Friday, 18 June 2010
Dir: Joe Carnahan (Smokin' Aces)
Cast: Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson, Sharlto Copley, Jessica Biel, Patrick Wilson, Henry Czerny
Seen: June 16, 2010 in the theatre
Reason to see: The trailer instantly won me over... ensemble cast, nostalgia for 80s TV and adept planning always appeals to me.
Yes, I did just write that adept planning always appeals to me, and it does. So seeing The A-Team, with the memorable quote of "I love it when a plan comes together", was a no brainer for me. Ensemble cast, check! Camaraderie, check! Plans, check! Did it make me laugh & smile? Check! Did they blow stuff up? Not a requirement for me.. but check!
Now, with all those check marks, there was still something amiss for me. The pacing was all over the place. For a film that is based on a TV series, I'd imagine people have a general idea of what it will be about so the set up should be short & sweet, no? No. Nope. We spend a heck of a long time setting up to get to where I'd imagine where'd start the film and even more time to get to what felt like it would be the main story. Very strange choice, because a lot happens to get there but it wasn't always quality time. Even to the point of a few 'remember when this happened' or implanted nostalgia moments, I felt a little left out. I would have loved to see what they were referring to, instead of hear them reminisce about it. So much of the fun is seeing the camaraderie build between the characters. It's not that I didn't believe the camaraderies, I did - especially between B.A. and Murdock who were hilarious in their not getting along but have to play together vibe. But building relationships is one of the most interesting parts of ensemble casts films, learning who does what and why, so when they achieve the impossible we are a combination of mystified and cheering along. I wanted to do that, and although I did believe everything, I just wasn't cheering as much as I thought I would be. That also might have been because of the violence of the film. The inclusion of violence was no suprize, but the context here was treading too much to the real but then adding the cheering for the success of explosions, and that kind of felt like cheering for them to kill someone ... I'm never cool with that. It isn't rampant, but it there and it's definitely part of the story was surprizing.
That seems like a whole lot of negatives, which feels imbalanced because overall I really did enjoy the film. I was laughing and smiling a lot during the film, and it is a film that's if you like the characters you should be enjoying the film. And I did like them. Liam Neeson is as expected, perfect, as Hannibal as the leader of the team and the man with the plan. Bradley Cooper is ridiculous as the handsome Faceman - but they know that, and the roll with that. I actually really appreciated how much time they spent on the fact that he's the pretty boy, it was quite funny. I was captivated by Sharlto Copley (District 9) as the crazy Murdock, he was really all over the place - but again that was his character. I'm still a little mystified at what they were going for with him, and although I don't understand it I did find it engaging and hilarious. Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson as B.A. was good, but it's hard to go up against a role that is so synonymous with Mr. T. Unfortunately Jessica Biel has almost nothing to work with, I'm a little surprized they even had her character in the film. It's a real baby step up from just having a 'generic love interest', but really... I wish she was in it more and that they gave her more because she's got the chops to do it.
Overall, I found that the fun and giggles way out weighed the things that didn't quite work for me, but I would have loved to straight-up love it.
Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
I'll watch it again
I'd recommend it to action film fans and for fun entertainment if you don't mind the violence
16 minutes of preshow including 10 commercials and 5 previews: Resident Evil: Afterlife, The Sorcerers Apprentice, Inception, Predators and Knight and Day
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© Shannon Ridler, 2010
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