The A-Team Movie Review - www.impulsegamer.com -
Length: 121 Mins
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Cast: Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Quinton
'Rampage' Jackson, Sharlto Copley, Jessia Biel, Patrick Wilson, Brian
Reviewer: Felix Staica
The TV show upon
which director Joe Carnahan’s movie is based ran for five seasons
from 1983–87 (you can find my review of Season 3,
One of the actors from that show, Mr T, still turns up in
helicopters to emasculate pale guys in boardies by their own pool
with a megaphone, all in aid of a chocolate commercial. So much for
the famous "I ain't gettin' on no plane!" catchphrase.
Instead of the
Vietnam War, we now have the Iraq War. Four soldiers who don’t quite
fit the order of military life are brought together through a
haphazard chain of events at the US/Mexico border than ends
explosively. They are allowed to remain together because, though
unorthodox, their approach gets results.
They have been
entrusted in a covert operation to recover printing plates for US
currency, which had been held by the Dictator of Baghdad, and to
ensure they do not end up in the hands of “the enemy” (I seem to
recall it was Iran). The op is so covert in fact, not even their
superior in the army (Jessica Biel as a hard-as-steel Charisa Sosa)
nor CIA agent Lynch (Patrick Wilson) are aware they will do it, but
they have their suspicions.
Thus ensues a vast
array of flying, explosions and more explosions, and sailing across
Germany and California before the bad guys (who are found) are
exposed and all is well, ready for a sequel(s).
Liam Neeson is
Hannibal (the strategist); Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson is B.A. Baracus
(the black strongman, who has time for a moral struggle and Ghandi
quotes, and formerly played by Mr T); Sharlto Copley is Murdock
(kooky, borderline-crazy ace pilot); and Bradley Cooper is Face
(good-looking smugness with a six-pack and ego to match). The Alpha
Team works best when it works together, don’t you know.
Call me a cynic, but
once I found out Ridley Scott was involved (he of the empty gleam of
Black Hawk Down), so much became clear. There is no semblance
of the kitschy redemption of the TV show, which, through ageing, can
provide some reward. Instead, it’s all glass and steel high-tech
sheen and defence acronyms akimbo. Watch out of the “They’re flying
a tank!” goings-on. And even though Neeson seems to be an old shoe
at blockbusters now (Batman, Clash of the Titans), it
was weird to see him doing this gung-ho stuff after subtle work as
sexologist Alfred Kinsey in Kinsey.
I did like the way
the CIA was shown to be a heady mix of incompetence, decadence and
corruption (they’re not going to let September 11 go that easily!)
but this was done more as caricature, personalised in the psychosis
of Lynch, rather than shown as systemic malaise. Were I a Mexican or
German, I would be even more offended.
I wouldn’t recommend
this without popcorn and a giant sugary Coke (Zero or Diet will not
do). Then again, you could take the healthy option and skip it.