The A-Team – After being framed for the murder of their respected commanding officer, a team of misfit war veterans: ‘Faceman’ Peck, B. A. Baracas and ‘Howling Mad’ Murdock, led by ‘Hannibal’ Smith, escape prison to clear their names. Knowing that trust is a perilous thing, the four rely on each other to get to the bottom of what really happened and with danger around every corner, the best of the best must be good enough to survive what’s coming their way from the very people who want them dead.
The A-Team (2010) – Director: Joe Carnahan
Running Length: 117 mins
Starring: Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Quinton Jackson, Shalto Copley
‘THE A-TEAM’ REVIEW
Based on the classic 1980’s television series of the same name, ‘The A-Team’ follows the four intrepid war vets, a motley crew of intelligence, charm, brawn and guile whose destiny it is to be imprisoned ‘for a crime they didn’t commit’. Well, now we get to see the original forming of the team and exactly what that fateful ‘crime’ was! Each member of the team gets their own introduction and wisely the movie spends the first Act with quick cuts and snappy dialogue so as to embed them together as a unit.
What ‘The A-Team’ does right is ensure that the actors spark off each other well. Whilst the plot can be rather predictable and standard, Cooper (Face), Copley (Mad Murdock), Neeson (Hannibal) and Jackson (B. A. Baracus) interacting and their trading wisecracks is endlessly watchable. None of these characters have any depth, of course, with only Cooper getting the generic ‘lost love’ side plot and the ‘stepping up to the plate’ development arc. It is a shame that Jackson is mostly left with a few B.A. catchphrases (he ain’t getting on no plane, fool!) and Copley is left to play up the ‘mad’ aspect of his character with aplomb. Really, it’s the Hannibal and Face show, when the ingredients were there for more.
Although the plotting may be generic, the action is certainly satisfying. Even after repeated viewings the whole ‘aerial scene’ cannot fail to raise a smile on our face due to its sheer tongue-in-cheek ridiculousness. The heists are fun; carried out with flair and pizzazz, and on top of this the increasing frustration of out-of-his-depth antagonist CIA operative Lynch (played with face-slapping smugness by Patrick Wilson) makes for a good back and forth throughout. As to be expected, ‘The A-Team’ is big, dumb fun. It feels like more could have been done to round it out into a more fully realised effort, but quibbles aside you’ll leave the movie smiling and chomping on a (metaphorical) cigar, so the plan must have come together.
IS ‘THE A-TEAM’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?
A man in a chair is being beaten. A character is going to shoot him. The trigger is pulled several times but the gun doesn’t go off. Instead, he is threatened with dogs. The threatening character says ‘the dogs haven’t had to kill for their food for a while’.
A man is trapped within a pile of large tires. Another man is threatening him. He says ‘you have sex with my wife….’. The trapped man is then doused with petrol and the threatening man says ‘I want the flames to be seen by the Martians’. The trapped man is punched in the face repeatedly and told ‘you will be on fire’. The man being punched does not show any fear throughout. He shouts ‘adios motherfu…’ before being cut off.
One character willingly drugs themselves so that they will appear dead. They wake up during the cremation process. If a child has a fear of enclosed spaces then this scene could be intense. However, it is over quickly after the character is mostly calm.
One character in jail is receiving preferential treatment. They are tended to by a young attractive woman and he picks up some female, red, skimpy underwear. It is implied therefore that they have had a moment of casual intimacy.
One character describes another as ‘sweating like a whore in church’.
There is a close up of a woman’s bottom who is wearing a tight dress. She flips the middle finger at some men who are ogling her.
One character is badly beaten by another although there is little blood or suffering shown. The attacking character is hit by a car and knocked over, hard. However, they get up again mostly uninjured.
A barn explodes in a huge fireball with a character inside. This is shown from the outside and there is no injury detail. The character is killed in the explosion.
One ‘good’ character picks up an attacking enemy and drops them bodily upside down so that they land hard on their head. The enemy is killed by the move. There are a few seconds showing this character still, and dead.
One character is tied up with a bag over their head. An enemy then shots the stricken character at point-blank range in the face and there is visible blood splatter. A few minutes later, the situation develops and all it not as it appeared.
CAN I SEE A CLIP?
VERDICT – IS ‘THE A-TEAM’ FOR KIDS?
Whilst ‘The A-Team’ is light on potentially unsuitable content, it is typical of the action film genre. Young children may not get much out of the movie but older children will no doubt have fun. The whole movie is told with a light tone and any matters of upset or emotional conflict are generally dealt with quickly and with minimal effect on the characters. We therefore recommend that ‘The A-Team’ is generally unsuitable for children under 8 depending on sensibilities towards standard action movie violence.
- Violence: 3/5 (fist fights, guns and explosions. Limited blood shown)
- Emotional Distress: 1/5 (comedy approach to a character with a flying phobia)
- Fear Factor: 1/5 (some threatening moments)
- Sexual Content: 1/5 (some mild references)
- Bad Language: 3/5 (frequent minor and moderate cursing)
- Dialogue: 2/5 (several references to violence. One character expresses a desire to never harm a fellow human although they later wrestle with their conscience.)
- Other Notes: Deals with themes of team work, betrayal, relationship commitment, war, army, chain of command, going rogue, and growing to your potential.
Words by Laura Record and Michael Record
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