Title: The A-Team
Year of Release: 2010
Date Viewed: June 11th, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13
To my memory, I don't believe I had ever seen an episode of the original A-Team television show. From what I gather, the series was mostly fun-hearted and campy despite its association with the action/adventure genre. If that is the case, then fans should expect this new take on the team of four A's as a new spicier flavor of a normally mild brand of entertainment. It's bolder but not necessarily better.
The title faction is comprised of four members of the U.S. army dishonorably discharged after being framed for the theft of a device that creates counterfeit currency and also charged with the death of their leaders who knew of their actions as being part of a covert operation. Our motley crew of heroes break out of federal prison, reform their stable and serve justice with their own signature style; the sleuth skills of Sherlock Holmes and the fearlessness of John Matrix. Purists may have reservations with the idea that a more violent take on the franchise would harm the fun factor but they shouldn't worry. Many of the situations and dialogue are not serious, so it should help please summer movie fans despite how hit-and-miss the humor may be.
The A-Team couldn't have asked for a better cast. Liam Neeson does a good job with any acting assignment. But here he is right at home with the role he is best at. The intelligent leader Hannibal with dangerous skills and an ever darker sense of humor. Joining him is Sharlto Copley as the always lost Murdock, Quinton Jackson doing a dead-on imitation of Mr. T.'s Baracus, and Bradley Cooper looking like he's having the time of his life playing Faceman. The chemistry is immediately there, leading me to believe that the actors had little trouble adjusting to their characters.
Characters are only a fraction of what makes a movie. The other fraction belongs to story and direction. Story is largely ignored. Given the source material and genre, this is easily forgivable. The direction? Ouch. This is where it hurts.
The plot is set up rather sloppy, so much that it took a little extra time to figure out where things were headed. Like I said though, this is forgivable since it's the action scenes that everyone really wants to see.
Good luck "seeing" the action because you're bound to have a devil of a time following it. Shaky cameras galore and countless bullets and explosions firing directly at the screen made this feel like a 2D movie thinking it was a 3D movie and trying way too hard. With so much chaos and over-the-shoulder camera shots during the battle scenes, I wanted to scream "Pan out already! I want to see what's going on!" The frustration was too high and it severely took away some enjoyment from this otherwise acceptable flick.
Because of the rushed look of the production, it's hard for me to give The A-Team a strong recommendation. There might be an audience out there that enjoys buddy-cop flicks enough to ignore its flaws or perhaps not even notice them. Personally, I demand better imagination with presenting exciting scenes instead of copying the Jason Bourne school of action choreography. Even with the Bourne films I sat silent with my jaw dropped instead of screaming at a projector that can't hear me.