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The A-Team (A PopEntertainment.com Movie Review)

The A-Team

The A-Team

THE A-TEAM (2010)

Starring Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Jessica Biel, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Sharlto Copley, Patrick Wilson, Gerald McRaney, Henry Czerny, Yul Vazquez, Brian Bloom, Maury Sterling, Terry Chen and Omari Hardwick.

Screenplay by Joe Carnahan, Brian Bloom and Skip Woods.

Directed by Joe Carnahan.

Distributed by 20th Century Fox.  117 minutes.  Rated PG-13.

The “why did they bother to bring that back?” list of Hollywood reboots keeps growing by leaps and bounds.

The latest suspect?  The A-Team.

Actually, if you get technical, there are two new ones this week because the new Karate Kid starts on the very same day.  I am having 80s flashbacks as we speak.  I feel like I should get my LA Gear on, tease my hair up with mousse and Wang Chung on down to the theater.

Anyway, back to The A-Team.

No one, even the makers of the old TV series, had any delusions that it was ever a good show.  However, it was a periodically entertaining one, with great gobs of cartoonish violence – despite hundreds of thousands of rounds of bullets spent on the series, I don’t believe anyone was ever killed or even injured.

And while the show was never overly popular it did become somewhat iconic for chuckleheaded macho action, sort of a weekly Chuck Norris film a full decade before Walker: Texas Ranger.

It is the story of four distinctly eccentric former Army Rangers who are framed for war crimes and have to go on the run, working as soldiers of fortune while the Army tries to capture them and return them to the brig.  Yet, somehow the team always came down on the side of good, saving widows, orphans and nuns from the forces of evil.

I pity the fool who messes with this franchise.

On the plus side, The A-Team movie is fairly faithful to the storyline and characters of the series, though not at all to the tone of the show.  As far as I can tell, the only things the film has added are actual casualties and a significantly dourer worldview than the campy series.

Each of the characters has one essential character quirk that defines them.  Hannibal is the boss – the mastermind who makes sure that the plans come together with glittering eyes while chomping on a huge stogie.  Face is the pretty boy con man.  BA is the pissed off muscle guy.  Murdock is the (literally) crazy pilot.

These character traits remain in the movie and yet they have all been darkened somewhat.  Liam Neeson’s Hannibal never seems to get the ecstatic glee that George Peppard did in the series.  Bradley Cooper’s Face seems a lot more vapidly shallow that Dirk Benedict played him.  Sharlto Copley plays Murdock as cartoon crazy.  It’s sad when you are longing for the subtle touch of Dwight Schultz.

And what can be said about Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s take on BA?  Let’s just say he makes Mr. T seem like a skilled thespian.

Director Joe Carnahan has shown his skill with absurdly over-the-top violence in the truly abhorrent kill fest Smokin’ Aces. The A-Team is a better film than that depressing piece of garbage, but not by all that much.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2010 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: June 11, 2010.

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