Reel Shorts | The A-Team

11 06 2010

This review first appeared in Jet Magazine.com. To read this review at its original source, click here.

After a 25-year hiatus, the story of four fugitives on the run from military justice has morphed from a campy TV show to an enjoyable summer spectacle. Despite some holes in the script, “The A-Team” largely succeeds by staying true to the original formula and not taking itself too seriously.

The film begins with an accelerated, yet entertaining backstory that brings our principals, four U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers-turned-mercenaries, together in Mexico to help bring down a druglord. Hannibal Smith (Liam Neeson) is taking a savage beating, B.A. Baracus (Quinton “Rampage” Jackson) is in search of his “special lady” and Face (Bradley Cooper) is caught on the wrong end of a confrontation with a jealous husband. After springing the unstable Murdock (Sharlito Copley) from the mental institution, our fearsome foursome makes their great escape.

Several years later, the team members find themselves in Iraq and once again at the center of some questionable mercenary activity. Apparently, Saddam’s army has stolen some plates used to make money from the U.S. Mint and are printing millions of dollars used to procure weapons. While warned not to participate in the mission by Gen. Morrison (Gerald McRainey), Hannibal ignores his advice and teams up with the mysterious C.I.A agent Col. Lynch (Patrick Wilson) to retrieve the missing plates.

Things are also complicated when Face’s ex, the tenacious Capt. Carissa Sosa (Jessica Biel) shows up and also questions the motives of the Alpha team. After a thrilling retrieval mission, the team is double-crossed by fellow mercenary Pike (Brian Bloom), and soon the Alpha team is disbanded and locked away in military jails in various locations around the world. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that not only will they find a way out of jail but will avenge the people who put them there.

With so much potential for things to go wrong, surprisingly the film works quite well. All of the updated characters capture the essence of their original counterparts, with Copley, notably, exceling as the loony Murdock. Neeson is also golden, channeling his inner George Peppard as the “man with the plan” Hannibal. Fresh off of his success in “The Hangover,” Cooper scores again as the team’s smooth-talking ladies’ man.

Through no fault of his own, former Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) lightweight champion Jackson doesn’t really distinguish himself filling the larger-than-life shoes of Mr. T. While he does a good job with the role’s physical demands and manages to copy T’s look and bodacious mannerisms, Jackson never comfortably inhabits the role of the boisterous brute. Even T’s classic line, “I Pity the Fool,” is never uttered, merely tattooed across Jackson’s fingers as well as across the face of anybody who dares to cross his intimidating path.

That the film succeeds is to the credit of director Joe Carnahan (“Smokin’ Aces”), as well as writing partners Skip Woods and Bloom, who keep the action moving and fun. Even the film’s ridiculously outrageous WTF moment (a tank flying through the air) seems somewhat plausible.

Though admittedly not a big fan of the show, Carnahan has managed an impressive feat – transforming a popular cult TV show into an entertaining summer popcorn movie, and in the process, successfully updating it while maintaining the soul and heart of the original. As Hannibal is fond of saying, “I love it when a plan comes together!”

Grade: B-            

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One response

7 07 2010
Watch Free Movies Online

The A-Team is for sure a great film I really liked it a great deal! I think you’ll acknowledge the movie is definitely a lot more pleasurable compared to the original television series

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