I love it when well-made action sequences deliver adrenaline surges you can really trust. By which I mean action and adrenaline so alarmingly palpable that it almost feels surfable. For me, the last time I felt this thing the way it was meant to be felt was in Alfonso Cuaron‘s Children of Men — a landmark dystopian epic that raised the bar on action sequences by adhering to a strict you-are-there POV (i.e., a single perspective with no cheap-ass cutting from 117 different angles) and shooting with long unbroken takes.
For me, Joe Carnahan‘s The A-Team (20th Century Fox, 6.11) delivers the exact opposite effect as Children of Men. No actual excitement, no honest thrills, no trustworthy adrenaline, no conviction, and edited so frantically and mindlessly that you can’t tell what the hell is going on (and after ten or fifteen minutes of this you don’t want to know).
The A-Team is the machismo equal of the Sex and the City 2 — it tarnishes the reputation of guy films the way SATC2 blackened the term “chick flick” for years if not decades to come.
The A-Team delivered waves of intense loathing mixed with that familiar sensation (which I initially tried to describe after seeing Sherlock Holmes last December) of literally being poisoned with a clear plastic tube snaking out from the screen and jabbed into a vein in my arm.
The A-Team is pure cartoon-fizz bullshit — as scuzzy and value-less as this kind of testosterone pornography can possibly get. There’s nothing quite as boorish and deadly as a movie that believes it’s putting out the good stuff — giddy hilarity, wow-level excitement, popcorn razzle-dazzle — when it’s actually doing nothing of the kind. It’s like a rabid dog that needs to be tasered and sent to the pound and put down.
Carnahan, the once-admired Narc guy who’s thoroughly finished in my book, is, of course, the obnoxious force behind it all. I’m not saying he needs to be put down also, but Carnahan does need to be arrested and constrained and flown to a remote prison compound in Kampuchea. He’ll be given a decent home with wifi and a 52″ plasma flatscreen and all the other comforts, but he doesn’t leave for a minimum of five years. No coming back to the States, and definitely no more gigs as a director until 2015. I’m serious. Because movies like The A-Team are like factories pouring polluted smoke into the air and turning the water table rancid.
I need to get myself over to a Cyrus junket in Manhattan. I’ll finish this later. But the woman who wrote this review is a kiss-ass.