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The A-Team

16 June 2010 by Baldy 3 Comments

2010, dir. Joe Carnahan
117 min., Rated PG-13.
Starring: Liam Neeson, Sharlto Copley, Bradley Cooper, Quinton Jackson, Jessica “Damn, I’d hit that” Biel

Review by Baldy

Today we are inundated with remakes, sequels and attempts to draw on the creative efforts of previous generations. To make a film out of something as iconic as the A-Team could just as soon bite you on the ass as endear you to fans.

To Joe Carnahan, I say this: Well done.

The story: In the Middle East, bad guys have stolen engraving plates that are used to print $100 bills. Our guys retrieve the plates. Then, their general is murdered, the plates are stolen, and our heroes are stripped of rank, dishonorably discharged from the Army and sent to separate detention facilities. They escape and set out to find the real perps and clear their names.

Big deal. Who CARES about the plot?

To start with, I’ll tell you that this movie has the basics that we need for a good, balanced breakfast. We have The Van. We have The Cigar. The film still has the banter we love, the insane plans, the wild stunts. Most of all, the film puts us back in the position of trusting and hoping that our heroes will somehow find a way to get out of this pickle.

What does it look like? Summer popcorn movie extraordinaire. Freakin’ HUGE explosions. Thousands of rounds of ammunition expended. Crazy stunts. Helicopter barrel rolls and C-130 chases and flying tanks.

How’s the casting? That’s the one that people wonder about. Okay, here’s the scoop. Liam Neeson does a good job as Hannibal Smith. He’s not remarkable, but he’s believable and delivers the lines well and conveys the attitude in good fashion. Bradley Cooper as Faceman worked better than I’d thought he would. He’s charming and dangerous and a weeee bit vulnerable. . . but still the cocky rogue we all know and love. Quinton Jackson as BA works extremely well. Those are some big boots to fill, after all. From the tattooed PITY on one hand and FOOL on the other, he has the character DOWN. The voice, the character. . . I reluctantly admit that I was impressed.

My biggest praise in casting goes to Sharlto “Sweetie Man” Copley as Howling Mad Murdock. He could have stolen the show, but didn’t. HE NAILED IT. From his Tennessee accent (WTF?!) to speaking Swahili to going South African on us (catfood, anyone?), he moves on to lots of little excesses that remind us that he’s nutty as a fruitcake without making it a crutch for the character.

Jessica Biel’s in it. Anybody could have played her part, but just watching her in this makes me want to go watch Powder Blue just for the nude scenes. She looks gooood. I’m just sayin’.

The plot works well. Strangely, I found myself thinking that the movie ran a little long. It suffered a bit from Return Of The King syndrome in which one feels like it’s ended, only to have another stretch show up. It’s not a bad thing, but the almost two hours seems a bit much for what was written.

Things that ticked me off? Engraving plates left over from Shah Pahlavi’s reign are no good. We’ve changed the design of dollars many times since then. Also, HUGE TRUCKS DO NOT FLIP OVER WHEN THE HIT ANOTHER VEHICLE, OR WHEN TIRES BLOW. Unless they’re moving as an incredibly fast clip AND turning, huge trucks don’t flip in the air. Sorry for ranting, but this kind of oversight or assumption that we don’t know any better just makes me mad.

This film is obviously related to the TV show, but there are some real differences. The violence is more real. There are bad words, enough to get the PG-13 rating (though they don’t hit us over the head with it). The film isn’t as campy as the television show, but that’s to be expected in a full-length film (unless it’s Charlie’s Angels, which sucked). In general, though, fans of the show will recognize and appreciate what was put into the film.

Want to sum it up? I love it when a plan comes together.


  • Baldy (author) said:

    Sad to admit, but I DID buy Powder Blue after seeing this. It’s a moral imperative.

  • amergin said:

    Liam had a lot of fun with this role, and it shows. For that matter, they all did. I <3 Sharlto, but you knew that. I thought he was cheated of some good moments by (probably necessary but still!) editing. And I am thrilled and delighted that the best parts of the movie are NOT in the trailer! Boosh!

  • The commentator said:

    I love A-team but maybe my favorite part about the TV series was just watching Murdock just because I love his craziness.

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