The A-Team

D-Level

         
 

11 June 2010| No Comments     by Sean Chavel

 

There are a hundred questions to be had, within the opening ten minutes alone. Along the lines of how did the good guys end up tied up, who are the bad guys and where did they come from, who is representing who, how and why did two of the heroes just happen to convene in the desert, and how did these reckless guys manage to last 80 missions together, and so forth with The A-Team. Some questions are more relevant than others but the mind scans feverishly when there is nothing else to do.

Of all the TV show adaptations, this one seemed like a particularly good idea to blow up to the big screen. The action possibilities of a Special Forces team gone rogue after being framed by high up government conspirators seem limitless, with built-in colorful characters. Efforts are immediately deterred however when “The A-Team” turns out edited like a two hour coming attractions trailer.

Bradley Cooper is pre-occupied acting sexy, reprising his own persona as a overgrown fraternity boy (he plays Templeton “Face” Peck). Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, a UFC light heavyweight, is B.A, Baracus but is no match for Mr. T. Sharlto Copley, the star of last year’s “District 9,” as pilot and navigation expert Howlin’ Mad Murdock. He is also a loon… too much of a loon.

It is humbling to report that Liam Neeson (“Taken”) gives the closest to a full-bodied performance as Hannibal Smith, the chief of the outfit. Even Neeson’s haircut seems like serious divide-and-conquer business. Neeson not only builds rapport with his co-stars and believable seething ridicule with his adversaries, he looks like he can take on some of his own stunts. However, there are few actual human stunts in the movie.

As a critic I am bewildered as to why so many moviegoers are impressed with computerized stunts anymore. I can still get wowed by action, but it is much more impressionable if there is human probability. When a tank flies in the movie by way of discharging artillery and somehow hovering the vehicle in mid-air (uh-huh), my eyes are not impressed. Certainly there are other moviegoers like me interested in what the human body is capable of doing and not what Hollywood computers are capable of doing. There is a reason why East Asia action pictures are currently more exciting.

I was finally entertained, and nudged upright in my seat, by the distraction-diversion-division finale – a gigantically staged cargo dock showdown. But the rest of the action by Joe Carnahan (he directed “Smokin’ Aces”) is incoherent or impossible. There is one love story in the movie involving Jessica Biel (“The Illusionist”) as Captain Charissa Sosa and Cooper’s character Templeton. She is high level enough to order her military team to shoot down and blow-up Cooper and his buddies at one point (no arrest or detain, just shoot down), and yet somehow, he forgives her and waits for her kiss at the end of the movie. Uh huh.

With so much excess and flash, the movie couldn’t care less about changing its mind about its characters five minutes later. The cinematography is flashy in a nasty way with lots of banal flash-pans and crooked angles, which is a shame, too, to the discerning moviegoer.

117 Minutes. Rated PG-13.

ACTION & ADVENTURE / BOMBS AWAY / SATURDAY NIGHT WHILE BRAIN IS HALF-ASLEEP

Film Cousins: “Commando” (1985); “True Lies” (1994); “Smokin’ Aces” (2006); “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” (2009).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.

 

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