Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Oddly enough I don’t think I’ve ever seen a single complete episode of Stephen J. Cannel’s camp classic television show ‘The A-Team’ and I’m an 80’s child so I have no idea why I would have actively avoided that show. I watched a bunch of other Cannel classics such as ‘Stingray’, ‘Silk Stalkings' (Mitzi Kapture anyone?), ‘Hunter’ – which probably could use some movie treatment (Stephanie Kramer anyone?), and ‘The Rockford Files’ – probably doesn’t need a movie treatment… but ‘The A-Team’? I know the characters, I know the setup, but I never made it through an entire episode. Nonetheless here we are with a movie remake of an old television show, something we could bitch about but that’s pretty damn pointless about now, so we just accept these things as this is the way that it is. The good thing is that director Joe Carnahan’s interpretation of the show is about as simple and straightforward as entertainment gets considering this is a movie that proudly allows you to put your brain on pause, sit back in your comfy movie seat… or recliner when it comes out on DVD… and enjoy the show.

A quartet of superior Army Rangers completely through circumstance are thrown together and includes the brilliant Hannibal Smith (Liam Neeson), the silky smooth Faceman (Bradley Cooper), the violent B.A. Baracus (Quentin Jackson) and the completely insane Murdoch (Sharlto Copley). Invariably Col. Smith and his boys will become the A-Team, taking on covert ops and are the cats you call on when it looks like all is lost and the job is impossible.

Impossible like getting a billion dollars of counterfeit loot and U.S. Mint plates out of a completely off limits Baghdad. Slimy CIA agent Lynch (Patrick Wilson) asks Hannibal to do this thing for his nation despite the fact that Hannibal’s best friend General Morrison, played by Gerald Freaking McRaney, begs him to stay out of this op. Also asking the team to stand down, through Faceman, is Face’s ex-girlfriend, the world’s hottest Army Captain Charisa Sosa (Jessica Biel). In fact later on in the movie Face, while in closed quarters with his ex-lady would make the statement ‘I forgot how beautiful you are’. How in the hell did he forget that? Seriously Face, come on… how did you forget that?

You know the story. The job is a setup, the boys are tried and convicted for a crime they did not commit, subsequently they break out of prison in spectacular fashion and eventually they will become soldiers of fortune. That is after they track down this Black Water type clown named Pike (Brian Bloom) who they believe orchestrated the setup, and clear their names.

Explosions, shootouts, double crosses, mayhem, chaos and lots of Bradley Cooper walking around with his shirt off shall ensue. Put on a shirt son.

This movie ‘The A-Team’ can be broken down for the populace very simply. If you enjoy tightly choreographed, funny, stupidly explosive action movies… which I do… then there’s a damn good chance that you will enjoy the time you spend with this movie. On the other hand if you’re the kind of person who sees a group of guys fall from fifteen thousand feet in a tank, guide it through the sky by shooting its cannons and think ‘that’s stupid… that could never happen’. Then keep it moving baby because this one isn’t for you.

Naturally very little in this movie makes any kind of logical sense, I mean how often do bad guys have to have long drawn out silly conversations with our unarmed, about to be murdered heroes before they actually pull the trigger? Sure they could just shoot them dead immediately, but then these villains wouldn’t be able to display their awesome oratory skills. Additionally, while I’m no aeronautical expert, I have my doubts that a gargantuan C-130 can maneuver through the sky like one of those tiny, fun to play with remote control helicopters, no matter how skilled the pilot. And speaking of that pilot can we give propers to the movie ‘District 9’? If it wasn’t for ‘District 9’ which brought the unknown and obscure actor Sharlto Copley to the limelight, then the role of Murdoch would’ve went to someone else and that would’ve been a crying shame. Neeson, Cooper and Rampage were all just fine in this film but Copley, and to a lesser extent Brian Bloom, added a good bit of quality and necessary humor to this completely nonsensical action flick.

They call them ‘popcorn movies’ for a reason my friends so dial down that synaptic activity, and watch a remake of an old TV show that actually turned out to be pretty darned decent. ‘Starsky and Hutch’, ‘Dennis the Menace’ and ‘Bewitched’ should’ve been so lucky.

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