Don’t pity the A-Team

Dave Taylor | Boulder Weekly

Based on the 1980s TV series of the same name, The A-Team starts with the formation of the team by former Army Rangers. Eighty successful missions later, they’re tricked into recovering stolen U.S. Mint plates that threaten to enable terrorists destroy the nation’s economy with counterfeit Benjamins.

The team fails at its mission, is framed and each A-Team member is subsequently thrown in prison. No worries. They break out through increasingly unlikely sequences of events and then have the dual task of recovering the stolen plates and clearing their names.

Or, at least, the plot seems to be something like that, but this is the kind of film where it’s really not much about the story line, and somehow, that’s okay. The movie is still entertaining and the cast (Liam Neeson as Hannibal, the group leader, Bradley Cooper as Face, the handsome woman-crazy group member, Quinton Jackson as tough guy B.A. Baracus, a role made famous by Mr. T. in the original series, and District 9 standout Sharlto Copley as the crazy Murdock) works well and has an appealing chemistry.

Sharlto Copley offers an entertaining performance as the crazy helicopter pilot Murdock, but his accent was all over the place as the film progressed. In some scenes he sounded like an American, in other scenes his native South African twang snuck through, and in one scene he even speaks Swahili. Sloppy directing and continuity. Liam Neeson does the best job, however, instilling Hannibal with a wry self-conscious humor that was reminiscent of Peppard in the original role.

Jessica Biel plays Charisa Sosa, the cliché role of tough hottie in the military who has a soft spot for one of the protagonists (Face, in this case). In a film where it’s all about the action scenes, not the acting, she’s still surprisingly boring on screen.

The bad guys in the film are the Black Forest squad, led by Colonel Pike (Brian Bloom). Hannibal reports directly to goodold boy General Morrison (Gerald McRaney), and there’s also a CIA stooge called Mr. Lynch (Patrick Wilson) rounding out the main cast. There is some ambiguity with their roles, but I’m confident you’ll have the story figured out before the denouement and closing credits.

The A-Team had good special effects and CG work which allows it to pull off many of the more complex stunts, but there were a few scenes that were just laughably over-thetop, notably one where they plummet towards the earth in a tank while steering it by shooting shells in different directions. Then again, saying that a scene was over-the-top in a film like this is probably a bit daft.

How seriously can you take an action film where the signature quotes are “I love it when a plan comes together” and “overkill is underrated”? Is The A-Team entertaining? Yes. Is it a flawed movie with an incomprehensible storyline and massive suspension of disbelief required? Definitely.