The A-Team Review

(1.5 STARS)

In some ways, director Joe Carnahan’s “The A-Team” is a harmless summer flick—mindless and fitfully entertaining. In other ways, it represents the worst kind of cinema—wholly unoriginal, bland, and immediately forgettable. I think if I waited another day or two to write this review, I wouldn’t be able to. That’s how soon I expect to forget about this film. At least last year’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was memorable (albeit because it was so epically bad). I sat through this one, however, without registering anything. I didn’t care about it, the paper-thin characters, or the idiotic plot. I chuckled a few times, but I could have gotten those laughs at home for free.

Based off the popular 1980s television series, “The A-Team” follows four close friends and army rangers. Hannibal Smith (Liam Neeson) is the group’s leader. He’s responsible for planning their elaborate schemes, which, despite their complexity and outrageousness, always turn out successful. Second-in-command is Templeton Peck, also known as Face (Bradley Cooper). He and Hannibal are quite similar, but Face has one major weakness—pretty ladies. The comic relief of the group comes in the form of its remaining two members. Bosco B.A. Barracus (Quinton “Rampage” Jackson) pities just about every fool out there and has a crippling fear of flying. That fear stems from one wild helicopter ride he took with Murdock (Sharlto Copley), an unstable, but brilliant pilot.

After a brief, relatively entertaining prologue introducing the characters, we see them in Iraq about to embark on a mission to recover some plates used to counterfeit American dollars. They are given the mission from CIA operative Lynch (Patrick Wilson), but Hannibal’s commanding officer General Morrison (Gerald McRaney) and Face’s ex-girlfriend, Lieutenant Charisa Sosa (Jessica Biel) urge the men not to attempt anything. They don’t listen, and while the mission originally appears to be successful, they are double-crossed by Pike (Brian Bloom), a gun-for-hire, and their only witness is murdered. The men are dishonorably discharged and jailed with only one thing on their minds—revenge.

Pretty much everything related to the plot is just an excuse to execute these elaborate action sequences. But they aren’t the kind of action sequences that feel fresh. They’re way over-the-top and not very exciting. Part of that has to do with the simple fact that you are always aware of who will end up on top. Unlike “The Dark Knight,” the sense of danger around these characters is completely manufactured.

If there’s any reason to see “The A-Team,” it’s the humor. Compared to most action-comedies, this one is actually pretty funny. There’s a great riff on 3-D films (which this one is thankfully not), as well as some good laughs courtesy of Sharlto Copley. Some of the gags fall flat, but it isn’t completely devoid of humor the way it was devoid of excitement.

The acting in the film isn’t anything to write home about, but is there any reason to expect something exceptional? Liam Neeson has been stuck in this generic action film rut lately, but he’s charismatic and enjoyable to watch here. I personally find Bradley Cooper obnoxious onscreen. Perhaps he’s a nice man, but I just don’t enjoy watching him. His characters are always pompous assholes, and it’s not much different here. “Rampage” Jackson has all the acting talent of a professional wrestler, while Sharlto Copley is predictably great.

“The A-Team” has been dismissed by most—the reviews were negative, and it has been labeled by most as a box office bomb. It’s not hard to see why. During a summer in which people are growing increasingly tired of vapid studio trash, there’s not really a place or a market for this. It will just go down as another disappointment in a summer full of them so far.

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