REVIEW: The A-Team

The A-Team
Directed by: Joe Carnaham
Written by: Joe Carnaham, Brian Blood, Skip Woods
Starring: Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Sharlto Copley, Quinten Jackson, Patrick Wilson, Jessica Biel

The A-Team, without really intending it or hoping to, is likely to become the very face of the summer 2010 box office. Not that it will be remembered years from now, a year from now, or even a month from now, but there are certain (all) elements of The A-Team that just have a way of summing up how much of a shit-show this summer has turned out to be.

With sequel after sequel, adaptation after adaptation, remake after remake, finding quality entertainment even for a summer action flick has proven to be harder than stopping a little leak in the Gulf, which as far as I’m concerned, has proven to be more entertaining coverage to watch than anything I’ve yet to see in theatres these past few months.

Plot really isn’t anything to pick on here; it’s about the standard fare for an actioner. Somebody in the Middle East wants to highjack mints to print of US currency, turns out there are some government agencies that area actually behind the whole stunt and it’s up to the A-Team to work as renegades outside the law to stop them. It really does deserve a better summation than that, but with its complete racism towards the Middle Eastern characters and even B.A., it’s like the storytellers learned nothing from Michael Bay’s classy work in Transformers 2.

That’s one of the lesser concerns the film really brings up surprisingly. The one place the film shines is also where it dulls it out and dumbs it down right into movie hall of shame. During a few sequences of high-voltage action heists, there are scenes intercut where Cooper or Neeson use toys and board game pieces to demonstrate their schemes while it all unfolds simultaneously. It’s an old trick, but done with considerable cleverness and sharpness that it creates the only moments in the film where it seems to be on its A-game. However, the edge is quickly lost once flashback clips are played over and over, reminding the audience just how dumb they really should feel for watching this garbage.

The film does a lot to take advantage of its audience, waving around nonsense like it’s supposed to make sense. To blame of course is the writing, which stops at nothing to spew eye-rolling, pro-America, racist, unfunny dialogue like it’s something actually profound. Blame casting for assembling this team of misfits who come together with no chemistry or no actual character in themselves. Cooper is grossly cocky and sure that audiences find him as sexy and charming as he finds himself, Neeson and Copley are wasting their talents for paychecks and cheap laughs, and Jackson may find himself nominated for a Razzie.

It’s all shit really. The only few compliments the film deserves are the few rare moments where Copley hits the right notes on his character and the writing isn’t completely dreadful, such as the “spin me right round” bit while he’s hanging from the helicopter or during the Bravehart impression. A third Wilson brother as EW’s Owen Gleiberman calls him. But still, those moments don’t even belong in the film in anyway. It’s unoriginal, it’s unentertaining, it’s one big disgraceful disarray.

There’s a mess to be cleaned up Mr. Obama, and it’s coming to a theatre near you!

Grade: F

7 thoughts on “REVIEW: The A-Team

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  6. Joe Carnahan’s The A-Team (2010) wasn’t a great movie, but it’s an action extravaganza that’s made watchable thanks to an engaging cast and some exciting set pieces. Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper and Sharlto Copley are a hoot. The A-Team’s convoluted plans don’t have much probability of success, but that’s the point (or rather, that’s the joke). Carnahan isn’t trying to make you gasp in surprise; he’s trying to make you to laugh out of incredulity. The film is consistently surprising because it shows us things that no one would reasonably predict. It is fitting that the final action sequence literally features the A-Team setting off pyrotechnics.

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