Friday, June 11, 2010

Bizarro World Movie Reviews -- The A-Team

In the 1980s, a television show premiered that was instantly recognized not only as the new standard bearer of broadcast excellence but as a light that led a generation to a level of excellence previously thought to be unattainable. That show was, of course, The A-Team. The story of four wrongly accused soldiers who manage to stay on the run from the law while helping out innocent civilians jump started a stalled nation and showed us all what it was to hope again. When I first heard that The A-Team was being remade as a feature length film, I and, I assume, the rest of the world felt a level of righteous indignation that we all previously felt was impossible. How could the show that defined our lives for so long possibly receive justice on the big screen? I walked into the theater absolutely certain that I would exit it in such a state of blind anger that I may very well burn down not only the multiplex but several city blocks along with it. I doubt I've ever been as shocked as I was by what happened next.

The A-Team movie not only is worthy of bearing that name but actually surpasses the show upon which it was based. I can't even truly enjoy the show anymore. After seeing the movie, the show seems like a stupid, trite, dull, repetitive piece of crap devoid of any and all imagination and entertainment value. That's something no one would have ever said about the show before this new movie came out.

Director Joe Carnahan, who also directed Smokin' Aces which I haven't seen but must be extraordinary if his new work is any indication, has managed not just one but two impossible feats. First, he has made the classic television show into a classic movie. Second, he actually managed to assemble a cast worthy of stepping into what I would have said were the irreplaceable shoes of the original actors. It would, of course, take someone like Liam Neeson, a man who can arguably be called a modern day Olivier, to replace George Peppard who, I'm sure, was also thought of as a modern day Olivier as Hannibal, the team's leader and moral center. Only an actor of Neeson's caliber could make you believe that it's possible to take a Subaru and transform it into a well armored tank/high powered weapon that can easily plow through a fortress guarded by a dozen heavily armed men who were easily distracted by a few firecrackers and didn't even see the damn thing coming. In the hands of lesser filmmakers, scenes like that would seem stupid but Neeson and the rest of the crew perform with such ease, authenticity and almost ethereal confidence that they take something impossible believe and make it seem like you could build your own tank and drive it to the supermarket.

The A-Team is a story of courage, honor and old fashioned American can-do spirit. The lessons it has to teach can be applied to any person in any situation. You can take the insane determination and willingness to do anything that the A-Team had when they were shooting a high powered anti-aircraft gun at fighter jets as they were parachuting out of a destroyed airplane and apply it to things like doing your taxes or cleaning your pool or walking your dog. It really is that simple. The A-Team should be seen multiple times by all people from all walks of life. It is the kind of movie that can bind us together and make us citizens of the world and members of a global family. Hopefully it will spawn numerous sequels and A-Team themed glasses from McDonalds. Drinking from those glasses would truly be like drinking from goblets of wisdom.

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