Archive for June, 2010

The A Team

June 25, 2010

What Is It?

Based on the 80’s hit show, four Desert Storm Vets with a flair wild missions and imaginative strategy, are is framed…. oh just listen to the intro….

 from the 80’s

and the update

The TV show that made Mr. T. a superstar in the 80’s (and prompted me to wear a navy blue t-shirt with a picture of the Mo-hawked mussel man holding kittens) gets dusted off and finally makes it to the big screen after about 20 years of roomers.

How Was It?

This was fun like I remember the show as a 7 year old. (and much much better than what I saw when I watched it this year). The movie is built to be a ride with 4 guys you feel very cool hanging out with and it delivers. This is not going to be anyone’s favorite movie. (Well, except for the Jr. High kid who’s “Favorite Movie” is what ever he saw last where things blow up.) But it will not disappoint people especially if you are going for nostalgia. The characters were the big scene embodiment of the TV show cast. The plans “Come Together” with style, originality and nice dowses of big budget wackiness. (Example: “Are they still trying to shoot down the drones?” “No,” with a deflating sigh “they are trying to fly the tank.” Oh Ya!) The only down side for the fan boy… the theme song. A-Team had a super cool theme song that still holds up today (Though the ending needs work). They use it once during the movie in a very fun escape scene. Then at (SPOILER sort of) the end of the movie, we are brought to the point just before the show begins. So they give us a stylized version of the shows opening, complete with the title spelled out with accompanying machine gun sound effects. The theme comes up!… oh, for one verse, then they go back to the forgettable guitar rock that they have been using (instead of the theme) through the entire movie. It just made what was a fun romp through 80’s camp inflated by big budget effects, a bit of a let down at the end.

What about Political Issues?

They are in Iraq but there is little commented on the situation other than Hannibal shown praising a force of native Iraqi solders. In a hand to hand fight, the villain starts referring to B.A. Baracus as “Barac” though out the fight. I have no idea what they were thing to say by with either situation, but they were there. Finally, and most annoyingly, the plot revolves around an illegal American Money printing press that has been stolen from Saddam loyalists. There are now American Agencies trying to get the press so they can print their own money. In the dialog they say that the problem with this is that the influx of unbacked money will cripple our economy. Of course this is absolutely true the amusingly sad thing is, that’s all the Bank Bailouts were doing, adding more unbacked money into our already struggling economy. Maybe the A-Team will fix that in the sequel.

Was it good for kids?

There is a lot of violence, though very little in the way of gore. They do cuss, though at first, when ever the A-team dropped rough language, it was “bleeped” out by something exploding. The more concerning aspect is “Face.” Instead of just being a con-man with a way with the ladies, He’s a pick pocket con man who beds down all the ladies. At first I though this would be tempered as “His Achilles Heal.” But soon we find out that the opening was just a fluke and through out the film he uses sex to get what he wants. They try to soften this by telling you that he did have an affair where “[she] heard [he] was a player and [she] wanted to play, but then [I] started getting serious but [she] got scared.” This made it even more male fantasy style shallow. The idea is still cool guys should be able to have lots of sex with hot girls with no consequences and what ever benefit he wants. In the movies defense there is very little of the female form exploited.

What About Spiritual Issues?

This movie is very shallow. Still they get into spiritual discussions. Most of it is kept very much on the philosophical end of things. First of all, Hannibal, twice tells us that things happen for a reason. Though there is no mention of why, how, or who is making things happen. When Face and Hannibal first get out of Jail, Face want’s to know if Hannibal “Got Religion” because that would mean that he could not fight. (They were apparently unfamiliar with David in the Bible.) The snag for them comes when BA is broken out. He is seen reading some inspirational book (I did not catch the title) but because of it he can no longer kill. (Spoiler) Later he tells Gives Hannibal a quote from Gandhi about not harming people and Hannibal retorts with a quote about the warrior doing their job, which is also from Gandhi. This results in BA being able to kill an evil guy about to do in Face. Later Hannibal checks in with BA with “How’s the conscience big guy?” All of this is so silly that it’s hard to take serous.

Still Fighting for a cause is shown as noble and morally acceptable. Philosophical though and Religion are put on equal ground, and Gandhi is used as the moral authority. (ie: If it’s ok with Gandhi it’s ok with me.) Also the conscience may be looked at here as the ultimate judge of an action being moral or immoral.

The other thing that bothered me on two levels about the BA spiritual crisis plot line was that it felt a bit like they were making fun of Mr. T. The original BA is himself a known Christian and the show he did never had him kill anyone. (My father in law is fond of saying the A Team expended more ammunition that any other show and never hit anyone.) With all that, it does seem possible they they are making fun of Mr. T. and his Christian faith.

What About Mr. T.?

There is much buzz on the ol’ internet about Mr. T. being the only living member of the original A-Team not to make a cameo in the film. It has been reported that he was boycotting the film because of the excessive violence and sex that was just not part of what the show was supposed to be. It was supposed to be a family show. It turns out Mr. T. has not made any value judgments on the film because he has not seen it. According to his Lawyers, he did not make any of those statements.

(Thus they are probably lies put out by a “well meaning” Christian… we are not supposed to do evil to bring about good.)

It turns out that the A Team was about 4 guys. Three of the guy’s were characters that they developed for the show and cast with actors. So how did they come up with the 4th? As one of the shows creators put it (I believe it was Stephen J. Cannell) “And Mr. T. drives the van!” So, as Mr. T. himself put it, going on the set of the an A-Team film and not being the one to play B.A. For Mr. T. would be equivalent to “your ex-girl friend saying hay come have dinner with me and my new boy friend.” B.A. Is much more that a part played by Mr. T. it was Mr. T.

This brings us to the second thing that really bugs me about the possibility that this movie is making fun of Mr. T. The show is ¼ based on Mr. T. It just seems to be in bad taste to try to do a respectable take on the A-Team and at the same time, make fun of Mr. T. Point being, if you don’t like Mr. T…. It would be like starting a U2 cover band and making fun of Bono.

What is your Recommendation?

Had they shown Face’s “Flings” as a problem and dropped the “Found Religion?” stuff, I would recommend this as a fun summer film and a great trip down silly TV of the past lane. As it stands, if you are going to “higher the A-Team” you should be ready to take to your kids about the characters moral searches and failings.