June 12, 2010 -- Using a cannon to steer a flying tank is absurd enough, but using it to decelerate its fall into a lake and then have the tank not only survive the fall, but drive up on shore from the bottom of the lake, now that's funny. I thought tank engines needed oxygen to burn fuel. I guess not in this movie, where literally anything is possible, including a dead man's escape from a flaming hot cremation chamber. This wall-to-wall summer action film has quirky characters, some romance, some jokes, but mostly just action, some of it wacky beyond belief.
Self-mockingly written by a team of writers, this film never takes itself seriously. The credits include uber-writer Stephen J. Cannell (The original “A-Team” TV series, “The Rockford Files,” “21 Jump Street”) who is a producer of this movie (along with Hollywood powerhouses Tony and Ridley Scott). The plot is pretty standard, a top-notch group of Army commandos is framed for murder and theft during the Iraq War. A shady CIA character offers to spring them from prison and give them a chance to recover stolen counterfeit equipment and to clear their names. This leads to a series of capers where each of the A-Team members escapes from prison (including use of a 3D movie as a diversion). Then, they devise yet another caper to recover the stolen printing plates in Europe, then they have to escape the bad guys who are behind this whole scheme. There are lots of double crosses and double crossers.
The A-Team is led by Col. John “Hannibal” Smith (played by Liam Neeson of “Taken”) and his wise-cracking team consists of handsome Lt. Templeton “Faceman” Peck (Bradley Cooper of “The Hangover”), tough guy B.A. Baracus (Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, taking the place of the character originated by “Mr. T”) and the crazy pilot “Howling Mad” Murdock (Sharlto Copley of “District 9”). Also in the mix is the lovely Charisa Sosa (Jessica Biel of “The Illusionist”), a military investigator who is the former main squeeze of Faceman.
The movie consists mainly of a bunch of wild escapes and capers with some thin planning sessions thrown in to make all this look halfway plausible. The action scenes work well enough, but the capers are fairly incomprehensible. The only engaging character is Murdock, who always seems to be having a good time, no matter how hairy the situation gets. Even he gets a bit serious at one point in the movie when the tone of the story becomes more serious. I would have liked it more if the film kept its light tone all the way through. This is a fairly good summer popcorn movie. It rates a B.
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