Thursday, July 22, 2010

The A-Team - Zero Stars

In the new front-runner for The Most Unnecessary Film of the Year, The A-Team, we see the team assemble and plan some of the most outrageously complicated missions imaginable, sequences that are so impossible that director Joe Carnahan is unable to trust the audience to accept them playing out on their own. The film pretty much consists of about four of these missions, which are edited down to dullness, not being allowed to play out coherently. Instead each action sequence is inter cut with the planning of each step of the mission, and burdened with some hokey voice-over narration to further convince you that these long series of perfectly timed coincidences involving their enemies' reactions or the bending of the laws of physics could ever be planned at all... which would be fine... if they were the slightest bit entertaining. Besides being cut down to nothing, whenever any of these sequences is allowed to breathe a little and play unbroken, they are shot so close to the action and edited so rapidly that you can't even decipher what is happening. It's all very tiresome.

The A-Team also suffers from its simultaneously strict and loose adherence to its source material. Why would you ever have someone act like Mr. T? The charm of a guy like Mr. T is his sincerity, so when you have an actor reprise a role originated by Mr. T, the worst thing you can do is make it ironic, which is pretty much what's on display in this incarnation of The A-Team. The film tries to replicate the kitsch of an 80's hit while at the same time making it a modern big-budget action film, which only ends up dissolving any of the charm that was there to begin with, and lands the film somewhere in between taking itself way too seriously and not seriously enough.

And that's not even mentioning the abysmal CGI that blankets the film. At best it looks like a Saturday morning cartoon, which would be good if I were watching Wile E. Coyote trying to catch the Roadrunner, but bad when it's live-action and I'm watching the A-Team try to fly a free-falling Army tank by rotating its barrel the right number of degrees and shooting a shell to propel it a certain distance in a certain direction at the perfect time, so that they can land safely(?(!)) in a small lake in Germany. That cartoonish scene might sound too ludicrous to not be fun and enjoyable, but it's really not. Or perhaps, in the words of a real action film, I'm too old for this shit.

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