I love it when a film comes together: A-Team review

From the moment I saw the first promotional poster for The A-Team, I was a little bit excited.

Liam Neeson looked fantastic as John “Hannibal” Smith, and after having seen him in Taken, I was more than convinced he could turn up the action when required. Bradley Cooper was perfect for the charismatic Templeton “Faceman” Peck (who for the record, was always my favourite A-Team member), his turn as Phil in the comedy hit The Hangover proved that he was more than able to crank the charm up to 11. Sharlto Copely and Quintin “Rampage” Jackson as “Howling Mad” Murdoch and Bosco “B.A” Baracus respectively were outsiders to me. I hadn’t seen much of Copely other than in District 9, and I’d seen nothing of Jackson’s acting, only his brawling (though a quick imdb search told me that he was in the 2008 Bradley Cooper film, The Midnight Meat Train, which I actually quite liked, though I can’t remember Jackson in it for the life of me). Still, I couldn’t deny that even these two looked the part.

Now don’t get me wrong, I was not expecting this to be a cinematic masterpiece pushing for an Oscar. This was clearly designed to be a fun, easy action film. And in that regards, it succeeds. The action is entertaining, the jokes are funny, and the story followable.

The opening scene sets up the relationship between the characters perfectly (and also explains why B.A is scared to fly, something I never understood from the show), and also seamlessly slots the characters in to more modern times (the original TV show was set during Vietnam).

From the opening scenes in Mexico (where, believe it or not, a plan comes together) we move 8 years in to the future and to Iraq, where the foursome are now the closest of friends, having completed over 80 successful missions together. The team is sent to reclaim stolen U.S treasury Plates that are being used to print counterfeit bills. Unfortunately, after what is seemings to have been success, the team is betrayed and framed, with the team being subsequently stripped of their ranks and imprisoned. The role of the framer is not entirely revealed until later in the film, but needless to say, it was a twist that I was not entirely expecting, but was not so far-fetched as to turn me off the film.

One of the bigger issues stemmed from two of the actors. I felt that Jackson seemed to struggle with the more emotional scenes in the film/ He is believable as the tough guy, and we laugh at his jokes, but when it comes to the serious moments, he just doesn’t quite have the acting chops of his comrades. I also couldn’t quite get a grasp on Jessica Biel’s character, who is in charge of reclaiming the stolen plates. She is also an ex flame of Coopers Faceman, though the full details of this are not revealed. I felt that for a hardened military woman, Biel just wasn’t that, well, hard. Don’t get me wrong, I could gladly watch Biel on screen all day, but I just wasn’t quite buying her character in this one.

The amount of pure action in the film keeps it ticking along nicely, with vital plot points and character development being scattered between explosions and scenes of flying tanks.

Ahh yes, the flying tank. This seems to have been one of the most prominent issue that people had with the film, and it’s true, it is ridiculous. But that’s the point of the movie. The A-Team (as Jessica Biel’s character so perfectly puts it) specialise in the ridiculous. We know that you can’t pilot a tank using one parachute and the main gun, but the logisitics of the scene aren’t the point.

And besides, if anyone can somehow fly a falling tank whilst simultaneously engaging two jet fighters, it’s The A-Team.


What did you think of the A-Team? Leave your thoughts on the film in the comments section.