The A Team

Year: 2010
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Director: Joe Carnahan
Writer: Joe Carnahan/Brian Bloom/Skip Woods
Cast: Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Sharlto Copley, Quinton Rampage Jackson, Jessica Biel, Patrick Wilson, Gerald McRaney

There wouldn't be any reason to see this film except for the presence of Joe Carnahan on megaphone duties. It had all the usual midyear blockbuster elements (romance, thrills, silly laughs, million megawatt smiles by some photogenic stars), but after a pedigree on gritty, dramatic films like Narc and the outrageous action of Smokin' Aces, Carnahan was the best possible choice to reign in the CGI and product placement licensing orgy.

It does a good job of putting the characters in the here and now and (though I never watched the show), seems to please fans with each of the teams' signature tics. The plot deals with a group of army rangers double-crossed during the withdrawal from Iraq by a shadowy private military contractor in the style of Blackwater. Each has his own unique skills and they bust each other out of prison to go rogue and clear their names.

There's a lot of the big action you expect (if firing the cannon of a tank mid-fall from a destroyed transport plane to force it through the air and aim at a nearby lake isn't a big enough action movie idea for you, you're watching the wrong genre) and more of a story than its contemporaries.

But the most important aspect is that despite funny lines and laughs it takes itself seriously, with no nudge or wink to the audience. It doesn't have the silliness to apologise for or acknowledge many films like it do, and even though it's over the top has it feet remarkably on the ground.

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