First, let me start by saying I recommend you watch this movie.
If you like good old fashion action movies then The A-Team is there to fulfill your needs. Fun movies are hard to find nowadays and there is so many Pixar like movies that one can wait for to enjoy. That is what is so surprising about The A-Team , with all the disappointments hitting the screen this summer and even before; I came into the movie with D with extremely low expectations, hoping to not be too bored when I left the movie. Instead of looking at my watch to see when it would end, I was looking at it to see how much more I would be able to get.
I was into the movie from the beginning to end. Again this is The A-Team , it was not a critically acclaimed T.V. show and the film isn’t going to be winning any awards. It is meant to be a big dumb fun time for people, rather than War and Peace it is that mystery novel you bring to the beach. If you watch it in this context then I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
The show is remembered by most of my generation because of the fun almost cartoon like characters and the crazy action (for the 80s). Throw in the fact that kids could watch the show because nobody really died (most of the bad guys were caught and handed to the police after The A-Team left), made for a formula that resonated.
The A-Team film hits on most of these points. The action was fun and memorable, while people did die, it was probably less graphic than most action movies and considering the violence and gore in movies like Saw , the latest Rambo and even comedies like Tropic Thunder. The A-Team can be considered quite lame. Finally the characters for the most part are well represented. I will take them one by one:
Hannibal Smith (Liam Neeson) – I thought that Neeson did a pretty good job. While there might have been a bit too much hubris in his depiction (he was way too smug after one of his master plans worked out perfectly), for the most part I thought it was pretty faithful. I kind of wonder if after Neeson hit with Taken , if they added some additional fighting scenes for the Hannibal character, because he was jumping out of windows and beating up younger guys allow over the place.
Faceman Peck (Bradley Cooper) – I think he had the whole smooth operator shtick down pat. The rest of the character didn’t really seem too much of a stretch for Cooper as such I think he does a great job, he also pulls off most of the jokes and lighthearted cockiness that we come to expect from Face. I am thankful that they didn’t try to make him the main focus of the movie though as I don’t think he could have carried the entire film himself.
B.A. Baracus (Quinton Jackson) – He an MMA fighter and not an actor and it really shows. I think the director was hoping that the bad ass fighter vibe would translate over in the film, and as far as I am concerned it doesn’t really work, of course, he also was trying to replace an Icon so it is understandable. Also, since he isn’t a good actor we don’t really see as much of him as we would like and that is saying something considering that Mr. T was no Lawrence Olivier.
Murdock (Sharlto Copley)- He deserves a big hit after doing such a great job in District 9 (whether it happens or not remains to be seen). Sharlto is not much of a comedic actor, but he certainly comes off crazy enough for the part and while it may not be the goofy crazy from the 80s show, it certainly does the trick for the movie, and it doesn’t feel like he is doing an impression of Dwight Schultz’s character.
Filling out the cast is Jessica Biel. While she doesn’t take away from the movie (like Dawson’s Creek Girl in Batman Begins ) she certainly doesn’t really add anything either. On top of it all, she really doesn’t look very good so I couldn’t even give her the Megan Fox eye candy benefit of the doubt. She is so skinny that it’s kind of scary; it make her teeth look like they weighed 10 pounds each, definitely not a good look.
My personal favorite thing about the 80′s movie was the "build" segment that would happen on each show. In this part of the show, the team would build whatever contraption, modify some vehicle or booby trap everything for the big final show down with the bad guys. The great thing about this is that they would use random things from where they were, including fencing or car doors etc. it was like watching a more militant MacGyver show. Unfortunately, this really didn’t come though in the movie. While they eluded to it a couple of times, it wasn’t as fun as the T.V. show, though that could be due to the format more than anything.
So to wrap it all up, this has been the most entertaining summer movie I have seen so far. Yes including Iron Man 2 (The A-Team doesn’t really have the weight of expectation that Iron Man 2). A review of the box office shows that The A-Team got its but kicked by the Karate Kid remake (a movie I will never watch in the theater), and that is understandable. There hasn’t been a kid’s movie to come out in a while, and parents have to stall until Toy Story 3 comes out and wipes everyone out.
Yet I do believe that The A-Team will have a better shelf life than the Karate Kid remake. It all out action and generally likable characters and easy to follow plot show give it a good chance when it comes out on Blue Ray and DVD. Yet, there is a small part of me that almost wants it to not make enough to have another edition. I feel that it was a well make action flick and I wouldn’t want that ruined with some kind of Transformers 2 like sequel. Contradictions aside, I would say this is a good movie to watch in the theater and may even be worth the non-matinee price. To seal the deal, the movie has D’s Wifey stamp of approval for movies that even girls might enjoy.