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They are the best, and they specialize in the ridiculous.

The above quote pretty much summarizes THE A-TEAM ($40), the big screen remake of the classic Frank Lupo/Stephen J. Cannell television series. THE A-TEAM is big, it’s loud, it’s dumb, it’s action packed and it’s totally ridiculous- in other worlds, the perfect mindless popcorn movie. Sure, great cinema its not, but if you don’t have fun watching THE A-TEAM your either dead or lack a sense of humor. I walked into THE A-TEAM knowing I could set my brain to coast and I would have a good time… this movie did not disappoint in that regard. The plot is convoluted, but I am not going to dwell on that. Let’s face it; the story is secondary to the over the top action that is served to the audience with a wink, a nod and a tongue firmly planted in cheek.

The premise of THE A-TEAM sticks fairly close to the television series in that a crackerjack Army Special Forces unit is falsely convicted of a crime that they didn’t commit and go on to become soldiers of fortune on the run from the military. Updated to the Gulf War era, THE A-TEAM offers up the origin story that finds John "Hannibal" Smith (Liam Neeson), Templeton "Faceman" Peck (Bradley Cooper), Bosco Albert "B.A." Baracus (Quinton Jackson) and H.M. "Howling Mad" Murdock (Sharlto Copley) have completed eighty successful missions, when CIA Agent Lynch (Patrick Wilson) approaches them with an unofficial black op. Iraqi insurgents are in possession U.S. Treasury plates that are being used to manufacture counterfeit currency. Against the advice of his commanding officer, General Morrison (Gerald McRaney), Hannibal and his men recover the plates and a billion dollars of counterfeit currency. Upon the return to base, the plates, the money and General Morrison are blown up- leaving Hannibal and his men holding the bag, with no proof that they were ever assigned to the black op. Breaking out of various military prisons, our heroes set out to prove their innocence. The cast of THE A-TEAM also features Jessica Biel, Henry Czerny, Yul Vazquez and Brian Bloom.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has made THE A-TEAM available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. Both the original Theatrical Version and the Unrated Extended Cut of the film are present on the disc and offer an identical appearance. There is no denying that the Blu-ray edition of THE A-TEAM is fantastic, and delivers a demo worthy 1080p presentation. Image sharpness, detail, clarity and dimensionality all go to the head of the class. Additionally, fine details, such as textures on objects, individual hairs and imperfections in the actors’ skin all come across very well. Sequences that mix live action and digital elements are modestly softer than without digital elements. Colors are fully saturated and are rendered without noise or other flaws. Additionally, flesh tones always appear highly attractive. Blacks are pure, as are the whites. The image also demonstrates exemplary contrast and shadow detail. The elements from which THE A-TEAM has been mastered are free from flaws. There is usually a light veneer of grain within the image, which maintains the organic quality of this excellent presentation.

THE A-TEAM is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Raucous, loud and explosive, THE A-TEAM features a pretty demonstration worthy soundtrack. The sound design wonderfully aggressive, with all of the discrete channels engaging fully for sound effects placement, plus effects, such as weapons fire, zip around the sound field effortlessly. Thanks to the lossless encode, fidelity is excellent, with both the music and effects being presented with stunning clarity. The bass channel, is highly percussive and ground shaking. Dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to understand. French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English and Spanish subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some supplements. Starting things is a Bonus View interactive picture-in-picture Video Commentary entitled The Devil’s In The Details: Inside The Action With Joe Carnahan (Theatrical Version) that also includes storyboards and animatics. Featurettes and other programs include: Plan Of Attack (twenty nine minutes), Character Chronicles (twenty three minutes), Visual Effects Before And After (six minutes) and A-Team Theme Mash-Up Montage (one minute). Deleted Scenes, a Gag Reel and a Theatrical Trailer close out the standard extras. THE A-TEAM is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player). A Digital Copy of the film is also provided.

THE A-TEAM is one heck of a fun ride and perfect popcorn entertainment. The Blu-ray presentation is demo quality all the way. Recommended to anyone who wants to have a good time with some mindless action.


The A-Team (+ Digital Copy) [Blu-ray] (2010)


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright 2010 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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