With the end of another week, we get a new movie release. The movie I treated myself to today is the big screen remake of the hit TV series The A-Team. On the surface, this film looked like it would be three different shades of terrible (or Charles Barkley turbl, if you will), but I was still curious enough to give it a look just to see exactly how it was. The movie stars Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Sharlto Copley in his second major movie role, MMA fighter Quintin “Rampage” Jackson in his first motion picture role, Jessica Biel, Patrick Wilson, and Brian Bloom. I walked into this movie with even less expectations as I had with Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, so I didn’t really expect to be entertained.
The movie starts ostentatiously enough in Mexico, where we meet the primary cast of characters doing what they do best. We’re first greeted by John “Hannibal” Smith (Liam Neeson) as he escapes a couple of crooked federales. We then meet Bosco Albert “B.A.” Baracus (Quintin “Rampage” Jackson) getting the jump on a few car strippers and getting his van back. Next person we see is Templeton “Faceman” Peck (Bradley Cooper) getting beat and possibly killed for sleeping with a corrupt Mexican General’s wife. Finally, we’re introduced to H. M. “Howling Mad” Murdock (Sharlto Copley) who is…well…nuts. Their primary goal in life is to escape the enraged General and return to the U.S. How they do that is a story best left for the screen. And, this is before the main story even begins. In this movie, we are shown how they got together and how they got blacklisted by the government. Needless to say, this is where the movie really begins. Agents are discovered, seeds are planted, and there are action set pieces aplenty.
I have a confession to make: I am a Liam Neeson fan. How can you not be? This man has played characters who singlehandedly trained Obi-Wan Kenobi and Batman. On top of that, he’s played a character who went to the ends of the earth to save his daughter. That’s admirable right there. Liam Neeson looked the part of Hannibal Smith, and he acted the part as well. He was the cool, calm leader of the group, but he wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, either. This is the clear cut sign of a good leader. That being said, I really shouldn’t be surprised; after all, he was Ra’s Al Ghul.
Bradley Cooper’s been busy. The guy who played the jerk of a fiancé in Wedding Crashers and the irresponsible married man in The Hangover decided to try his wares as Faceman. Needless to say, he was just narcissistic enough to pull it off. He was funny and witty, and he had an electric charm with Jessica Biel’s character. As far as Jessica Biel’s character is concerned, she plays Captain Charisa Sosa as a highly capable officer, but she has a history with Faceman that isn’t quite resolved as the movie ends. That’s okay, though; it could be worse.
As much as it pains me to say this – primarily because he could kill me with a bodyslam, I was really concerned with Rampage Jackson playing the iconic B.A. Baracus. After all, you can’t duplicate Mr. T. I’m glad to say that it wasn’t that bad. Some of his parts are a little weird (you won’t do WHAT?!), but I’m not too mad at it, either. I’ve seen worse debuts. I will say this for him: he knows how to put a beat down on some people. He’s an MMA fighter, so I would expect nothing less.
The last we saw of Sharlto Copley, he was turning into an alien in District 9 – a movie that I just cannot watch ever again. I reviewed it a while back; read it and see why. Anyway, his Murdock is fittingly howling mad. This guy is quite literally certifiable. I mean, who hotwires an ambulance with a defibrillator?! The parts where he loses control and just goes wild are the best parts of the movie, as he had everyone in the theater in stitches. Whenever he was onscreen, good things happened.
Movies like this need to have an antagonist, but this one had the fortune of having two. Patrick Wilson plays a CIA operative simply named Lynch and Brian Bloom plays a mercenary named Pike. Both characters are smugly evil, but Lynch hams it up a bit whereas Pike revels in it. There is a particular exchange between these two that is very interesting, to say the least. These two are a dynamic duo I’d rather not see in a dark alley.
The movie is directed by Joe Carnahan, and he has excellent pacing in this film. The action and comedy are spliced together quite nicely, and the scenes of exposition are also pretty well done. The third act seems a little forced at times, but it works. The great Alan Silvestri did the score, and you definitely get a flair of the old theme in there. I will admit, it was a welcome addition to the film.
Like I mentioned at the beginning, I didn’t really expect a whole lot out of this movie. If it was good, I would be happy, and I wouldn’t have been too disappointed if it were bad. Suffice it to say, I was really entertained. I laughed at the funny parts, and I didn’t gag at the horrible ones. It was a real treat to just check my brain in at the door and watch four goofballs try to fly a tank. I’ll rate this one four dragon heads out of five, and it is definitely a worthy viewing. After all…