“The A-Team” is much like director Joe Carnahan’s “Smokin’ Aces”, but with more humor and a clunkier plot, but still maintains most of the enjoyability. The original TV show this is based off of is iconic, no doubt about that, but please don’t think it’s hallowed ground, because it was far from master piece television so this is prime territory for a remake. The TV show, as most things 80s, was pure silliness, from the plots to the humor and especially regarding the adherence to the show’s formula, none of which was left out of the big-screen adaptation. Essentially, it’s the same show without as much censure but with a bigger budget.
Why you’ll like this:
Stupid amounts of action, escapist entertainment
“The A-Team” is a tight-knit group of special ops military personnel who are accused of crimes, crimes which they are of course innocent. Though rather screw-looose, their moral fiber demands their name to be cleared. The leader and master mind of the pack is Hannibal (Liam Neeson), the clinically insane pilot is Murdock (Sharlto Copley), somewhere in-between those two shades of crazy/smart lies Face (Bradley Cooper) and the bruiser made famous by Mr. T, B.A. Baracus (Rampage Jackson) provides the muscle. These men comprise the A-Team, who are great at getting themselves into jams, but even greater at busting their way out in outrageous fashion.
I haven’t seen the TV show in quite some time, but I will admit that the cast was well chosen. Liam Neeson is easy to get behind no matter the part he plays, but Bradley Cooper is carving out quite a name for himself in such films as “The Hangover” and “Wedding Crashers”, his comedic timing is pretty solid. Perhaps the biggest surprise over the past twelve months has to be Sharlto Copley, his excellent performance in “District 9” set the tone for what he’s capable of, but for someone with only a few acting credits to his name he is killing it, and you can tack this on as another smashing success for him, the guy is legit. Easily the hardest role was handed out to Rampage Jackson, it’s just not fair to have to “re-imagine” Mr. T’s infamous B.A. Baracus, it really isn’t, but he managed to do a decent job, not stellar but not underwhelming either, the guys around him helped bring a lot of life to him and certainly made him entertaining.
If the cast and action are what makes this movie worthwhile, then the plot is what scratches the needle on the record. I honestly didn’t understand half of what was going on in terms of motivation and logic, I almost would’ve preferred it if Hannibal just looked at the camera and said, “We’re doing this because it’ll look cool in a minute.” However, I never considered seeing this because of a well formulated plot, this isn’t the world of Jason Bourne, it’s an over the top romp that tries to outsmart you with a visual punchline, which it fails to execute due to sloppy storytelling. And I am okay with that.
Why you won’t like this:
Poor plot, highly ridiculous
There’s a lot of “win” here, but it absolutely depends on what you’re expecting/wanting out of this. The action is ridiculous, point blank. The humor is very guy-ish, plenty of juvenile banter back and forth, but without ever crossing into coarse joking, so I’d say it’s family friendly. Just watch an episode of the original A-Team TV show, then imagine it was directed by Joel Silver, boom, that’s what you got here: forgettable explosions and punchlines, just good enough for me for a couple hours of escapism.
3 out of 5 stars.
Starring: Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Jessica Biel, Quinton Rampage Jackson, Sharlto Copley
Director: Joe Carnahan
Genre: Action, Comedy
Running Time: 1 hr. 57 min.
Release Date: June 11, 2010