1 hour, 57 minutes
When a mission in Mexico goes south for Templeton 'Faceman' Peck (Bradley Cooper, The Hangover), Hannibal Smith (Liam Neeson, (Taken) recruits the aid of disgraced Ranger B.A. Baracus (Midnight Meat Train) and pilot H.M. "Howling Mad" Murdock (Sharlto Copley, District 9), to complete the job and pull Peck's ass out of the fire. Eight years and eighty successful missions later, the guys are unofficially recruited for a black ops mission; a mission that goes, to put it lightly, badly. The A-Team, now incarcerated in separate maximum-security installations, promptly escape in an effort to clear their names.
Given the formulaic nature of the A-Team television series, the camaraderie of the cast had to be on-point to attract audiences. And for nearly one hundred episodes, it was. The great thing about the feature length movie is Neeson, Cooper, Jackson and Copley strike that same harmonious chord. Mind-bending missions, thrilling chases, and daring escapes work so well because the foursome jibe and antagonize one another as if they were genuinely the best of friends.
A relationship that doesn't work onscreen is between Peck and Sosa (Jessica Biel, Stealth). There is a complete lack of chemistry. An exchange in a photo booth between the two was uber-creepy instead of romantically tense. Maybe the extreme close-ups during that sequence failed to capture any emotion, but I fear there wasn't any spark to film. Given that Sosa is external to the guys' plight, she can easily be written out of future installments.
With respect to the thrill factor, director Joe Carnahan (Smokin Aces) has a above average handle on crafting an action flick. That said, my one quibble, one that I often have with contemporary action movies, is once you set the bar for a certain level of over-the-top scenarios, don't exponentially surpass those constraints. Case in point? The finale, which strains even the most liberal reality.
The uneven quality of the special effects and choppy edits plagued many of the outlandish sequences. At times I was caught up in the riptide of hard-hitting action while other times, the shoddy look of the scene took me totally out of the moment. It didn't ruin my overall enjoyment of the A-Team; it's just something to be mindful of in future installments.
The Money Shot
Children and adults of the eighties know all too well that if you had a problem, if no one else could help, and if you could find them, maybe you could hire the crack commando unit known as the A-Team. Hollywood reached out to these boys and they have rescued the summer box office from being a complete wash.
Thursday, July 8, 2010