The A-Team
dir Joe Carnahan
scr Joe Carnahan, Brian Bloom, Skip Woods
prd Stephen J Cannell, Jules Daly, Tony Scott, Spike Seldin, Iain Smith, Alex Young
with Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson, Sharlto Copley, Jessica Biel, Patrick Wilson, Gerald McRaney, Henry Czerny, Yul Vazquez, Brian Bloom, Maury Sterling, John Hamm
release US 11.Jun.10, UK 30.Jul.10
10/US Fox 1h57
The A-Team
A plan comes together: Neeson, Jackson, Cooper and Copley

biel wilson mcraney
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The A-Team Jarringly over-edited with virtually no space for character or plot coherence, Carnahan's noisy movie strains to turn the corny 1980s TV show into something achingly hip and cool. But this only works in very brief moments.

Eight years after meeting during an action caper, four fast-thinking US Rangers are an unstoppable military team: organisational expert Hannibal (Neeson), charm-merchant Face (Cooper), tough-driving BA (Jackson) and riotously unpredictable Murdock (Copley). But when a CIA-sponsored raid goes wrong, they end up on the wrong side of the law, pursued by a slippery CIA operative (Wilson) and a hard-as-nails military officer (Biel) who has a history with Face. And they'll need to blast rather a lot of things to smithereens to prove their innocence.

There seems to be the germ of a decent script in here, which would have been much more fun if it had been directed with freewheeling charm and assembled in such a way that let us actually see the characters, hear their dialog and enjoy the banter between them. Instead, it seems as if Carnahan put the raw footage in a shredder, as every set piece is so choppy that it's virtually unintelligible. This leaves the film feeling far more vacuous than the typical mindless action movie.

There's nothing at all that we can grab hold of to maintain our interest. This isn't the cast's fault; they dive into the roles with relish, playfully interacting and trying to fill the screen with energy and attitude as they shout above the din. But even as they are trying to send up their tough-guy roles, Carnahan is working to make them meaner with pose after macho pose.

He seems to have forgotten that what made the premise work was that it was enjoyably silly. Yes, he keeps the goofy premise in which everyone shoots machine guns at each other but no one gets shot, but he ratchets up the chaos so far that we really can't care about anything or anyone. The story spirals out of control, the characters get lost in the mayhem and Carnahan's serious approach ends up looking utterly ridiculous.

cert 12 themes, strong violence, language 8.Jul.10

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