Thursday, 28 October 2010

Fancy abseiling down the side of an office tower in Frankfurt? How about dropping off the roof of a German building and swooping through a window shattered moments before by your point man across the glass canyon with his trusty mortar gun? Do you need to get your hands on a suitcase containing a set of US treasury plates that were stolen years before by a black-ops team in Iraq? Is this all just a bit over the top? A tad far-fetched? No, don't say so!

It's evidently not for director Joe Carnahan. His movie, The A-Team (2010) is a grade-A action thriller with a heavy dose of inter-agency rivalry added for extra intrigue. On the one hand the boys (Liam Neeson as Colonel Hannibal Smith, Bradley Cooper as Lt. 'Faceman' Peck, Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson as B.A. Baracus and Sharlto Copley as the occasional mental patient and pilot-of-all-aircraft Captain H.M. Murdock) are always on the job. In their second appearance they nab the plates from a speeding semi-trailer as it rockets through the dark Baghdad streets. Then there's Pike (Brian Bloom) who heads up a rival special force under the command of Gen. Russell Morrison (Gerald McRaney) whose Humvee gets blasted just as the boys return to base with the truck full of banknotes and the plates. The third element in the headspace drama is Captain Charissa Sosa (Jessica Biel) who wants to find the plates and the people responsible for the apparent killing of Morrison. Finally there's Lynch (Patrick Wilson), the CIA dude with attitude who turns out to be as bent as Pike and Morrison.

Hmmm ... Treasury plates. Yup. I can see the appeal. There's also plenty of appeal for the average viewer in the expressions of distrust and limitless hatred that flare like burning phosphorous in the spaces between the agencies responsible for the action that takes place everywhere you turn.

For the moviegoer, there's unquestionable pleasure in watching the four undaunted and scrappy-mouthed members of the A-Team survive endless trials. In one, they parachute down over Germany having been shot out of the sky by armed supersonic drones. When the parachute the tank they're caught inside depends on gets shredded there's nothing left but to fire your shells into the breathless, rushing air and steer the hurtling contraption so that it falls into a convenient lake. Splash! It's a lot softer than the earth and you can also drive out of it inside the sturdy beast, head to Berlin where the plates are kept in a bank, and apply yourself to the task of retreiving them from the hands of the hated Pike. Lots of abseiling here and, victorious once again, our beloved quartet flees into the rain-drenched Teutonic countryside. It wouldn't be interesting if Lynch weren't able to bomb the hideaway at this point but the pyrotechnics truly only kick in once the team has docked at Los Angeles port onboard a container vessel. Their plans are almost unravelled when Pike turns a handy bazooka onto the stationery vessel. The containers rain down like dominoes at a New Year's celebration. As for Lynch, he will get his just deserts: to be spirited away in a black helicopter by a posse of faceless functionaries attached to noone knows which government agency.

The fugitives? They are granted a repreive when the slim, dreamy Sosa passes a key that will fit the handcuffs they are bound in during a lingering kiss on ex-lover Peck and ... POOF! ... they disappear once more into the mists shrouding the global village, truly a band of brothers as noble and deadly as a wild Sumatran tiger.

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