While the show that inspired this feature film never became a part of my “TV on DVD” viewing, the trailers for the big-screen update did look comical, so with hopes to enjoy a night of laughter, I saw this one on its first week to DVD. Basically it was worth it.
Rangers in the U.S. Army share a kind of “brotherhood.” That is what Col. John “Hannibal” Smith (Liam Neeson) is counting on when, unbeknownst to him, he hijacks another ranger’s van in order to save his comrade. Having just escaped custody of his captors, Hannibal isn’t too thrilled at the idea that he now must run headfirst into danger… again. But that is exactly what he and his new recruit (Quinton Jackson) do. Lt. Templeton “Faceman” Peck (Bradley Cooper) has found himself in a bit of a bind when he was caught in… a compromising position earning the ire of a high-ranking Mexican official, and now drenched in lighter fluid, all Face can do is try to talk himself out of the situation. In a desperate attempt to dodge the men hot on their trail, the three pick up a psyche ward patient who is their ticket to freedom – Ranger pilot, Captain Murdock (Sharlto Copley). And with that, the elite “A-Team” is formed.
Months later the men of The A-Team hear of a mission that at all costs needs to be stopped, in spite of their CO (Gerald McRaney) asking them to sit this mission out. Regardless, they make preparations with no “plan b” and set out to accomplish it. When it goes horribly wrong, the Iraqi war vets are accused of crimes they were set up for. Adding into the mix is Face’s ex-girlfriend, Lt. Charissa Sosa (Jessica Biel), and a high-ranking CSI agent (Patrick Wilson).
A way to “kill” a couple hours has never looked so fun as it does in this blockbuster. This happens to be one of the most entertaining popcorn flicks … and believe me, with so many details to the plot, there isn’t a dull moment. If there is one thing that I am not particularly fond of was the way that each of the four or five main characters were introduced. It was harried and unexplained so that as viewers, it was never fully explained as to just what we were meant to be seeing. Perhaps this can be tied to my unfamiliar footing with the original show. Still, considering the sort of movie this turns out to be, somehow, all is quickly forgiven. The plot is actually clever enough to hold interest without being an insult to anyone’s intelligence – most especially when compared to some of its counterparts. Often times, the action sequences do tend to be overwhelming and in that sometimes, the film looses its footing because chaos rules the better parts of the plot as do extended sequences of chaos that leaves us wondering of its point. Most the time, the stunts and/or schemes characters concoct are so unrealistic that they could only come from the streets of Hollywood… that is the case here, but it didn’t matter because they were ingenious (in a blow your mind kind of way) and I was having too much fun to care.
Setting aside my surprise at how hard it was to get into this, it’s the entertaining shenanigans are what make the story so likable and by seeing the wacky, but interesting ways these guys go in order to complete their missions; mishaps, shouting, and hilarity always ensues. They go from breaking out of prison (in a tanning machine, no less) to riding in a tanker… as a flying contraption! Because of all the loud bangs and… well, loudness, dialogue tends to be a tad muffled, which proves to be slightly annoying when finding yourself straining to hear conversations. For the first ten to fifteen minutes much of the dialogue is also translated to screen in subtitles because it is in Spanish – since the print is small and not the best color that can be strenuous to keep up with. Casting directors assembled a really wonderful cast who does a fantastic job even in a movie that was clearly made for some laughs.
If I had to say, I think I’d recommend this – provided you’re a fan of the genre. Like I’ve mentioned, the show is not a part of my repertoire but I’ve heard that it pays homage to its eighties counterpart. Physically, the cast suits their predecessors well, and if you let the credits play, there is a fun cameo. Tongue-and-cheek humor is what makes the majority of the settings so hilarious, and memorable. Setting itself up nicely for a sequel should it ever come about, but closed enough in its primary story, this is one entertaining flick that deserves another viewing – even if only just to “get” all the confusing bits and pieces.
(Yeah, I’ll keep telling myself that is the only reason for another viewing.)
(There are dozens of gunfights in which characters get “slapped” around, shot at and/or threatened. There are two explosions. Machine weapons are pulled out without thought, planes explode in the air. S**t, d**m and numerous other profanities are exclaimed; even two near uses of “mother f…” is expressed. Some mild sexual innuendo plays into the script. [Face apparently had fling with a married woman.] Also there are two crude “finger” gestures. The film is rated PG13.)