Capsule Review: The A-Team, Liam Neeson and the state of Summer Movies

Apparently, Liam Neesan is the new “go-to” tough guy. The mantle that was long worn by the likes of John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Sylvestor Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Sean Connery is now being filled by Mr. Neeson.

In the sleeper hit from last year, “Taken” the word of mouth and buzz was generated by Neeson’s measured performance and quiet sense of violent energy. When Neeson was seen in an early film with Dennis Quaid and Cher,( “Suspect”), I remember thinking of this forgettable plot, “The only one really trying to ACT is the mute guy with no lines!” That was Liam Neeson and he has managed to convey the sense of urgent unrest in his greatest roles, such as “Schindler’s List”.

This type of action-pabulum is usually thrown out for audiences who don’t care about minor details like acting and plot points. But in this case, “The A Team” is simply a nice little piece of action-candy. It’s not high theater, but it’s not as low-brow as some might think.

The other actors, notably the Australian actor Sharlto Copley, who was most recently seen in “District 9,” are not always trying to aim for the trees with their acting chops but it makes for a nice relaxing two hours of mindless action theater for those who know the drill. There is nothing wrong with knowing what the basic elements of the plot will be. The audiences in Shakespeare’s day all knew the story line of his plays. The trick is in getting the audiences attention and keeping it.

I have taken solace in the fact that critics have been sitting up and taking notice of the fact that the summer movie season has really been loaded with a bunch of crap. There are bad movies and there are unfortunate re-makes and there are movies that should never have been made.
I am funny about things like this because, the older I get, the more it takes for me to actually GO to the movie to see something. Rarely will I get the urge to go and sit for two hours or more without a compelling urge to see a certain actor or to see some new plot twist or variation.

I guess the older I get, the more I see that there really is not much new under the sun. But it’s no secret that the summer movies have been loaded with nothing. The few exceptions are mentioned here, but it’s been an extraordinarily long summer for fans of GOOD movies.

Published by

MLJ

Author of "6 Degrees of Film: The Future of Film in the Global Village", Ms. Johnson continues to blog on film and publishes a newsletter plus the Flipboard magazine 6 Degrees of Film @ the Movies. Her book is currently available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Degrees-Film-Future-Global-Village/

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