The A-Team (Movie Review)

 

Movie Review
The A-Team
2010
Starring: Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Jessica Biel
Directed by: Joe Carnahan

Somewhere, if George Peppard actually cared, he’d shed a tear over The A-Team. The 2010 film adaptation of the TV series that starred the deceased Peppard is a total mess. The story is dumb, the action looks faker than a wrestling match, and some of the acting of the main characters isn’t less than mediocre in quality. If Joe Carnahan’s goal was to take one of the most successful television action shows from the 80s and take away all the good things about it and add a whole bunch of garbage, then he’s succeeded. He should sit by the phone right now and wait for his Oscar nomination to come in.

A crack team of commandos led by John “Hannibal” Smith (Liam Neeson) were framed for a crime they did not commit during the Iraq war. They were framed by a security company that made it look like Hannibal’s team stole a billion dollars in cash and plates that could be used to counterfeit more. Smith and his team are convicted of the crime but they break out of jail and attempt to restore their names.

Smith’s “A-Team” comprises of Templeton “Face” Peck (Bradley Cooper), B.A. Baracus (Quinton Jackson), and insane (legitimately) pilot H.M. Murdock (Sharlto Copley). They’re being chased by Charissa Sosa (Jessica Biel) who’s career is in jeopardy unless she can ensure to the return of the A-Team into custody. Sosa realizes how dangerous the A-Team can be as she used to be in a relationship with Peck. However, as the A-Team gets closer to clearing their names, they find out that things are not what they appear to be and that the conspiracy against them is far bigger than they imagined.

The story is a sordid mess. None of it is believable nor does it create any sort of desire to care for any of the characters. The whole opening sequence in Mexico seems quite implausible. There’s no explanation why or what B.A. Baracus is doing in the middle of Mexico and nothing is made about a US fighter jet shooting down a Mexican plane. That’s pretty weak. The problem is that it goes downhill from there. Elements of the story are changed to satisfy the needs of the storyline arcs without any consideration of logic whatsoever.

But then again, who cares about story in an action movie if the action is good? Well, there’s plenty of action in The A-Team. The problem is that it looks very fake. Back in the day, people actually had to figure out how to make action scenes believable and set up all sorts of special effects to make things look real. Now, it seems like it’s acceptable to do everything in front of a giant green screen and let the computer do the work. Some of the scenes in The A-Team look so fake that it makes you think that they should have just made it an animated film. The worst scene was the tank being flown like a plane. It was almost like they were not even trying to make the scene look real.

Even when it came to real live-action scenes, this movie couldn’t get it right. There were too many close-ups and it felt like all the scenes were being shot during the middle of one of the worst earthquakes ever imagined. Doing stuff like that is a good idea in theory because the filmmakers are trying to create a sense of excitement and intensity. The problem though is that it’s a technique that is rarely executed well were it helps enhance the film rather than hinder the audience’s enjoyment. It makes it impossible to see what is going on. The whole point of going to see an action movie is to see the action, not miss everything and get motion sickness as a result.

The acting was hit-or-miss here. Neeson, Cooper, and Brian Bloom (who played Brock Pike, the main antagonist) were decent here but it never felt like they were trying to hard to get into their roles. In fact, it almost felt like there were a couple of times where Cooper would say something and you’d expect him to break character and yell out “How was that?”. Still, they were better than Jackson and Copley as both seemed like they still hadn’t figured out how to play their characters. Both had uneven performances that lacked proper rhythm. Actually, surprisingly, Biel was the best out of the bunch. It would have been better had she been cast in the Amy Allen role that was in the television series than the Sosa character created for the movie. However, she was very believable in her role and seemed to offer the most steady performance out of the entire cast.

The A-Team movie is bad anyway you want to look at it. The story is awful and the action is even worse. Joe Carnahan should be ashamed of himself for directing this movie the way he did. If you’re a fan of the original television series, you’d be best advised to stay away. If you haven’t heard of the television series before and are jumping into the franchise for the first time with this movie, you should still stay away. It’s a horrible movie and that’s putting it politely.

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2 comments

  1. I disagree with every single thing you wrote here. I think (and after reading many reviews and fans´ reactions), Sharlto Copley was actually the best in the movie. Bile was the best? Um…well, I guess it´s your opinion and everybody has a right to have one.

    1. I’ve read many reviews of The A-Team by top critics and generally most did not single any of the cast members for their performances (and when they did, it was not positive). My main criticism with Copley’s portrayal of Murdock is that he was too insane and therefore all over the place. Perhaps it’s because they gave Murdock less of presence than any of the other characters (in fact, although I didn’t sit there with a stopwatch, Sosa may have had more screen time than Murdock). I just felt that it seemed that Copley’s playing of Murdock was too uneven in that it felt that sometimes felt like he was more mellow than others for no real reason. However, I think that’s less Copley’s fault than the fault of either the writers or those who cut the film together because it really feels like like the Hannibal, Face, B.A. show with Murdock thrown in to satisfy the fans of the series.

      As for Biel, I think she did a really good job in the small role that she had. We’re not talking Oscar-caliber but she made her part believable. Maybe I’ve got lower expectations for her considering that most of her other roles have highlighted some of her other assets. I felt with her performance her that she proved that she is just more than a pretty face. She gave her character credibility that I don’t think a Megan Fox or another random starlet could have been capable of.

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