as well. The crappy CGI screwed the pooch but the whole cast actually look like their having fun.

    • September 15, 2010 12:07 pm

      That’s what I’m sayin’, dude. Beaming over here at the positive reactions so far.

  4. Smally permalink
    September 15, 2010 2:13 pm

    Sounds like the kind of movie I’d watch only for the eye-candy; in this case, Bradley Cooper. But hubby might enjoy the mindless action. Will put this on our queue.

    • September 15, 2010 2:49 pm

      hahaha. his shirt is off a lot here. i think you’ll enjoy it.

  5. September 15, 2010 6:42 pm

    I have the same opinion as PFR, I love Copley’s act. Love him since District 9 which I think is the best movie in 2009.

    I really like the a team, I know it’s a no brain movie, but I like since the first day I saw the series. The reason I love the movie is because it stays true to the series. I remember saying this somewhere but I forgot where, I use to love Mission Impossible…but I hate the movie because it changes great team work into individual work.

    • September 16, 2010 10:03 am

      Interesting point at Mission Impossible. Never saw the show, been a LONG time since I’ve seen the first movie, but that’s something I’ll definitely be keeping in mind when I finally get around to it again.

      And apparently I need to see District 9 again. Thought Wikus was a total asshole.

  6. September 15, 2010 9:35 pm

    I thought it was funny, and action-packed as hell, but the problem was that the CGI, and special effects were so out of hand, and in your face sometimes, it was confusing to see what was actually going on. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the show, and I have seen about 5 or more episodes, and I can say, they should keep on going with these movies. Nice Review brah!

    • September 16, 2010 10:05 am

      Thanks, man. I guess it was hard to single out the special effects since I saw it on an airplane TV the size of a notepad. Only truly ridiculous use of CG was when B.A. somehow dodges all the metal crates that fall off the ship at the end. That was absurd.

  7. Mark Nuttall permalink
    September 16, 2010 4:11 pm

    Enjoyed this one too – a lot of fun.

    But you should see this on a bigger screen Aid, just to marvel at how they got away with leaving half-finished CG in a blockbuster release. The docks scene especially looks awful, like they did a couple of renders and thought “well it looks fake, there’s a lot of noise floating around and the contrasts all over the place but hey, it’s near the end so we’ll get away with it”

    Still a damn good leave-your-brain-at-the-door action romp though.


    • September 17, 2010 9:24 am

      Yeah, the dock scene I could pick up on, but from what I’ve been hearing, I think you’re right about this. Still fun, but I think I did myself a favor by seeing it on such a shitty TV.

  8. September 21, 2010 2:10 pm

    Yea, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this one too. I think, like you said, it’s just that everyone is on board with how ridiculous this film is and the film is totally fine with being silly. It was a blast from beginning to end and a film I was glad I got dragged into against my “better” judgment.

    • September 21, 2010 2:12 pm

      My sentiments exactly, man. Well said.

    • September 21, 2010 2:24 pm

      Same here, man. I was expecting garbage and couldn’t believe how much fun I had. So nice when that happens, and that rarely happens. Good stuff, looking forward to the sequel.


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