Movie Review: The A-Team (2010)

August 3, 2010 in Movie Reviews by pacejmiller

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t know much about the 80s series The A-Team upon which the new film of the same name was based.  I was familiar with Mr T, and my old boss had once referred to our particular team for a large legal transaction as “the A-Team” (apart from me, there were two other lawyers — one was a sexual deviant and the other was nicknamed “Freakshow” for his horrible BO, saliva spraying, flaky dandruff, and body hairs poking out of missed button holes), but that was the extent of my knowledge.

This new “A-Team” features Liam Neeson (how can you not like a guy who played Oscar Schindler, Qui-Gon Jinn and kicked serious butt in Taken?) as their leader “Hannibal”, rising star Bradley Cooper (The Hangover) as the slick “Face”, Sharlto Copley (District 9) as “Howling Mad” Murdoch, and MMA fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson as BA Baracus (the new Mr T).  These four dudes somehow come together and become extremely close (in condensed off-screen time), blowing things up and making wisecracks while they save the world from corrupt government officials and counterfeit money plates.

The A-Team is what it is.  An all-out, over-the-top action movie with a bunch of cool, wacky guys, a few rather tame/lame jokes, a couple of twists and turns in the plot, and lots and lots of explosions.  It starts with a bang and never lets the foot off the pedal.  Fun and exciting?  For the most part.  Engaging and riveting?  Not exactly.  As far as action movies go, I suppose it could have been a lot worse, but this was definitely no classic.  However, if you just want a couple of hours of light entertainment, The A-Team is actually quite up to the task.

Since I don’t know about the original there’s nothing to compare them to, but I think the chemistry is largely there for this crew.  I would say Jackson, not being a career actor and all, was the weakest link of the foursome.  He just looks uncomfortable out there churning out those lines.

To me, it was the villains that stole the show.  Patrick Wilson (super underrated actor) gets a pretty meaty role as a nasty but inept CIA Agent and seems to really enjoy being a douche, whereas Brian Bloom (I’ve seen him in Dollhouse and a bunch of other TV shows) unexpectedly excels as the evil private security dude.

On the other hand, Jessica Biel received a rather thankless role as the helpless agent on the side slash love-interest.  She was looking slim and pretty but that was about it.

Considering the “average” reception of the film at the box office, whether a sequel will be forthcoming remains to be seen.  In some ways The A-Team failed to live up to expectations because of the popularity of the original TV series, but in other ways it exceeded expectations because most people thought it would be complete trash (but it’s not).  Keep your expectations in check and go along for the ride.

3 stars out of 5