By William Johnson
The 2010 film remake of the 1980’s action adventure television series features an ensemble of stars direct by Joe Carnahan (Smoking Aces).
The film is about four Iraq War veterans and Special Forces servicemen who are attempting to prove their innocence after being framed for a crime they didn’t commit. After escaping from military prison, the men must chase down the real culprits in order to clear their names.
This film feels like Carnhan’s last movie, Smoking Ace, an adrenaline injected thrill ride with little attention to detail. This isn’t the type of film that will leave you pondering over cliffhangers or unexplained plot twists. The A Team is pretty frank in it’s delivery, as if offers no illusions of grandeur of deeper meaning. That being said, this is a classic summer action movie.
Liam Neeson (Taken) and Bradley Cooper (The Hangover) both offer their usual on screen personas. Cooper is, of course, cast as a smooth talking ladies man with a sense of humor, while Neeson retreats to his usual wise, father figure role. The two characters, John “Hannibal” Smith and Templeton “Face” Peck, are portrayed believably by the Neeson and Cooper.
The role of Mr. T’s character, B.A., was filled by UFC mixed martial artist Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (The Ultimate Fighter). Rampage took some time out of the ring to prepare and film this movie. He made headlines by losing his first fight after the movie to rival Rashad Evans. Jackson provides what seems to be a caricature of the original B.A. His actions sequences are well choreographed, and he provides the comic relief needed in such an action oriented movie. Where he seems to fall short on the screen is in dialogue. His lines felt rushed and jumbled at times when his character was actually required to speak.
South African Sharlto Copley (District 9) delivers an unremarkable performance as the team’s aviation specialist H.M. Murdock. His character normally serves as the get away driver and saving grace of the team with little involvement with action of the plan.
This film uses all of the original catchphrases from Hannibal’s “I love it when a plan comes together”, to Mr. T’s, “ I ain’t getting on no plane” and “You’re crazy fool!”. B.A.’s fear of flying is used prominently, along with a nod to the classic GMC van he used to drive.
Those going to see this film should expect a montage of gunshots and things blowing up, along with a few laughs. The main problem isn’t with the movie, which achieved what it set out for. The vehicle on which the movie is based, the original series, is shallow. For those who are fans of the original series and are feeling a bit of nostalgia or just want an action oriented movie experience, I recommend the movie. However, in what feels like a two hour long episode of the classic, some viewers may get annoyed with seeing the team in the same type of predicaments, only to be saved in the same formulaic fashion.