*Directed by Joe Carnahan (Smokin’ Aces), this adaptation of the hit TV series from the Eighties remains faithful to the original by revolving around the daring exploits of an elite squad of commandos comprised of hard-nosed Colonel “Hannibal” Smith (Liam Neeson), handsome “Face” Peck (Bradley Cooper), crazy “Howling Mad” Murdock (Sharlto Copley) and Bad Attitude “B.A.” Baracus (Quinton Jackson).
However, these one-dimensional archetypes quickly wear out their welcome on the big screen where the setting has been shifted to present-day Baghdad. There, the clandestine unit of veteran Army Rangers is assigned by duplicitous CIA Agent Lynch (Patrick Wilson) with the task of retrieving the currency plates and billions in counterfeit U.S. dollars in the hands of Iraqi insurgents.
Unfortunately, this bombastic blockbuster’s ensuing pointless parade of pyrotechnics and detonations involving cars, boats, buildings, aircraft and shipping containers is so relentlessly-distracting that it virtually renders the plot irrelevant. The movie is essentially a series of visually-captivating stunts invariably followed by reaction shots of the sophomoric heroes high-fiving each other.
Their attention-deficit antics are apt to appeal narrowly to the ‘tweener demographic while simultaneously annoying nostalgic fans of the television show expecting a coherent storyline to follow. A bizarre departure arrives midway in the adventure when macho B.A. (based on the character introduced on TV by Mr. T.) announces he’s taken a vow of non-violence and refuses to fight anymore. Not to worry, that flirtation with pacifism proves temporary when one of his buddies is imperiled and Hannibal comes up with a quote from Gandhi sanctioning slaughter.
Anyhow, the A-Team completes the top secret mission successfully and turns over the loot to Lynch who is closely associated with a shady private security firm called Black Forest. They double-cross Hannibal and company who end up dishonorably discharged and convicted of treason. Not to be contained, the gang busts out of federal prison and goes rogue, returning to the wanton warpath to restore their good names while exacting a measure of bloody revenge. And Zen some.
Escapist summer fare doesn’t come any more mindless than this!
Fair (1 star)
Rated PG-13 for profanity, smoking, and pervasive action violence.
Running time: 117 Minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox
To see a trailer for The A-Team, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HK5bY8i3w4E