I was never a fan of the original ’80’s television series of “The A-Team” but when I heard that they were making a movie based of the hit television series, my interest was piqued. When I heard that the movie was going to be a “summer blockbuster” and star one of my favorite actors, Liam Neeson, I pretty much told myself I’d see the movie no matter what type of reviews it was getting.
Joe Carnahan (Narc, Smokin’ Aces) was hired to direct the film, and in my opinion, he doesn’t disappoint. If you’ve seen Narc or Smokin’ Aces, you know that Carnahan can direct some action while making it a point to showcase his actors. He somehow gets Liam Neeson (Chloe, Taken, Schindler’s List) to go along in the movie reprising the role of Hannibal Smith. The movie also stars Bradley Cooper (The Hangover) in his first big action film as Face, Sharlto Copley (District 9) as Murdock, and Quinten “Rampage” Jackson (it’s his first movie, he’s a UFC fighter) as B.A. Baracus. It really is a standout cast that is perfectly cast.
The A-Team starts out with our four heroes all stuck in Mexico for one reason or another wanting to get back to the United States. Hannibal and Face go way back but B.A. and Murdock are brand new to the team. After escaping Mexico, eight years later we see them in Iraq as the United States best team of covert operatives. As the U.S. is pulling troops out of Iraq the team is approached about doing one last mission in the country to recover some stolen money imprinting plates that were stolen years ago by Sadam Hussien’s regime. As they recover the plates, they are set up by a para-military faction, Black Forest (think Black Water), wanting the imprinting plates for themselves. The only person who had knowledge of the covert operation is killed by Black Forest, which makes it look like Hannibal’s team did it. The four of them are soon arrested by the military and sent to prison for the murder of of their commanding officer.
Patrick Wilson plays CIA operative, Lynch, who knows the backstory to the “A-Team” and helps them escape from prison so they can clear their names, but he’s not everything he seems to be. He really does do a fantastic job in the role, and his first “villain” appearance since he starred opposite Ellen Page in Hard Candy. Jessica Biel also stars in the film as Capt. Sosa who is put in charge of tracking down the A-Team and bringing them to justice. Her role is pretty limited although she gets ample screen time. I was disappointed that Carnahan limited her to very simple dialogue, Biel can act and I was hoping they might realize that and give her a more dynamic part.
The A-Team doesn’t let up on the action with a few rather unbelievable scenes (parachuting tank, helicopter chase in Mexico) but in all, it’s a nice change of pace for Neeson and Cooper who haven’t done a movie like this in either years or ever. Neeson is the true star of the movie but Cooper holds his own next to him and the two compliment each other well. Jackson in his first role ever shows good instinct and makes his role believable in its own right. Copely is the only one that I thought was out of place. He was amazing in District 9 (his latest movie) but here he’s relegated to a role that essentially “dumbs down” his acting presence.
All in all, the movie is pretty good. It never takes itself too seriously while bringing the action non-stop. Carnahan can add another notch to his belt to where he’s brought larger than life action to the big screen while not sacrificing good acting. Can you say sequel?