July 4, 2011

Rabid Rewind: The A-Team

The A-Team
starring Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Quentin "Rampage" Jackson, Sharlto Copley, and Jessica Biel
directed by Joe Carnahan
written by Joe Carnahan, Brian Bloom, & Skip Woods
based on the TV series created by Frank Lupo & Stephen J. Cannell
20th Century Fox (2010)

When I was a kid, The A-Team was one of my favorite shows. Watching the big screen remake as a grownup, I see there is no accounting for taste.

I'm not entirely sure why there is such a demand for TV shows of the 70s and 80s to be remade into summer blockbusters, but when I saw Miami Vice and Charlie's Angels exposed as vapid pieces of detritus, I didn't hold any optimism towards The A-Team.

As it turns out, it's as good as the old TV series in terms of story. Take that for what it's worth.

It's an origin story of a ragtag quartet of U.S. Army Rangers framed and imprisoned when a mission goes horribly wrong. From there, they go rogue and attempt to clear their names, while gunning down as many bad guys and blowing up as many things as possible.

The cast works well for the most part, with the exceptions of Liam Neeson and Jessica Biel, each of whom appear out of place and ill-equipped to star in a testosterone-fuelled action movie. Liam Neeson did okay in Taken, but he was always good at playing the tortured soul. Here, he has to play a gung ho alpha-male, once played to a tee by George Peppard, and falls flat. As for Jessica Biel--like Jessica Alba and just about every actress named Jessica--I'm waiting to be impressed.

I didn't see McG's name in the credits anywhere, but I would not be at all surprised to learn he was involved somehow. Things blow up, people get punched, special effects are used to a point of making the movie look like a cartoon, and dialogue is comprised mostly of snappy one-liners.

If you loved the show, you'll at least like the movie. But, I'm not a kid anymore, and I wound up wanting more from this movie. After all, I love it when a plot comes together.


  1. I have never watched the show, but I love every second of the movie. It's proof that when you have solid characters and good writing, who cares about the plot?

  2. >But, I'm not a kid anymore, and I wound up wanting more from this movie. After all, I love it when a plot comes together.

    That was my take, too. It was cute in its way, but it didn't quite work for me. Plus, Mr. T is irreplaceable.

  3. I've been avoiding all of these movies. A-Team, Dukes of Hazzard, Miami Vice, Starsky & Hutch, and Charlies Angles. I'm not even watching the remakes of childhood movies. The new Halloween movies held not interest. Same goes for Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street. I won't even watch the new Karate Kid or Clash of the Titans. I just wish they would leave my childhood alone.

  4. Ben - I agree that solid characters and good writing are key, though this flick missed the mark on one of those.

    Joe - Yeah. Rampage should have just been Rampage.

    Ryan - You're missing nothing by avoiding those films. I should probably stop punishing myself too.