The A-Team Extended Cut Blu-Ray Review (Mania.com)

By:Tim Janson
Review Date: Thursday, December 30, 2010

 

The A-Team is of course based on the popular 1980’s action TV series and basically serves as a precursor, showing how the team first met and then served during the second Gulf War, retconning the history of the TV show.  The group: Hannibal Smith (Liam Neeson), Templeton “Face” Peck (Bradley Cooper), B.A. Baracus (Rampage Jackson), and “Howling Mad” Murdock (Sharlto Copley), become an elite Special Forces unit during the war.  As U.S. forces are poised to pull out of Baghdad , the group is contacted by a CIA Agent who wants the team to recover U.S. Treasury plates that were stolen by Iraqi insurgents.  Captain Charissa Sosa (Jessica Biel) who is working directly for the Department of Defense warns the group not to go after the plates.  Meanwhile operatives from a private security firm Black Forest are also after the plates.  Convoluted enough for you?  It gets worse…
 
The Team is double-crossed and their commanding officer General Morrison (Gerald McRaney) is killed leaving the A-Team to take the blame.  They are court-martialed and imprisoned for their trumped upped crimes.  Six months later the team later escapes and is determined to find the stolen plates and clear their names.  Now this all takes about an hour of the extended cut of the film.  In other words the thirty second voice-over from the TV show takes an hour to play out onscreen.  At two hours and fifteen minutes the extended cut is a good thirty minutes too long.  The entire opening sequence which features Hannibal escaping from corrupt Mexican Police (and boy is that redundant or what), rescuing Face, and meeting B.A. and Murdock just by happenstance was unneeded and completely silly to boot.  B.A. conveniently is driving his van in the same Mexican desert where Hannibal just escaped from…right!
 
A silly, confusing script derails the film from the opening credits on…a scorecard should have been supplied to keep track of the scores of characters and sub-plots.  Jessica Biel is completely out of her element trying to play a tough Army Captain and love interest of Face.  Even worse is the treatment the character of B.A. Baracus is given.  His fear of flying is played up but after his incarceration he becomes a pacifist and refuses to kill…This from a guy who was an Army Ranger and Special Ops member.  Ok, we can accept that his conscience got the better of him but is that what we’re looking for in a slam-bang popcorn action film?  This isn’t the Hurt Locker!  Oh and of course B.A. Finally shakes his “non-killing” funk in the film’s climax which is supposed to be a feel good moment I suppose.
 
Neeson, Cooper, and Jackson all do admirable jobs with their characters although Neeson isn’t nearly so smart-alecky as George Peppard was.  On the other hand, Copley is way too obnoxious in his portrayal of Murdock.  Director Joe Carnahan molds the film like he was using a pair of oven mitts.  There’s no hint of detail or subtlety.  He tries to tightrope walk the line between the series’ inherent playfulness and cheesiness and trying to update the film for a modern audience and ends up doing neither with a great deal of success.
 
Blu-Ray Extras
 
The disc comes with an interactive Picture-in-picture commentary track with Director Joe Carnahan.  The track only applies to the theatrical cut of the film but includes lots of pop-up trivia about the various weapons and vehicles used in the film as well as behind-the-scenes footage.
 
Plan of Attack (29:00) is a standard making of documentary featuring interviews with the cast and Director Joe Carnahan
 
Character Chronicles (23:00) this featurette takes a closer look at each of the members of the A-Team as well as Jessica Biel’s character and their differences from the TV versions.
 
Deleted Scenes (9:00)  There are six deleted scenes in all but none of which adds anything of great importance.  We do get to see WWE wrestler the Great Khali in a scene with B.A. that was left on the cutting room floor. 
 
Gag Reel (7:00)
 
Visual Effects Before and After (7:00) takes a look at several scenes before and after the visual effects.
 
A-Team Theme Mash-up Montage (2:00) several fight, crash, explosion scenes edited together with the classic A-Team theme
 


Mania Grade: C
Blu-ray: The A-Team
Rating: PG-13
Starring: Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Jessica Biel, Quinton Jackson, Sharlto Copley
Written By: Skip Woods
Directed By: Joe Carnahan
Distributor: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Original Year of Release: 2010
Extras: See Below
Series: