The movie starts down in Mexico where an older white man is bound to a chair and being beaten up by a thug while a cop watches. The cop comments that the American will never tell them who he's working for or why he's interested in the General and that the thug should just kill him. When the thug pulls out a gun, the cop clarifies that he should use the American's gun. The thug repeatedly tries to shoot the man, only to learn that the firing pin on the American's gun has been removed. The cop laughs and tells the American, "You came here with a gun that doesn't have a firing pin, no back-up, and picked the wrong cop to bribe. Next time you should come with a plan." The two leave, taking a stack of hundreds that the American presumably attempted to bribe the cop with, and release some dogs to kill & eat him. However, as they walk away you see the American slip the firing pin from his sleeve, use it to pick his handcuffs, and then he walks back into the shadows as the dogs follow. Next thing you hear a whine and the dogs run out, their collars handcuffed to each other. You see a flicking light in the shadows and Hannibal (Liam Neeson) walks out and says, "I love it when a plan comes together."
Meanwhile, B.A. Baracus (Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson) is in the process of stealing a sports car. After evading Mexican cops, he drives it into a chop shop and demands that the owners return his girl because he's fulfilled his part of the bargain. The owner asks if he's really planning to leave, before informing that the only way he can "cash out" is to wind up in a Mexican prison and orders the goons to get him. However, B.A. just flexes his knuckles (one hand reading "P I T Y" and the other reading "F O O L") before kicking the holy hell out of everybody in the joint. He then rescues his "baby", the iconic black GMC van seen in the show, and leaves.
The scene shifts to the renegade Mexican General's camp where Lt. Templeton "Faceman" Peck (Bradley Cooper) is being restrained by tires and cracking jokes while getting beaten up by a thug. The General comments, "You came here for me, to kidnap and bring me across the border, but you ended up sleeping with my wife." Face responds, "Well, we have a lot in common, you see, we both hate you." The general punches him then orders a noose attached to Face's neck and that he be lit on fire.
Hannibal is walking through Mexico following a GPS. He sees B.A.'s van in the distance and stands in the road, almost getting hit but B.A. stops in time and asks him if he's crazy. Hannibal holds a gun to B.A.'s head and tells him to slide over because he needs to borrow the van. "I'm not thief," Hannibal says. B.A. responds, "Then you're certainly no murderer." Getting nowhere, Hannibal lowers the gun and shoots B.A. in the shoulder before getting into the van. As Hannibal helps bind the wound, B.A. is more upset that the bullet might've damaged his van than he is about being shot, and Hannibal notices B.A.'s Army Rangers tattoo before revealing he's also a Ranger (and showing his tattoo). B.A. has heard of Hannibal and agrees to help.
Back at the camp they're sprinkling gasoline on Face. The Mexican General makes a few more snide remarks, finally telling Face that he really needed a plan (which comes up a LOT in this movie) and signaling that the fire be lit. As the Mexican General counts the money Hannibal used for the bribe, he notices a small electronic patch on one of the bills. Suddenly the van bursts onto the scene with Hannibal and B.A. shooting. Face yells to save the girl (the General's wife), then rolls down the hill. The van meets him at the bottom, he throws up, and then they're all fleeing as the General's forces follow in jeeps with the General personally riding in an attack helicopter. Face and the General's wife make out like crazy in the back of the van before Hannibal introduces them to B.A. and tells them that they're going to a local hospital to pick up a pilot he's heard about. When they arrive, Hannibal tells B.A. to see a doctor about getting his arm stitched up (from the earlier bullet wound) while nurses are running around mentioning that a patient has escaped (at the same time the General's wife leaves when Face asks a soldier to get her out of there and protect her). A man in a doctor's outfit is seen trying to sneak out of the building when a nurse grabs his arm (at which point he puts the facemask up) and tells him they need help with a patient... B.A. Baracus! When the "doctor" enters the room, he mentions it smells like gasoline before correctly identifying the source as Face. He begins to stitch up B.A.'s arm when Face notices that it's in a lightning bolt pattern. As the two freak a little, Face suddenly notices his arm is on fire. The doctor, with a lighter in his hand, simply says, "I know I smelled gasoline." Hannibal arrives just in time to break up the fight and both he and the nurses identify the "doctor" as Murdock (Sharlto Copley), who is both the escaped patient... and their pilot! Naturally, B.A. and Face object to this (despite Murdock's claims he's also a Ranger, a pilot, and most definitely not insane; Hannibal says he believes him), but as Mexican forces begin pouring into the facility they all flee to the roof where they find a hospital helicopter (in terrible condition). They take off and Murdock decides to try something he says he saw in a cartoon (again, against B.A. and Face's objections), deciding to fly right at the soldiers on the roof (no idea what he was trying to do) and in the process knocking an air conditioning unit off the roof... and right onto B.A.'s van! (as seen in the trailers). While in the air, the helicopter is chased by the General's attack helicopter and Murdock pulls off a number of stunts he's always wanted to try (such as flying upside down, cutting his engines and falling to avoid heat-seeking missiles, etc ) in the process impressing the other pilot and subsequently giving B.A. Baracus his fear of flying (running gag). As the race continues, Hannibal gets on the radio to let the Mexican General know that he's attacking US military personnel.... over US territory! The General freaks out upon hearing this and Murdock flies up, seconds later a jet blows up the General's helicopter.
8 years and 80 missions later
An American Army camp is readying to pull out of Iraq. Hannibal and Face are at the camp, as are B.A. Baracus and Murdock. Captain Charisa Sousa (Jessica Biel), who apparently has history with Face, shows up to warn him to not get involved a mission to retrieve some engraving plates. Meanwhile, on the other side of the camp, CIA Agent Lynch (Patrick Wilson) has arrived to talk to Hannibal about taking on the exact same mission (when Hannibal hears the name, he mentions knowing quite a few CIA agents named Lynch over his career---a running gag in the movie, indicating that Lynch is a generic CIA pseudonym). At some point, Saddam (or another Arab, but the plates ended up with Saddam) was given US currency engraving/printing plates and a faction of the former Iraqi forces are now using the plates to print unauthorized American currency. Lynch asks Hannibal to retrieve the plates and money. When he balks at the idea, Lynch mentions that Black Forest operatives (an outside-contracted private military/security force, in a thinly veiled reference to real organizations used by the US government like Blackwater) led by Pike have been hired for the mission. Upon hearing this, Hannibal disses Pike and decides that he wants the mission as Pike's forces would cause unnecessary civilian casualties. He goes to General Morrison and asks to take this mission. As Agent Lynch leaves the tent, Agent Sosa sees him (moderately important later). General Morrison tells Hannibal that he knows how badly Hannibal wants to get involved and Hannibal would beg for the opportunity; however, he himself begs Hannibal not to take it. Finally, General Morrison relents and Hannibal recruits Face, B.A., and Murdock for the mission. The group hears the plan which involves hitting a heavily armed convoy, alternatively agreeing that it's both insane and somewhat ingenious before agreeing to it. The plan unfolds, step by step, as Hannibal simultaneously explains it in a voice-over. Basically, Face and Murdock head down to a press headquarters to steal some press identification and equipment (while Face seduces a female reporter). The ID badges are then doctored with Face's information. B.A. & Murdock head over to Black Forest HQ and steal a humvee door and battery, which is then used to somehow create a powerful magnet device. Face uses the ID badges to get into a building, then enters the sewers with the battery and uses the device to cling onto the bottom of the transport. He then drops caltrops to take out the tires on the Iraqi jeep following the transport. B.A. shows up on a motorcycle "with a full tank of gas" and uses it to leap onto the transport while using the bike itself to blow up another vehicle. B.A. proceeds to take out some of the guards and take the wheel of the transport. Hannibal jumps in from above, using some sort of a clothes-line and disables another attacker. He and Face staple airbags to the sides of the container (before also stapling themselves) before instructing BA to drive the thing off a downed bridge into a river and get inside the container. The airbags keep the container afloat while Murdock uses a helicopter to lift the container back to camp (a step that B.A. was somehow unaware of...?). At camp, B.A. is ticked and nearly punches his way out of the container but Murdock calms him down with an offer of food. The general begins to drive up but suddenly his jeep explodes. As the team surveys the damage, the container behind them also suddenly explodes and you can see Pike & company making off with the plates.
Agent Sosa is demoted for her failure to keep Hannibal & his team out of this, which resulted in the loss of the plates. Hannibal, Face, Murdock, and B.A. are all court-martialed as the mission is believed to be unsanctioned (as their commanding officer and only person in the camp aware of the mission, General Morrison, is dead). Hannibal asks "What about Black Forest?" The court simply responds that since Black Forest is an independent contractor, they're immune to these proceedings (a real-world hot button topic). Hannibal tells that court that since it was his operation any punishment should solely sit on his shoulders, but the others want to be tried with him. The court sentences each member of the Alpha Team (hence the A-Team) to 10 years in prison.
Six months pass...
Agent Lynch visits Hannibal in jail and asks why Hannibal & his men haven't broken out yet to pursue Pike. Agent Lynch shows Hannibal of some blurry photos of Pike in Germany... at which point Hannibal pulls out his own stack of much clearer photos of Pike. Lynch asks how he got those, to which Hannibal replies that given an hour he's good, given a day he's great, but given six months he's unstoppable. Apparently Pike has been making daily visits to a certain bank with an unknown Arab man, presumably a buyer for the plates. Hannibal barters with Lynch to reinstate his team's ranks and get rid of the charges if they retrieve the plates. Lynch agrees, but because he can't officially have Hannibal released (surprising, given everything else he does in the movie although it's probably to keep a low profile) he helps him with a break-out plan by getting him a drugged cigar that lets Hannibal fake his death. After being taken out of the prison, Hannibal wakes up before anything bad happens to his body and spooks a mortician.
Meanwhile Agent Sosa learns that Hannibal has had a visitor while in prison, but a powerful scrambling device prevents her from seeing who on the security tapes. At the same time, Face is getting into a tanning booth (despite being in prison, he was clearly doing very well for himself...) when suddenly the lights go out, the doors lock, and the booth is transported out to a lake where he reunites with Hannibal. Next the two head to break out B.A. out from a prison transfer bus, getting his attention and then using his attention through messages on the front & back license plates telling him to head to the emergency exit door in the back of the bus. A second later a grappling gun is fired, dragging the door off the bus and B.A. with it, clinging onto the door for dear life as the A-Team speeds away. (Later, B.A. gets a haircut but chooses not to get the old mohawk and explains to Hannibal & Face that he's now taken a vow of non-violence and isn't comfortable with his old reputation as a bad ass which he feels was forced onto him.)
Upon learning that the other two escaped shortly after Hannibal, Agent Soza is ticked and vows to get to Murdock before they do... who is currently being incarcerated in an asylum of some sort. While a board game with another patient, Murdock receives a package from a "Annabelle Smith" and smiles. Inside the package is a 3-D movie and a whole set of glasses. Murdock pulls all the patients together for an impromptu showing of the movie (which has an A-Team like theme playing and shows a van driving out in the country, strongly resembling the incident from the beginning of the movie). As Agent Soza walks around the room, Murdock pretends to have previously had a stroke and when she inspects him the guard merely says that Murdock is fried. Sosa starts watching the movie closely and notices that the van is driving right towards the screen.... seconds later the wall bursts in as a hummer smashes into the room. Hannibal calls for Murdock, who jumps into the hummer during the confusion. They make an escape to a nearby airfield with Sosa's men in pursuit. Upon reaching a plane carrying a tank, Hannibal walks up to the men working inside and goes, "Do you know who I am?" "Sure, you're Hannibal Smith, you're a formerly decorated soldier who escaped from custody and is a wanted fugitive." "Do you know what that means?" "You're taking the plane?" "Bingo." The mechanics/soldiers then just walk off, allowing them to board. Usual objections to Murdock flying start, ending with Murdock giving B.A. some pills from the asylum to knock him out. However, within minutes of the plane taking off it's being pursued by two drone fighters who, despite Murdock's best efforts and tricks, take out one of the plane's wings. Agent Sosa desperately tries to call off the attack, but the plane explodes... revealing a falling tank that opens its parachutes (as seen in the trailer). Face jumps up top to use an artillery gun of some sort to destroy one of the drones, but soon two of the parachutes are destroyed. B.A. wakes up and asks where the hell he is, at which point they tell him he's in a tank. "What happened to the plane?" "It got shot down. Now we're flying in a tank. Well, more like falling." Hannibal instructs face to man the cannon and fire shots in certain directions. When the army personnel observing the drones ask what they're doing, Sosa replies, "...they're trying to fly the tank." Thanks to Hannibal's quick thinking, the tank lands in a lake and drives out. Murdock even asks for directions from nearby spectator.
Hearing from Lynch that Pike & crew are nearly done, the A-Team come up with a plan to retrieve the plates. Meanwhile, Sosa manages to obtain an unscrambled image of Hannibal's visitor at the prison and recognizes Lynch from back at the army base in Iraq. She manages to put a phone call through to him at his field office in Germany, which basically makes her a marked woman. Realizing this, Hannibal has Face head to station where she's entering Germany but orders Face not to interact directly with her. Face slips a cell phone in Sosa's pocket and then allows himself to be seen, drawing her out of the sniper's line of sight. He drags her into a photo booth where the two fight, ending in Sosa handcuffed to the bar. Face accuses Sosa of making this personal and proceeds to tell her that he wasn't "playing" during the time they were seeing each other, which is what scared her into leaving him. Again, Face asserts his innocence and instructs Sosa to hold onto the phone.
The A-Team proceeds to run their extraction mission, which goes down basically as seen in the trailers, with B.A. watching Pike & his men inside the bank from across the street on a window-cleaner's platform while Hannibal rappels down a rope outside the bank. B.A. fires some kind of a smoke bomb through the window into the room followed by Hannibal jumping in, putting a parachute onto the Arab then tossing him out the window. The parachute opens and Murdock catches it on the bottom of a helicopter, dragging the prisoner along through the sky. There's a tense moment when Hannibal has a gun on a downed Pike, but he uses the bullet to break the chain handcuffing Pike to the briefcase with the plates. Hannibal jumps out the window and begins rappelling down, but Pike recovers and shoots the briefcase from Hannibal's hands. B.A. jumps off the platform and begins rappelling down to the street to recover the briefcase while Pike shoots at him. Finally, Pike just shoots the platform and sends B.A. falling. Rather than shoot back at Pike, B.A. shoots out the window below himself to fall down to the street and gets the briefcase. B.A. tries to escape into a parking lot but is confronted by Pike. Pike tries to goad B.A. into a fight, but B.A. just lets himself get hit until he eventually holds a gun on Pike. Pike points out that he has two guns on him and reaches for them while B.A. hesitates. Just as Pike is about to shoot, he gets slammed by a car. Hannibal tells B.A. to get in and they head off. Pike continues to shoot at their car until seconds later when Agent Soza and the cops arrive to take him into custody.
Back at a temporary base of operations, Hannibal reveals that they've been set up. They pull the hood off the "Arab" to reveal General Morrison---their former commanding officer who "died" when his jeep exploded! Morrison reveals that Lynch originally approached he and Pike to steal the plates for the CIA and offered them a pay-off. However, Morrison believed that Lynch wasn't going to make good on the promise so he planned on double-crossing him which is why Lynch approached Hannibal to get the plates before Pike would have a chance and is also the reason why General Morrison begged Hannibal not to take Lynch's assignment. Hannibal contacts Lynch with an update, then asks for the terms in writing with approval from upper-ups which Lynch promises to get in about 5 minutes.... coincidentally the same ETA for a fighter drone to get to their location to blow them up leaving no loose ends. Face comes out to talk to Hannibal and asks why he wasn't able to see this coming. Hannibal starts muttering something about being a certain number of steps ahead before pausing and realizing something is amiss. He orders the team out of the barn seconds before the drone blows the place up, killing Morrison.... again (but presumably for real this time).
Agent Sosa is interrogating Pike but isn't getting anywhere when Lynch suddenly shows up with an order that remands Pike into the CIA's custody. As they're driving, Pike and Lynch chat for a while as another agent tries to attach a silencer to a gun. Pike asks if they're just going to murder him in the car before calling the agent a moron for attaching the silencer the wrong way. He then proceeds to criticize where the agent is aiming and instructs him to point at the temple... and promptly disarms him. "Never handcuff a man's hands behind his back," Pike advises, "because then you don't know what his hands are doing." Lynch compliments his ingenuity and then picks up an incoming phone call to Sosa.
Meanwhile, Face has a plan to catch Lynch with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar. He has Hannibal call Sosa, knowing that Lynch has the phone tapped, and offer to surrender themselves with the plates and General Morrison (who nobody knows is dead yet) in exchange for a civilian re-trial. The meeting is set up for the docks. Right after Sosa hangs up she notices she has a call on her *other* phone, the one Face gave her...
Lynch is a little miffed that the A-Team is still alive and with Morrison (again, actually dead but Lynch doesn't know that), who presumably could provide some damning testimony if things went to trial. Pike offers his assistance in exchange for his freedom and some compensation. Of course, he was probably just buying himself some time.
The A-Team arrives at an ambiguous terminal, headed for whatever area those aforementioned docks are located. They all have cover IDs but, for whatever reason, Murdock and B.A.'s passports somehow got switched. B.A., dressed in very ethnic African clothing, is supposedly a rabbi or something while Murdock's passport now reveals that he came from some African country which might not be a problem.... if for the fact that the African clerk at the counter came from the same country and is attempting to speak to Murdock in Swahili. Face and Hannibal quickly decide how they're going to take down the guards when crap hits the fun but after a long pause Murdock responds to the clerk... also in Swahili. "Murdock knows Swahili?!" When they get to the vessel, B.A. says it's great to be traveling by boat instead of plane... before noticing it's an amphibious plane. Murdock quickly injects B.A. in the back of the head with a needle, knocking him out and he falls to the ground. Hannibal then reminds Murdock that, "You were supposed to catch him after you injected him," to which Murdock just replies "Oops!"
The group transfers onto a cargo ship at some point for the big meeting, before which Face explains his big plan. Face tells the group that men like Lynch prefer to plan far in advance while staying out of the field. The trick will be disrupting his plans to force him to get into the open using distraction, diversion, and finally disrupting his anonymity and allowing the entire world to see him for who he is (demonstrating all of this with a shell game). The group then proceeds to set up all kinds of tricks. Hannibal insists, "Overkill is underrated." At the docks, Hannibal walks out with an individual in a hood (to give the impression of it being General Morrison, who presumably is still very much dead but nobody else realizes it). Lynch has his snipers trained on Hannibal and not-Morrison while intercepting a phone call between Hannibal and Sosa. Apparently Sosa wants to renegotiate part of the deal, but Hannibal is balking. Right when the snipers are going to take the shot, a cargo container slams down to block it. The container then lifts up, along with two other containers, in order to play a shell game. Fireworks shoot out from the tops of the containers, then they open to reveal three identical vans that Lynch's agents proceed to destroy. Lynch's men move to investigate the vans despite Pike's very vocal objections. Pike is proven correct, as B.A. and Face light a stream of gasoline on fire which takes out Lynch's men. Pike then shoots both of Lynch's snipers and uses their weapons to attack B.A. When that fails, he uses some kind of a powerful rocket launcher to punch holes in the A-Team's barge to upset their plan. Face heads back to the boat and fights Pike, who has the high ground and far more ammo. Just when Pike has face dead-to-rights, B.A. rides in on a motorcycle and quickly takes Pike down an overhead body-slam. Face asks B.A. how his conscience feels and B.A. tells him it couldn't feel any better.
Meanwhile Lynch is searching through the containers for Hannibal and "Morrison". Hannibal has the place rigged with mini-speakers to spook Lynch and then gets the drop on him when he enters the correct container. However, Lynch easily overpowers Hannibal and brags about his Muay Thai being good. He then proceeds to shoot the hooded man through the head. Hannibal attacks Lynch again, this time really laying into him and showing that he had thrown the fight a minute ago. However, he lets Lynch get his gun and gets shot. Lynch mentions that Hannibal must be wearing kevlar, but that it doesn't protect the head. Hannibal makes some kind of ominous wise-crack and suddenly the container lifts up, revealing Sosa and dozens of police outside (the hooded man turns out to be Murdock, who had a special kevlar helmet to protect his head as well as a blood pack contraption to fake his death). Lynch is taken into custody. Sosa rubs this fact in by using Lynch's real name and tells him that he's not getting out unless he has a piece of paper just like hers. Moments later the CIA shows up to take Lynch into custody and then apologizes to the team. However, when asked his name, the CIA Agent replies, "Lynch." (The first Lynch's fate is left ambiguous, because it's hard to tell if he was engaged in an actual CIA op given the zaniness of some of their covert operations. Depending on your interpretation, Lynch could be secretly murdered, heading for a top secret prison, or just get a reprimand of some sort for his failure.) Although the A-Team's initial charges are presumably cleared at this point, military police show up to arrest them. Why? Because, as Hannibal points out, they broke the law by escaping from prison. Agent Sosa (now reinstated to Captain) heavily objects and tells the group that she'll do everything in her power to help them before passionately kissing Face. As the four are locked up in the back of a truck, Face spits out the keys Agent Sosa slipped him.
The movie ends with a clip of them escaping and future adventures, the epilogue states: Still wanted by the government, they now survive as Soldiers of Fortune helping those with nobody to turn to. If you have a problem, and nobody else can help, and if you can find them, then perhaps you too can hire the A-Team.
*CUT TO THE CHASE*
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Hannibal, Face, BA Baracus, and Murdock all meet while Hannibal and Murdock are running an extraction operation in Mexico. Following the operation, Murdock and BA join Hannibal's team and they work together for 8 years.
While in Iraq, they agree to a CIA Operative's (Agent Lynch) plan to reclaim US currency printing plates and counterfeit money from Iraqi forces despite General Morrison's and Agent Sosa's strong objections who both insist that independent firm Black Forest led by Pike should do it. When they succeed and return to base, the general's (the one man with knowledge of the mission) car explodes and Pike's forces steal the plates. Having no proof it was a sanctioned op, the men are charged with stealing the plates and wind up in prison.
Agent Lynch helps them break out to find Pike. After disrupting Pike's deal and stealing the plates, kidnapping an unidentified Arab "buyer" in the process, it's revealed that Lynch, General Morrison (now disguised as the Arab), and Pike were all in cahoots but Morrison and Pike cut Lynch out of the deal. Lynch orders an air-strike that kills General Morrison. Ultimately Face creates a plan to ensnare Lynch (who in turn frees Pike to help him) and they face off at the docks. Lynch is easily fooled by Face's deceptions and tricks, but Pike uses a powerful rocket launcher to punch a hole in the A-Team's barge. Face fights Pike and loses, but BA Baracus rides in on a motorcycle to take Pike down. Lynch confronts Hannibal and a hooded captive he believes to be General Morrison in a cargo container. After subduing Hannibal, he shoots "General Morrison" only to reveal that the whole thing had been a set-up and Agent Sosa & other law enforcement were on the outside listening/watching the entire exchange. Although Lynch is taken into custody, the CIA remands him (but thanks the A-Team for their efforts) and then Military Police show up to arrest the A-Team because they broke the law by escaping from prison (despite the crime that they were convicted for basically being dismissed). However, Sosa slips Face a key and the group escapes. Still wanted by the government, they now survive as Soldiers of Fortune helping those with nobody to turn to. If you have a problem, and nobody else can help, and if you can find them, then perhaps you too can hire the A-Team.
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