Monday, June 14, 2010

The A-Team (2010)

Well fuck me; I didn't see that one coming. I should've, though. I adore the last 2 films of the director, Narc and Smokin' Aces, and the cast, when it finally came together, was pretty dynamite. I wasn't sold on Mr. UFC (or "Rampage" as he prefers to be called), but the other 3, plus Patrick Wilson on villain duty, certainly had my attention. But no trailers, no posters, no bullshit forced nostalgia prepared me for the leanest, most thoroughly straightforward and badass '80s style action flicks in a looooooooong time. Make no mistake, from the first scene (which, as Slashfilm pointed out, just basks in the glory of the legend of Liam Neeson), this film is a balls-to-the-wall macho action flick, the kind that's been in remission for far too long. The interplay between the team (including "Rampage" for at least the first half) is bleeding dynamite; whoever thought of casting Sharlto Copley as the resident comic relief/madman deserves a fat raise (that they won't get because of this one's dismal opening weekend). Patrick Wilson is also hilarious and mannered; some of the later scenes with him and other devious characters are sold primarily on Wilson's quirky touches and lively delivery. The action scenes are way above and beyond what we've been shown in the trailers; watching Bradley Cooper shoot down drones from a tank in MID-AIR is one thing, but doing it while laughing knowingly and yelling "Come on, bring it on, bitches!!!!!" is a horse of a different, more self-aware color. When a character uses a high powered magnet to latch on to the bottom of a moving car, you know that this is definitely a style over substance type deal, and the style is pouring out at the seams. Two key detriments; one, Jessica Biel is pointless and just there for a forced romance with Cooper (which, thankfully, is fairly modest) and two, the decision to give Rampage a soulful arc over the second half of the film. If you've been paying attention to this review, you can already tell this is a very silly, over the top film, and making Rampage's B.A. really lament his violent life and attempt to redeem himself through non-violence is just stupid, and the inevitable payoff (him *gasp* having to use violence) is not executed well-enough to justify it. But these are minor gripes in what I am calling the Hellboy II, or Land of the Lost, of this Summer (other movies that came out with a resounding "who gives a shit" that I ended up having to respond to, loudly, "I do!!")

Highly Recommended for fans of '80s style action flicks such as Bad Boys II or Commando. This is no class-act, by any means, but it is certainly a step in the right direction for modern-day action films, or even modern reimaginings of old, tired, and, in this case, corny and bloodless franchises.

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