“The A-Team” DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review

12/16/2010 Posted by Admin

“The A-Team”

DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review

Directed by Joe Carnahan, written by Carnahan, Brian Bloom and Skip Woods, 117 minutes, rated PG-13.

By Christopher Smith

Let's be frank--more like the “The C- Team.”

Director Joe Carnahan has created a less-than-successful Hollywood action blockbuster based on a once-hot '80s television show. Give the source, it's not surprising that his movie is big, dumb, loud, ridiculous, over-long, over-stuffed, over-wrought and without the sense that evolution has occurred.

At least among some of the suits in Hollywood.

Over the summer, the movie came in second at the box office (the shame!), having lost the top spot to another ‘80s throwback--“The Karate Kid”--which widely was considered to take the lower tier. It didn’t--and for good reason.

In “Kid,” the plot is laced with cliches, sure, but the actors are connected to their characters, something human and real is at stake within its underdog plot, and the fact that it is set in China adds a dimension to the film that the original movie lacked. Visually, “Karate Kid” is something to behold.

In “The A-Team,” the explosions are what’s here to behold--and how often have we seen their many variations? True, the film’s last big set piece is fun to watch since the film’s CGI team obviously smoked one mother of a bong before going berserk behind their computers, but what comes before it is trite and unbelievable. Thirty minutes could have been shaved off this movie and nobody would have noticed. But in this culture of bigger must be better, we get all of that padding along with weak quips and stale laughs.

The fact that the movie is a middling piece of mediocrity isn’t without surprise, even if Carnahan is responsible for directing such classics as “Smokin’ Aces,” a movie that left some of us blowing smoke rings into our seats.

Here, he has assembled a solid team of actors, four of whom play Iraq veterans and are members of the A-Team, an elite fighting force of misfits.

There’s Bradley Cooper as Templeton “Face” Peck (he’s all smiles and suntans), Liam Neeson as the cigar-chomping Hannibal Smith (he’s all frowns and furrows), Sharlto Copley as “Howlin’ Mad” Murdock (he’s just annoying) and Quinton “Rampage” Johnson as B.A. Baracus (he’s…a softy?).

Apparently to provide a shot of sex appeal, also onboard is Jessica Biel, who struts throughout the movie like a diva on a catwalk. She’s Face’s ex-girlfriend. Bad blood boils between them. Naturally, since she also is a government agent, the uniform she favors most is an impossibly tight leather outfit, which must have left the poor thing fainting from hunger throughout the shoot.

The plot goes like this: The members of the A-Team are framed for counterfeiting. Prison calls, but so does the need to clear their names and reveal the truth. And so they bust out of those prisons and re-connect in an effort to do justice proud. But trouble looms. And daring escapes prevail. Things explode--and then they explode again. Patrick Wilson shows up to be a two-timing nemesis. Arabs of ill-intent linger along the periphery because that’s what Arabs do in mainstream Hollywood movies. Gandhi is quoted--with levity. In one scene, this literally happens.

And the world weeps.

Some will question whether the plot has been covered here. It has. We could explore the fact that not a lick of it adds up and that the characters are dishrags up on the screen, but why bother? “The A-Team” is a boring romp that tries to capture the kitschy fun of the television series, but which mostly misses its mark. Sometimes, there's a whiff that Carnahan made the movie in his sleep.

Here’s an idea--let’s shake him awake so he can face the reviews.

Grade: C-

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