Australian Council on Children and the Media

A-Team, The

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Not suitable under 8, not recommended under 12, PG 12-15 (Violence, themes, substance use)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for A-Team, The
  • a review of A-Team, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 10 June 2010.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not suitable due to violence
Children aged 8-12 Not recommended due to violence, themes, frequent smoking
Children 12-15 Parental guidance recommended due to violence, themes and frequent smoking

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: A-Team, The
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Action violence
Length 118 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The film, based on the television show of the same name, opens with the four lead characters coming together. A-Team leader Col. John ‘Hannibal’ Smith (Liam Neeson) and Lt. Templeton Peck “Face” (Bradley Cooper) have been captured by Mexican authorities and are about to be killed. Hannibal manages to escape from his captors and runs into B.A.. Baracus (Quintan ‘Rampage’ Jackson) who, like Hannibal and Face, is a Special Forces soldier. With B.A.’s help, Hannibal manages to rescue Face with the three just managing to stay ahead of their Mexican pursuers. To make good their escape the trio enlist the assistance of the fourth member of the A-Team, a crazy Special Forces helicopter pilot Captain “Howlin’ Mad” Murdock (Sharlto Copley), who flies the A-Team to safety.

Back on US soil, the A-Team are approached by a CIA agent called Lynch (Patrick Wilson), who wants them to recover US currency plates stolen by Arabs during the Iraq war.. Pyke (Brian Bloom), a US special agent who has his own agenda for recovering the stolen plates and Captain Charisa Sosa (Jessica Biel), an old flame of Face’s, both warn the A-Team not to attempt to recover the stolen plates but they go ahead. When all goes badly wrong, the A-Team members are placed on trial for both theft and murder, and then imprisoned in four different prisons.

Six months later and with the assistance of CIA agent Lynch, all four members of the A-Team manage to escape and head to Germany where they hope to set things straight and clear their names.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

The military; killing; corruption, false imprisonment

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

The A-Team contains intense sequences of action violence throughout with minimal depiction of blood and gore. Examples include:

  • Hannibal Smith is tied to a chair and a man punches him in the face. The man holds a gun to Hannibal’s head, threatens to shoot him and pulls the trigger, but the gun fails to fire. We learn that the gun’s firing-pin had been removed. Following this, two guard dogs are set upon Hannibal who manages to escape.
  • Face is encased in car tyres and a man threatens to burn him alive. A woman who is being physically restrained by men watches on. The man punches Face in the face a number of times and pours petrol over the tyres. During the course of a rescue attempt by Hannibal and B.A., the tyres are set on fire and Face rolls down the side of a hill but is rescued uninjured.
  • Hannibal shoots B.A in the arm. Later, we see B.A. in hospital with a doctor stitching up the bullet wound and see a close up of B.A.’s wound and see stitches in the shape of a lightning bolt. During the same scene we see Murdock set Face’s arm on fire but the flames are quickly smothered.           
  • A transit van crashes through a fence and runs into a man, throwing him several metres through the air.
  • While trying to escape from foes, we see the A-team in a helicopter being shot at by machineguns and missiles.
  • One scene depicts the A-Team attacking a truck convoy. A truck crashes and flips over end to end and another truck flies off the end of a pier to crash into the water below. B.A. on a motorbike deliberately slides the bike beneath a moving truck that explodes. A member of the A-team pulls the driver of a moving truck from his seat and hurls him on to the road.
  • A truck with US General Morrison inside explodes in flames, killing the General.      
  • A rocket is fired into the window of a high-rise building. Stun grenades are then thrown through the broken window into a room containing several men. A man has a bag placed over his head. A parachute is strapped to the man who is thrown out of the window. As the man falls to the ground his chute opens with the chute the caught up in skids of a helicopter; we see the helicopter flying off with the hooded man dangling beneath it.
  • B.A. falls from a building and crashes through a glass roof below. He limps away but is shot in the leg by men with machine guns.
  • B.A. picks up a man, turns him upside down and then drives the man headfirst into the ground.  We see the man lying dead on the ground with his eyes open.
  • Lynch punches Hannibal in the side of the head and shoots a hooded man in the head.
  • Hannibal head-butts Lynch and punches him in the face. 

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • While in prison Hannibal fakes his own death. He is placed in a crematorium oven which is turned on and flames begin to engulf his body. When we next see Hannibal his skin is blackened with soot but he appears uninjured.  

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Some children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the scenes described above.

Product placement

None of concern in the movie, but associated merchandise is likely to be marketed to children.

Sexual references

The A-Team contains infrequent sexual references and innuendo. Examples include:

  • A man makes reference to Face having had sex with his wife to which Face responds “She’s so hot”.
  • An attractive young woman walks into Face’s prison cell and sees her lingerie lying on Face’s bed. She removes the lingerie from the bed and makes a comment about Face leaving her lingerie on the bed for others to see.  Face tells the woman he will see her at 8 o’clock for a date.   

Nudity and sexual activity

There is low-level sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • We see Face in the back of a van kissing a girl.
  • Face kisses a woman whom he has only just met on the lips.  When she slaps his face, he becomes very enthusiastic and kisses the woman again.
  • A woman kisses Face passionately on the lips for several seconds.
  • Women wear low cut tops that reveal some cleavage.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Hannibal smokes cigars in a number of scenes and people smoke cigarettes
  • Men drink cans of beer.
  • Whisky is being poured into shot glasses and being drunk by two men.
  • Murdock injects a sleeping drug into the back of B.A’S neck causing B.A. to immediately fall unconscious.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language and name calling in this movie. Examples include:

  • the words “Mother Fucker” clearly mouthed
  • shit, what the hell, piss me off, arsehole, freak show, God damn, Jesus Christ, son of a bitch

In a nutshell

The A-Team is an action adventure film targeting adolescent males that may also entertain an older male audience. The target audience should find the film highly entertaining, the action scenes and quality of acting are above average for this style of film. The film also contains quick and clever humour scattered throughout.

The main messages from this movie are that truth, justice, clearing your name of wrongful accusations and standing up for your rights are always worth fighting for. 

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • selflessness
  • perseverance
  • friendship and faithfulness

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as

  • B.A’s internal conflict associated with harming others and his battle with the idea that some individuals should be killed for the good of all.

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