Depending upon who you are listening to, the creative energy of Hollywood is completely gone and in many regards one could say they have a point. Remakes, rehashes and reboots infest every corner of the local multiplex and there seems to be no end in sight to the lengths that Hollywood and other entertainment industries seem intent on delivering us this unoriginal content. A lot of times these films attempt to tap into a sense of nostalgia, while attempting to introduce a new generation of viewers to the content. Some fail miserably, like the 2004 re-imagining of Starsky & Hutch, and others like The A-Team fire on all cylinders.
The A-Team is a re-imagining of the classic 1980s television show of the same name and it successfully keeps the tone of the show while also bringing it forward to be captivating for modern audiences. In this theatrical retelling we get a thrilling introduction to the crew as Col. Hannibal Smith (Liam Neeson) assembles the group via a series of unusual circumstances in Mexico and then are advanced eight years during the United States extraction from Iraq where the team has become one of the Army’s greatest assets. Through an elaborate set-up the team is framed for the murder of an army General, arrested, tried and imprisoned. This sets up the plot for the rest of the film as the team is not intent on letting their reputation be sullied.
What happens over the rest of the film is completely insane and a ton of fun. The action is fierce and it is almost always tinged with a high level of humor but if one were to actually sit down and think about the events at play they would find holes that could suck up entire galaxies but the pace of the film never lets the viewer dwell on any development too long. It may be a cheap trick to hide the faults of the story but a film like The A-Team requires a major suspension of belief anyway and ultimately it works for the film.
A major reason the film does work though is because the cast assembled to actually form the team is perfect in almost every respect. Liam Neeson (Col. Hannibal Smith) and Bradley Cooper (Face) deliver solid performances in their classic roles but the real treat for the film comes from the performances delivered by Quinton “Rampage” Jackson as B.A. Baracus, in the iconic role made famous by Mr. T, and Sharlito Copley as the crazy pilot Murdock. To be honest I was expecting Jackson to be an utter train wreck as B.A. but instead he channels Mr. T throughout the film and is overwhelmingly enjoyable. Copley on the other hand proved that his popular turn in last summer’s District 9 was anything but a fluke. Together all four have an amazing chemistry. It’s something that big summer blockbusters often don’t get right but The A-Team accomplishes it with flying colors and it helps to separate the film from the assortment of atrocious remakes and reboots that have been thrust down our throats in recent years.
The film though is not without its faults. Aside from the aforementioned plot issues that are masked by the films lightning fast pace the film suffers from some other more noticeable issues. The biggest issue that could be taken with the film is the highly inconsistent special effects work. At times the effects look decent but often times the explosions suffer from being obvious CG and considering the amount of explosions this film has the shoddy effects make this look like a low budget action thriller instead of the big budget film it was. The other major issue is Jessica Biel. Biel is without a doubt a beautiful woman and at times I’ve felt she is at least a mediocre actress but she has no place in this film. Her relationship with Cooper’s “Face” feels out of place and ultimately her end role in the film could have been filled by anyone. They aren’t huge issues but they do detract somewhat from the overall experience.
A large part of me wants to bash The A-Team for not delivering anything new to viewers and I would feel perfectly justified in doing so but despite its lack of originality, sub-par special effects, and predictable story, The A-Team is a movie that only has the goal of entertaining us for a short period of time. The film is effectively a perfect summer blockbuster and sometimes, everyone needs a little brain candy to unwind. The A-Team is summer brain candy and while I won’t give it much thought a month from now, right now its just what the doctor ordered.
4 out of 5.