The A-Team Gets a Solid Grade

Eric Bourse

In 1983, the TV series, “The A-Team,” premiered and lasted for five seasons. Despite its short run, the show has become an 80s icon and t-shirts featuring catch phrases from the show, such as “I pity the fool” are still popular to this day.

Fast-forward to 2010, director Joe Carnahan’s (“Smokin’ Aces,” 2006) adaptation explodes on the big screen. The film, written by Carnahan and Skip Woods (“X-men Origins: Wolverine,” 2009) stars Liam Neeson (“Clash of the Titans,” 2010) as “Hannibal” Smith, Bradley Cooper (“The Hangover,” 2009) as “Faceman”, Sharlto Copley (“District 9,” 2009) as Murdock and mixed martial arts fighter Quinton Jackson in his first major movie role as B.A. Baracus.

The A-Team has been updated to a successful group of Iraq War soldiers, who agree to a covert mission to recover U.S. Treasury plates from terrorists. They successfully recover the plates but the plan goes horribly wrong when their general, the only person who knew about the mission, is killed and the plates are stolen by a private security firm. The heroes are dishonorably discharged and are sent to prison but escape soon after.

The plot’s twists and turns can be seen a mile away but the film makes up for it with its over-the-top action scenes and non-stop humor. Early on in the film, Murdock pilots the team in an AC-130 aircraft while evading predator drones, non-pilot fighter planes. When the AC-130 has been fatally struck, the team takes refuge in an onboard tank.

The film keeps the outlandish spirit of the TV series when Faceman and Hannibal pilot the falling tank by firing its cannon and direct the tank into a lake. The film keeps its relentless pace with four other major action sequences, all containing ludicrous but entertaining thrills. The biggest downfall in some of the action scenes is the overuse of CGI.

The film’s biggest strength is the interaction of the main characters. Murdock and Baracus have many hilarious moments throughout the whole movie. Copley’s performance as the mentally unstable fighter pilot is by far the best performance in the film. Murdock’s reckless and wild piloting causes Baracus’ phobia of flying early on in the film. In one scene, Murdock tricks Baracus into thinking that they were going on a boat, but when Baracus realizes it’s a plane, Murdock drugs Baracus and he falls flat on his face.

Jackson’s acting is one of the film’s weakest aspects. Some moments feel like Jackson is simply reading his lines as opposed to “acting.” This is a disappointment considering his role is the most iconic from the original series thanks to Mr. T’s campy yet always fun performance.

Overall, the film is an entertaining summer romp. Audiences expecting a fun, dumb and loud film will have a good time thanks to the over-the-top and nonstop action scenes and Copley’s performance as Murdock.

The movie runs 117 minutes and is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence throughout, language and smoking.

The movie gets 3 stars out of 5.