2010 saw a lot of action film ensembles either return to the screen or feel like they were returning. In the case of The Losers it felt like we were getting a modern film version of The A-Team, although it was eventually a huge letdown. The Expendables was like a film from the 80s with all of the heavy hitters kicking tons of ass and despite the mediocre script and questionable acting still remained an entertaining film. Then there’s The A-Team which really was a modern day remake of the TV series and wasn’t nearly the disappointment that The Losers ensemble was. The A-Team boasted all the mindless action you could hope for—including a parachuting tank that had Bradley Cooper hanging out on the top of firing a cannon. If that doesn’t paint the picture mindless (and thoughtless) violence, I don’t know what does.
Buckle up for an adrenaline-fueled thrill ride starring Liam Neeson (Taken), Bradley Cooper (The Hangover), Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (UFC Star), and Sharlto Copley (District 9). Convicted by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit, a daring team of former Special Forces soldiers must utilize their unique talents to break out of prison and tackle their toughest mission yet. It’s going to take guts, split-second timing and an arsenal of explosive weapons…this is a job for The A-Team!
This year has really been a pinnacle one for moronic, stupid and mindless action films. The A-Team fits that bill properly as well simply because it’s such a useless film. On top of being fairly predictable in every regard it really just hits upon all of the staples that would make such a film a mindless and forgettable ride. Minutes after watching this film the first time I immediately forgot all about it—it was definitely fun to watch while it was going on but it has so little substance that it’s about as filling as a fortune cookie.
Even now after watching the “extended” cut of the film (which really was—it had nearly twenty minutes of new footage spliced in, including cameos from a few of the original shows cast members) just about the only thing that sticks out is the explosive ending in the shipping yard. Most of the new scenes were all bits with Hannibal or Charissa Sosa (Jessica Biel) and the ones that weren’t just added a few bits here and there with the rest of the time. The main story remains intact and aside from tossing in a fair amount of extra F-bombs, it’s no more violent or objectionable than the PG-13 version.
The film itself and whatever story it tries to create is eerily similar to The Losers, with this powerhouse team trying to clear their name after they’re framed for a crime they didn’t commit. It’s all the grand scheme of a bitter General and as unforeseen as that “twist” was, it really wasn’t that clever considering it laid no real groundwork for the audience to try to deduce what’s going on. Things just kind of happened and you rolled with it. On the other hand this is really what you want from a film like this—you just want to enjoy it in the moment and let the waves of bullets and explosives mow down your ear drums as we continue to look at the pretty people on the screen scream and yell at each other. As predictable and mundane as the plot was though I honestly wouldn’t object to a sequel—this is the kind of mindless entertainment that comes to mind when you want to show off your home theater setup or just enjoy a good shoot-em’-up style movie.
Of course there are much better films out there, but we aren’t always looking for heavy dramatic stories pushed into our action films so these types of films are welcome at times. While it’s nothing I’d scramble to watch again it is something that’s worth a Rental for the cheap entertainment it provides.
Fox pushes The A-Team out on Blu-ray in a two-disc release. Inside the slipcover-draped Elite Blu-ray case is a pair of inserts and the two discs – one Blu-ray and one digital copy (why they didn’t include a DVD copy this time around I don’t know). Menus for the Blu-ray are simple and easy to navigate and the overall presentation that is nice enough though it would’ve looked better if they’d used the original theatrical silhouette poster.
Moving onto the AVC encoded 1080p 2.39:1 transfer we get the usual flawless presentation out of Fox. The majority of the film oozes detail out of all of the frames, boasting plenty of detail in the myriad of sequences that range from city to jungles. On top of that we have plenty of detail on character faces and the like. The audio matches the visual presentation with incredible dexterity. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix thuds and booms at every turn, spreading the love around to all of the surrounds and making full use of the LFE output. There is quite a bit of dialogue in this film and all of it spits out of the center channel with superb clarity while all of the films many, many (many) varied sound effects echo throughout the room. Gun shots are deafening and stabbings are as brutal as they should be. There really isn’t a single moment in the action scenes that aren’t as pleasing to watch as they are to hear.
• The Devil is in the Details: Inside the Action with Joe Carnahan
• Never-before-seen Deleted Scenes (9:05, 1080p)
• Gag Reel (7:19, 1080p)
• A-Team Theme Mash-Up Montage (1:36, 1080p)
• Plan of Attack (28:39, 1080p) – making of
• Character Chronicles (23:11, 1080p) – includes Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Rampage Jackson, Sharlto Copley, Jessica Biel
• Visual Effects Commentary (6:11, 1080p) with Visual Effects Supervisor James E. Price
The real highlight here is “The Devil is in the Details” extra which is really a video/audio commentary over the entire film. This works a lot like the “Maximum Movie Mode” style extra that Warner Bros. has been pushing out lately on their bigger films. The remaining extras take up about an hour of your time and round out your viewing experience of the film. Although it’s clear there wasn’t much substance to the film itself, a lot of love and care went into crafting it—if that even means anything in the long run.
In any case this is a Recommended disc if you enjoyed the film, simply because of the extended cut of the film, the few hours of extras and the rocking A/V presentation that’ll blow your socks off.
The A-Team is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.