Sep 30, 2011

[Movies] The A-Team (2010)

The A-Team (2010)One of the main drawbacks of the global economic recession was the truly inspired idea that the thing we most want to watch in movie theaters are rehashed ideas based on old TV shows or even movies from many, many years ago. Seriously, it's practically a curse of some kind and I'd like to think that part of the reasons the US continues to suffer ecnomic hardship (beyond how ridiculous partisan politics gets or how insane the Tea Party is) is the fact that the lack of truly creative forces driving new thought in the country is stagnating.

Yes, let's use Hollywood's pathetic movie turn-out as some sort of a barometer for the lack of true innovation in the US outside of tech companies like Google and Facebook or something.

So we get this weird movie based on a TV show that had a decent cult following but never really went anywhere. And the big plan was to take bits and pieces of the original show, throw in some cheap references and special effects and out them all in a blender.

Of course when you put such diverse elements into a blender long enough, you're going to end up with unrecognizable mush.

The A-Team is a 2010 action movie (of sorts) based on the popular 80's TV show of the same name. The movie was directed by Joe Carnahan with a screenplay by Joe Carnahan, Brian Bloom and Skip Woods.

We start with John "Hannibal" Smith (Liam Neeson) being held captive by corrupt Mexican police officers. Naturally he escapes and eventually helps Templeton "Faceman" Peck (Bradley Cooper) escape as well. Their escape (yes, a lot of escaping going on here) is aided by Ranger Bosco Albert (BA) Baracus (Quinton Jackson) driving a modified GMC Vandura van. Then they eventually snag the relatively sane ace pilot H.M. "Howling Mad" Murdock (Sharlto Copley) who helps them all escape in a medical helicopter. You don't need to understand how all these individuals ended up together - this is just us assembling the players so they become a team.

So we flash forward 8 years and some change and these four are now considered to be an elite Special Forces Unit sanctioned by the government. CIA Special Activities Division Agent Lynch (Patrick Wilson) who informs them of a shipment of US Treasury plates that have been stolen by Iraqi insurgents. Despite this being an unofficial black ops mission, the four agree to retrieve the plates. But things pretty much fall apart for them at this point and eventually they are dishonorably discharged and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Of course eventually they get out of prison, track down the bad guys, figure out how the real bad guys are and then ultimately save the day. Yay team?

Bradley Cooper as Templeton "Faceman"...Image via WikipediaThis was definitely one of those movies that had me scratching my head a lot of more and more questions plagued me. Why did Liam Neeson take this role? Why does Bradley Cooper keep loosing his shirt? Why was Quinton Jackson being all coy about wanting to do a full Mr. T impersonation? Why does Jessica Biel think she can act? And so on and so forth. Things just failed to make sense almost all throughout the movie.

Admittedly, the movie had some fun action sequences, which in that regard was probably reminiscent of the original TV series. After all, the original show was all about crazy stunts, big explosions and lots of violence...just without deaths, since that was TV after all. This movie sort of followed along that vein, although it didn't do much else beyond that.

The plot was weak and highly predictable - as much as Hannibal loves it when plans come together, I didn't really feel there was much of a plan. Plus all the actors were sort of struggling with their roles. Thus instead of truly reinterpreting the characters in a manner that would generally make them comfortable, they ended up being bizarre caricatures of their small screen equivalents, in a rather bad way.

I guess my main issue is that this movie didn't really do anything to add to the franchise. This was a very literal attempt at translating a TV show into a movie that never stopped feeling like a TV show. And thus it felt insufficient to survive on its own as a full-fledged movie. Plus everyone seemed to have a knack for appearing to be grimy, sweaty and / or dirty almost all the time. What's up with that?

The A-Team is yet another Hollywood remake that didn't asked to be made and clearly didn't need to be made either. Thus it barely gets 1.5 hastily inserted references to the original show out of a possible 5.

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