Love or hate the 80’s, it became a pop culture mecca, spitting out one frame of success after another. As a kid, the The A-Team was one of my favorite television shows. I didn’t know anything about melding as a group back then or what good acting or bad acting was. I did know that show had lots of action with some good guys that were framed and they drove around in a really wicked van…with a spoiler! Then, earlier this year, I saw the trailer to…could it be…an A-Team movie?! While a handful of my movie-going compadres poo-poo’d the idea of this film, I said ‘sign me up’ from the get go. Oh, but there is the ever present issue of whom do you cast to match up those older roles. So, how did the casting director do?
Casting director? Give that person a gold medal! Okay, I won’t say it was perfect because it is darn near impossible to replace the persona of Mr. T. However, they did their best with landing UFC fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in the role of B.A. Baracus. Playing the borderline insane Murdock is District 9’s Sharlto Copley (a fantastic pick I might add). Next up is pretty boy character Face, brilliantly helmed by The Hangover’s Bradley Cooper. Last but not least is Hannibal, the leader of the renegade crew played by Liam Neeson from ‘insert movie title here’. How could I forget? I’m leaving one very important key figure out of the equation (and what a figure it is!) as the lovely Ms. Jessica Biel also joins the cast as sometimes Lieutenant/sometimes Captain Charisa Sosa.
The quartet’s coming together is rather quick in the movie, but it works and the comic relief kicks in almost immediately. Don’t get the impression this is some hokey comedy though. The story is solid enough to support the streamlined weight of the film’s flow and even the occasional bouts of not-so-great acting. With that being said, Sharlto Copley tends to dominate the camera lens at times with his bullseye timing. Not only is he a good actor, this guy is also a master of accents while his mannerisms are nothing short of a laugh factory.
As a whole though, the four amigos bond with a fairly tight screen chemistry that is convincing throughout the movie. Jackson barely gets by with his limited acting experience while Cooper always seems to leave those sly grins on the faces of film goers with his performances. Liam Neeson, meanwhile, is convincing as the grizzled veteran leader and strategic planner of the group known as the A-Team. The aforementioned casting seemed to work out pretty well in the end and will surely contribute to the financial success. that the film is due.
Modernizing the old story wasn’t difficult as the script focuses on showing the four Army Rangers as Iraq war veterans. Wrongly accused of an underhanded scheme against the U.S., each member is sentenced to ten years in prison and as you know, each one ‘gets out a little early’. It is Lt. Sosa’s job to track down the clever group of escapees and bring them to justice, or at least what the government thinks is justice for them. Rest assured that there are some key plot twists along the way and between that and the all the action, there is enough to keep audiences on their toes for a good two hours.
Ah, the action! Picture yourself gingerly trying to open a locked door. You turn the knob one way, nothing happens. You turn it the other way, that doesn’t work either. Then someone grabs you by the collar out of nowhere, kicks the door in, and yells “THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT!” while droplets of stray saliva dot your face from their vocal fury. This film is not simply speckled with action sequences, it is an action sequence! From death-defying escapes to ground-shaking explosions, this movie is completely over the top and everything an action film should be. There are very few moments in The A-Team when the pace dips, and when it does, it is not for long. I cannot stress enough just how much fun I had with this movie. It was fast, clever, funny, and filled with enough action to make grandma sit up and take notice. Even the clips after the credits were impressive and smile-inducing. Without a doubt, this one is a Blu-ray buy on day 1 for me. Your subwoofers will get one thumping workout when you pop this disc into your player. But until that day comes, get the heck out of your house and see this one in the theater where it can be enjoyed the most!