‘80s fan favorite The A-Team gets a big budget remake staring Liam Neeson in the George Peppard role and Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson in the part made famous by Mr. T. The A-Team, for the uninitiated, was a wrongly convicted Army Special Forces Unit who helped people in need for a small fee (which was typically returned because, you know, they’re good guys). The show is best remembered for its cartoonishly excessive violence and cementing the phrase “I pity the fool” in the American lexicon. Director and co-writer Joe Carnahan has done little to upset the apple cart other than add testosterone and money to the equation. Hannibal (Neeson) still “loves it when a plan comes together” and B.A. Baracus (Jackson) is still afraid to fly. Face (Bradley Cooper) remains a lady’s man and Murdock (Sharlto Copley) is still crazy.
This time out they’ve been wrongly convicted of attempting to steal high-quality printing plates used by Saddam Husein to counterfeit U.S. currency during the first Gulf War. What’s that you say? Our money no longer looks like that and freshly minted versions of currency no longer in circulation would raise suspicions so high as to make the bills practically worthless? Buddy, you’re at the wrong movie. Because if that upsets you, you’re gonna poop yourself when they literally fly a tank. Yeah, you read that right.
The A-Team is loud. In fact, it’s quite possibly the loudest film I’ve ever seen. (Seriously, this is the Motorhead of movies.) The film jumps from one bloated action sequence to the next with a wink and smile. It’s like the TV show…only more so. People shoot but rarely kill. (Their targets might fall down but you never really know if they actually die.) Characters move from place to place with virtually no explanation. Often times the laws of physics simply cease to exist. It has no grounding in reality whatsoever. All of which, ultimately, is what makes it work as much as it does. It’s a silly, deafening, unapologetically bombastic excuse for a film…and I mean that in a good way. This is a film so over-the-top that they actually managed to find a Gandhi quote that was pro-violence. Wow…just…wow. I salute you, good sirs.
(The quote in question, if you’re interested is, “It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.” Of course, the film conveniently leaves off the following sentences which is, “Violence is any day preferable to impotence. There is hope for a violent man to become non-violent. There is no such hope for the impotent.” Not exactly the rousing endorsement of bloodshed that the filmmakers would have us believe.)
However, the film is perhaps too much of a good thing. It’s so overstuffed with hyperactivity that it can make one a bit numb. And I’m not sure if it’s the sound editing or the acoustics of the theater I saw the film in, but the dialog was often muddy and difficult to discern. Admittedly, it’s not a movie in with intricate plotting but much of the charm (for lack of a better word) of a film such as this is derived from the wisecracks of its protagonists. So, burying the dialog under a barrage of explosions and gunshots probably isn’t the best idea. At times the action scenes, as seems to be the case so often these days, are over-edited to the point of being virtually nonsensical. However, it’s only at times and, sadly, that’s an improvement over most action films of late. In the end, The A-Team largely delivers on its promise of action and humor.
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being The A-Team television show and 1 being this, The A-Team gets a 7.
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