Scene Of The Crime: The A-Team


The A-Team’s big screen incarnation of 2010 is a poor shadow of the fun and escapism of Stephen J. Cannell’s original TV show. Heck, it barely even features the iconic, rousing theme tune. It has a few cool set pieces like the parachuting tank and the prison van break out, but overall it’s loud and obnoxious.

The most offensive scene is where having broken the team out of the stockade (where they were of course imprisoned “for a crime they did not commit”) team leader Hannibal Smith (Liam Neeson) invokes Gandhi of all people to B.A Baracus (Rampage Jackson). He uses the famous pacifist to convince him of the righteousness of using violent retribution to retrieve stolen U.S Treasury plates and clear their names. Yes, that Gandhi!

B.A has decided in prison he will never kill again. He asks Hannibal if he knows who said “Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary.” Hannibal replies it is Gandhi and bats back at him that he also said “It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.”

Hannibal is being disengenous though, in his attempt to get B.A back in the game. The full quote continues: “Violence is any day preferable to impotence. There is hope for a violent man to become non-violent. There is no such hope for the impotent.”

Gandhi’s life course championed non-violent confrontation over impotent inaction, which the film’s message clumsily, (wilfully?) misunderstands. B.A takes Hannibal’s lesson to heart, killing the villain, to no avail. The team is betrayed in a last minute switcheroo, to find their names are no  longer cleared, and they go on the run again from the army. The transitory victory B.A achieved through violence has been snatched away, and Gandhi’s words he himself took to heart come true: “Victory attained by violence is tantamount to defeat, for it is momentary.” Maybe in the aborted sequel they would revert to the T.V shows modus operandi of blowing up everything under the sun, only for the bad guys to stagger dazedly from bullet riddled cars without a scratch?


Originally posted 2012-11-21 21:15:39. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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