Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

June 25, 2010

Team players

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 12:35 pm

June 25, 2010

Cast: Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Quentin “Rampage” Johnson, Sharlto Copley, Jessica Biel

Director: Joe Carnahan

The A-Team film, a big-screen adaptation of the popular 80s TV show, is nothing if not a string of explosions and bloated set pieces. But come on, the never-ending supply of smart-alec lines, and the chemistry between its four leads makes this nonsensical action blockbuster pretty good fun after all!

Liam Neeson stars as Col John “Hannibal” Smith, the cigar-chewing leader of this elite military squad that carries out inventive and daring escapades. His second-in-command is Templeton “Face” Peck (played by Bradley Cooper), the group’s pretty-boy lothario whose role in any plan invariably involves seducing some unsuspecting woman, a task he performs impeccably. Quentin “Rampage” Johnson plays tough-nut-with-a-conscience BA Baracus, the character made famous in the show by the unforgettable Mr T. And District 9‘s Sharlto Copley is the borderline insane “Howlin’ Mad” Murdock, the daredevil pilot in the group.

The film opens when the quartet takes a top-secret assignment, which results in their being falsely framed. They’re promptly arrested; hell bent on proving their innocence they break out and embark on an elaborate mission to bring the real bad guys to task so their names can be permanently cleared.

From here it’s all preposterous action sequences, including one in which the team flies a military tank — you have to see that to believe it! There’s also the loud and rather silly climax at the docks where hundreds of containers are blown up like little matchboxes. One particularly exciting sequence involves a kidnap and heist from a German skyscraper that’s followed by a breathless foot-chase.

You don’t expect much of a plot in a movie like this, but it’s to the credit of the writers that they manage to put together a half-decent yarn. Also, unlike many big-budget action films that boast impressive set-pieces, but fail you involve you with its characters, The A-Team works because it’s the characters who drive the story. The constant banter between Murdock and Baracus is hilarious, and Face delivers enough witty one-liners to keep you smiling most of the time. Liam Neeson appears to having a good time in action-hero mode, and although he repeats it too many times in the film there’s a sense of real nostalgia and mischief when he delivers that classic line, “I love it when a plan comes together.”

I’m going with a generous three out of five for director Joe Carnahan’s The A-Team. It’s unpretentious, shameless good fun. Especially if you enjoy watching things being blown up every few minutes.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress