Tuesday, June 19 , 2018, 4:23 am | Fair 56º

 
 
 
 

Cinema in Focus: ‘The A-Team’

While the cast is disappointing, the film is an enjoyable journey that sets the stage for inevitable sequels

3 Stars — Entertaining

For those of us who enjoyed the television version of The A-Team, Joe Carnahan’s film is both a joy and a disappointment.

The joy comes from having the opportunity to reconnect with the 1983-86 series, while the disappointment comes from the ineptitude with which the new actors fill the familiar roles. That’s not to say that the new team is not believable; we just lack the relationship we had with George Peppard, Mr. T and the others.

Written and directed by Carnahan, he was assisted by Brian Bloom and Skip Woods with the script.

Created as an introduction to the team, the film begins with the first meeting of the four Rangers. The leader is cigar-smoking Col. John “Hannibal” Smith (Liam Neeson), who is able to create the intricate plans to carry off their missions. The ladies’ man is Lt. Templeton “Faceman” Peck (Bradley Cooper), who is predictably irresistible. The muscle of the team is Sgt. Bosco Alber B.A. “Bad Attitude” Baracus (Quinton Jackson), who arguably has the most difficult role to re-create in being the new Baracus. The final member is Capt. H.M. “Howling Mad” Murdock (Sharlto Copley), who is a very believable insane genius.

Following the original theme of a group of mercenaries who always fight on the side of good, the team had completed 80 missions when they are set up and incarcerated only to become fugitives of the law. This allows us to identify with the team because they are working on the side of good, but who operate outside the law to beat the bad guys.

The villains of the film are a soul-less mercenary named Pike, played by screenwriter Bloom, and the ambitious and greedy CIA agent Lynch (Patrick Wilson), who has the appropriate arrogance of a person who cannot be held accountable.

The love interest for Faceman is Capt. Charisa (Jessica Biel). This relationship has some unexpected complexity that adds texture to the film and makes Faceman a more nuanced character. This is also true of Murdock and Baracus, who have personal issues of mental illness and experience paranoid reactions.

With twists and turns in the film’s plot, The A-Team is an enjoyable journey setting the stage for sequels that will undoubtedly come.

Discussion:

» When the team is betrayed and incarcerated, the obvious message is even stated at the end of the film that “you cannot trust the system.” Do you agree? Why or why not?

» The unexpected twist that it was not Faceman who left Charisa adds interest in their relationship. Do you think she will be recast in the sequels? Why or why not?

» The integrity with which the team does their work makes them an admirable group of people. Where do you think this integrity is based? Why?

— Cinema in Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is pastor of Free Methodist Church, 1435 Cliff Drive. For more reviews, visit www.cinemainfocus.com.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >