starring Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Jessica Biel, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson
screenplay by Joe Carnahan & Brian Bloom and Skip Woods
directed by Joe Carnahan
by Walter Chaw Not the full-on prison rape its preview promises, Joe Carnahan's is-what-it-is The A-Team is a sometimes-affable acceptance that the best this film will possibly be, given that it has not one spark of inspiration in its creation, is an expensive knock-off of a kitschy cultural artifact. It doesn't quite go the route of surreal post-modernism like the The Brady Bunch movies, but neither does it try to play it Leave it to Beaver straight, instead walking a middle road through occasional flashes of self-awareness amid much stupid action. Credit where credit's due that, prior to its bombastic finale, disgraced Col. Hannibal Smith (a miscast Liam Neeson) mutters, "Overkill is greatly underrated," despite that overkill in bad movies like this is neither overrated nor unexpected. I guess I just appreciate the opportunity to chortle smugly. Rather, The A-Team is a Michael Bay joint without the overt racism and dangerous misogyny--a picture for nostalgic and/or stupid people that doesn't also make them bellicose and agitated. At the least, it holds the honoured distinction of being the first movie I've ever seen that uses a quote from Gandhi to shake a career assassin out of his newly-acquired distaste for violence. That, my friend, takes a certain level of genius and chutzpah.