The A-Team (2010)


Introduction

The A-Team is a 2010 American action thriller film based on the 1980’s television series of the same name created by Frank Lupo and Stephen J. Cannell.

Co-written (with Brian Bloom and Skip Woods) and directed by Joe Carnahan, the film stars Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Quinton Jackson, Sharlto Copley, Jessica Biel, Patrick Wilson and Brian Bloom.

The film tells the story of “The A-Team”, a Special Forces team imprisoned for a crime they did not commit, who escape and set out to clear their names

Outline

John “Hannibal” Smith is held captive in Mexico by two Federal Police officers working for renegade General Javier Tuco and Angel Eyes while in search of stolen gold from the confederate army. Hannibal escapes and sets out to rescue Templeton “Face” Peck, who is held captive at Tuco’s ranch. Hannibal saves Face after enlisting fellow Ranger, B.A. Baracus, driving to the rescue in BA’s modified GMC Vandura. Pursued by Tuco, they stop at a nearby Army Hospital to recruit the services of eccentric pilot Howling Mad Murdock. They flee in a medical helicopter, chased by Tuco, in a dogfight that leaves BA with a fear of flying. The battle ends when they lure Tuco’s helicopter into American airspace, where it is shot down by an F-22 Raptor for trespassing.

Eight years later in Iraq, Hannibal is contacted by CIA Special Activities Division operative Lynch, who assigns them a black operation to recover U.S. Treasury plates and over $1 billion in cash slated to move out of Baghdad in an armoured convoy. Hannibal’s commanding officer, General Morrison, consents to the operation but Face’s former girlfriend, Defence Criminal Investigative Service Captain Charissa Sosa, tries to discourage the team against getting the plates. The mission is successful and when the team returns to base, the money and Morrison’s vehicle are destroyed by Brock Pike and his men from the private security firm Black Forest. Without Morrison (the only proof that they were authorised to act), Hannibal, Face, Murdock, and BA are court-martialed, sentenced to ten years in separate prisons, and dishonourably discharged. Because the plates were her responsibility, Sosa also ended up court-martialed and is demoted to lieutenant.

Six months later, Lynch visits Hannibal in prison and tells him that Pike may be trying to sell the plates with the help of an Arab backer. Hannibal, who has been tracking Pike on his own, makes a deal with Lynch: full reinstatement and clean records for his team in return for the plates. Lynch agrees and Hannibal escapes, breaking out Face, BA, and Murdock in the process. The team hijacks a C-130, which is later shot down by Reaper UCAV’s, but not before the team parachutes away in a tank stashed aboard and make it to the ground safely. The team moves to reclaim the plates and kidnap Pike’s backer. It is revealed that the backer is actually General Morrison, who plotted with Lynch and Pike to steal the plates but teamed up with Pike to double-cross Lynch and fake his death. Lynch orders an airstrike to kill the team and Morrison, but the team manages to escape whilst Morrison is killed.

Hannibal arranges to meet Sosa on board a container ship at the Los Angeles Port, saying he will hand over Morrison and the plates. Face then calls Sosa on a drop phone he planted on her at the train station, and conspires a different plan with her. It all unfolds according to plan until Pike, who is now working with Lynch, blows up the container ship and chases Face to near death. BA (having converted to Buddhism while in prison) finally gives up his pacifist ways and kills Pike, saving Face. Hannibal leads Lynch into a container with Murdock, who, wearing a covered bullet-proof helmet, is portraying Morrison. Lynch shoots at Murdock’s head, believing that he kills Morrison, and is later tricked into admitting that he stole the plates, and is subsequently arrested by Sosa.

The CIA agents led by a separate “Lynch” comes and claims custody of the original one. Despite their success and proving themselves innocent, the military still arrests the team for escaping from prison, also a crime; they and Sosa are angered by this, since it is only being done so Sosa’s boss does not have to fill out paperwork. Sosa’s boss trying to cover their tracks because of their screw up. Sosa is reinstated to captain, but she promises to do all she can to set the team free and kisses Face as everybody is led into a prison van. In the van, everyone starts saying that the system has burned them again, but Hannibal tells them that there is always a way out of any situation, and turns towards Face, who smiles and says “I don’t want to steal your line, boss, but… I love it when a plan comes together” and opens his mouth and reveals a handcuff key, given to him by Sosa through the kiss. The final scene includes a narration (spoken by Corey Burton) similar to the show’s opening narration.

Trivia

  • The film had been in development since the mid-1990’s having gone through a number of writers and story ideas and being put on hold a number of times.
  • Upon its release, the film received mixed reviews from critics and was an average performer at the box office making $177 million on a $110 million budget.
  • In a post credits scene, original series actors Dirk Benedict (Face) and Dwight Schultz (Murdock) have cameos with their film equivalents Bradley Cooper and Sharlto Copley.
    • Benedict plays Face’s fellow tanning bed client, credited as “Pensacola Prisoner Milt,” and Schultz plays the German neurologist who examines Murdock.
  • The entire film was shot at various locations in Canada including Kamloops, Vancouver, Cache Creek and Ashcroft, British Columbia, with much of the studio works being done at Mammoth Studios.
  • Other footage was included as well, such as aerial shots of the Cologne train station (though erroneously referred to as Frankfurt Central Station in the movie) as well as an aerial shot of the Frankfurt skyline.
  • Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake is also featured in the German escape scene where a number of base buildings and landmarks are clearly visible, as is the false canopy painted under the CF-18’s.
  • The Royal Canadian Air Force along with some USMC squadrons are the only Hornet users to have the false canopy painted on the bottom. American markings were digitally added later.
  • The Hawaii Mars Martin Mars water bomber, based at Sproat Lake, British Columbia, is also used in one scene of the movie to cross the Atlantic.
  • The film had been in development since the mid-1990’s, going through a number of writers and story ideas, and being put on hold a number of times.
  • Producer Stephen J. Cannell hoped to update the setting, perhaps using the Gulf War as part of the backstory.
  • John Singleton was initially assigned to direct, but in October 2008 he pulled out of the project.
  • When Singleton was still attached to the project as director, Ice Cube was approached for the role of B.A. Baracus.
  • The production budget for the film was $110 million, but the cost came in at $100 million after tax credits.
  • Although the actors expressed interest in doing a sequel, it was stated that the film had not made enough revenue to warrant a sequel.

The A-Team Series

You find a full index and overview of the The A-Team here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Narrator(s): Corey Burton.
  • Director(s): Joe Carnahan.
  • Producer(s): Stephen J. Cannell, Tony Scott, Spike Seldin, Jules Daly, Alex Young, and Iain Smith.
  • Writer(s): Joe Carnahan, Brian Bloom, and Skip Woods.
  • Music: Alan Silvestri.
  • Cinematography: Mauro Fiore.
  • Editor(s): Roger Barton and Jim May.
  • Production: Dune Entertainment, Top Cow Productions, and Scott Free Productions.
  • Distributor(s): 20th Century Fox.
  • Release Date: 11 June 2010.
  • Running Time: 119 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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