Review: 'The A-Team'

Finally, a not-so mindless summer action flick that’s both respectful of the material that inspired it and rewarding to fans of the same.

With eight years and eighty successful missions together under their belt, the unorthodox “A-Team” is the US Army’s choice for getting things done in the face of incredible odds. Led by Hannibal Smith (Liam Neeson), his men include ‘Faceman’ Peck (Bradley Cooper), B.A. Baracus (Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson), and H.M. Murdock (Sharlto Copley). Tasked with a covert mission, the team ends up being blamed for killing the only person who can verify their secret orders, but Hannibal isn’t about to let his team take the fall for another person’s crime.

Count this among the handful of classic television shows that has made the leap to film without shaming everyone involved with the original production. It is an origin story about how these four individuals got together as well as an account of what their original crime was; all of these were things hinted at in the television series but never explored. Also like the series, the plans are over-thought and outrageous, and watching how they succeed or go awry is all part of the show. Again by respecting the original material, the film honors rather than belittles what has gone before, ensuring there’s no need to pad the running time making up silly sight gags and instead just let the story naturally and entertainingly unfold.

The actors hired to replace their television counterparts each meet their challenge while adding something new to the established characters. Of the quartet, it is Sharlto Copley, formerly of District 9, who steals the show with his Murdock. The inclusion of Jessica Biel as Capt. Charisa Sosa doesn’t feel forced (and may be a nice setup for any potential sequel), while Gerald McRaney’s appearance as General Morrison was a pleasant surprise. For a few additional moments of nostalgia, be sure to stay until the end of the credits.

One thing hurting this film was the hastily made and remarkably similar production of The Losers, a fun but incomplete movie that may undermine or put people off from The A-Team who may confuse the two. It’s sad, too, because this is the very kind of film people claim they want to see in the theater during the summertime, a bigger than life action flick that’s not too brain heavy but doesn’t insult their intelligence while featuring fun characters doing heroic stuff. If word of mouth doesn’t kick start this, it’ll be a shame since it looks better on a bigger screen.

(a three and a half skull recommendation out of four)
3.5 out of four skulls

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About Grim D. Reaper

Your death angel critic for film and Halloween horror all-year 'round. Host for MovieCrypt.com.
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2 Responses to Review: 'The A-Team'

  1. kindragon says:

    yeah i was actually surprised by this film. BTW i liked the losers so NANANA

  2. Bravo to you for being prepared to defend the film. Great review

    I thoroughly enjoyed the A Team. Reviews for the film had been pretty sketchy with the consensus being that it was quite poor. So we went in with low expectations. If I could have one or two decent laughs and some solid gunfire, then I?€™d be happy.

    Well for me, the film really hit the spot. I loved the camaraderie and bromance between the team. Although different characters, they all supported each other, this being picked up in the small things like Hannibal calling Bosco ?€?big man?€™ or Hannibal and Face discussing previous jobs when they were in the diner. You got a real sense that they had history together. There was no sniping, just fondness for each other and their idiosyncrasies.

    I really enjoyed how they set up each of the characters, how they came together and how they showed them pulling missions as a tight unit in Iraq. To include all of this, along with the ?€?crime they didn?€™t commit?€™, their escape and story resolution without repeating scenes within two hours made it a fabulous tour de force. I enjoyed the script and thought many of the characters had some good lines, even Pike and Lynch.

    The makers were bold enough to dispense with the limiting factors such as the van or BA?€™s attitude. They gave them a nod but understood that it was the tight cohesion of the team that was the central core/concept of the franchise as opposed to the excessive neck jewellery or Murdoch?€™s zanier outbursts.

    Neeson led the team well, Cooper just oozed sex appeal, Copley was great and even Rampage did a good job (and let?€™s face it Mr T wasn?€™t a great actor). The action scenes were fun, if a little over edited, and even the tank scene, which I thought from the trailer looked silly, worked. I think because of the frenzy inside the cab with all four characters speaking and them having this ?€?crazy?€™ attitude, you just carried along with it.

    On the downside I found the chop, chop lightning editing a little frustrating, especially as their set up, planning and execution of the missions looked so good and the ending (i.e. the dockyard) was a little poor but overall I thought it was great. I?€™ve recently seen both Predators and Inception and I?€™d certainly take watching the A-team again over the other two.

    Personally I don?€™t know what the critics problem is – It?€™s an A-team film. Now I don?€™t mean that excuses it from being lazy or poorly made, which it isn?€™t. But what you don?€™t expect then is some overly complicated techno thriller or a searing portrayal of over achievement in the constricting life of an army fugitive. What you want is light hearted fun, action, teamwork and ultimately entertainment. The A team delivers this aplenty.

    I know the film had wallowed in development hell for some time, so bravo to Carnaghan for digging it up, sticking with it and giving it the resuscitative jolt it needed. If they were to put together a sequel (though I fear the critics might have dashed that), it could certainly count on my support.

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