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Overall Rating

Awesome: 3.77%
Worth A Look49.06%
Average: 16.98%
Pretty Bad: 26.42%
Total Crap: 3.77%

6 reviews, 17 user ratings

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A-Team, The
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by Jay Seaver

"B.A. Begins"
4 stars

People have been trying to make a movie from "The A-Team" for a long time. You can tell just from the opening credits, which has a long list of producers and production companies that worked on the picture at one point,and though the movie wasn't made on their watch, they still maintain some small interest that merits a courtesy credit. What's surprising is that it doesn't feel like a cobbled-together mess, in part because Joe Carnahan and company follow the relaunch playbook.

That playbook was written with Batman Begins, applied to James Bond in Casino Royale, and tested with Star Trek. It's pretty simple: Put together a good cast, keep the good stuff, jettison the stuff that makes for easy parody, and give the audience a previously untold first chapter. The first part: Check. They come close to going overboard on the last one. It's the middle two that are tricky, because a large part of the appeal of the original TV show was arguably its campiness. How do you reconcile that?

Here, it's by substituting movie-crazy for TV-crazy. As Jessica Biel's character tells us, "they are the best, and they specialize in the ridiculous"; so we get set pieces way beyond the budget of a 1980s television show but with the same insane abandon, including a couple of bits of insane aerial action (to go with the team's insane pilot) that Stephen J. Cannell couldn't have dreamed of dreaming of. The end result is a movie that, despite its sometimes convoluted plotline, is almost never grim. Impossible, oh, absolutely, but it's a different kind of absurdity, one to be marveled at rather than scoffed at.

The other part of what is fondly remembered about the original <I>A-Team</I> was the larger-than-life personalities of the characters, and the cast generally gets that about 75% right, too. Liam Neeson is the one who arguably falls short; he's given plenty of George Peppard lines to parrot but isn't quite right for the role, as he can't not be intense, even when the movie calls for him to be laid-back and self-assured in his tactical genius. Bradley Cooper, on the other hand, fits into the role of cocky "Face" Peck like a glove; he's the guy who bets that he really is that good-looking and clever, and is just able to cover it. Shorlto Copley gets to do broad comedy as "Howling Mad" Murdock, and kills; he really does an amazing job of going just as far as he can but not an inch farther. And Quinton Jackson does an excellent job in a role that puts a massive bullseye on his back; "B.A." Baracus was basically putting Mr. T in a TV series as-is, but Jackson makes him funny, badass, and kind of lovable without doing an impersonation.

Is the movie perfect? Not really. It's a little too much an origin story - the main plotline is the outlaw team's genesis, and the opening gambit is the prelude to that - without the "helping underdogs against bullies" core. The villains are generic (the scummy independent military contractor is sadly becoming a boring cliché despite the truth to it), and supporting actors Gerald McRaney and Jessica Biel are underused. Ideally, the finale would have been constructed to play to each team member's strengths, but it's big and bonkers enough to more or less make up for it.

But, you know, it could have been a lot worse. This could have been a snarky parody or had the life sucked out of it. Instead, it's the big-budget twenty-first century version of the original: Action-packed, earnest, lightweight, but fun while you watch it.

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originally posted: 06/18/10 14:50:35
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User Comments

12/17/18 Ajpwales Awful movie. I hate it. 1 stars
9/13/17 morris campbell silly but energetic & fun 4 stars
11/05/15 David Hollingsworth Just see it for Bradley Cooper 2 stars
8/24/14 Charles Tatum Mediocre reboot of an awful TV show 3 stars
3/22/11 KingNeutron Very silly, but enjoyable - and pretty much true to the Original Show 4 stars
1/05/11 millersxing A whole heap of crazy-quilt ideas...written by the B-team. 4 stars
1/02/11 mr.mike Muddled , but funny and faithful to the series. 4 stars
12/20/10 action movie fan potentially godd but way too much comedy and sillyness to make it truly effective 3 stars
8/03/10 Arcane Hell Ya!!! Entertainment all the way! 5 stars
7/24/10 bagwell5 An entertaining summer film. Unrealistic, but so was the show. Good performances as well 4 stars
7/08/10 damalc this is what i want from a summer action movie 4 stars
6/22/10 R.W. Welch Overdone. 3 stars
6/22/10 christy spires This movie was worth $10 dollars to see in the theater!! action packed awesomeness!! 5 stars
6/14/10 David A. Hannibal and BA kick ass; Murdock's funny but not cool like he was in the tv show. 4 stars
6/13/10 Vlad the Criticizer Well, at least we agree it was DUMB 1 stars
6/13/10 Impossible Man Dumb yet fun!!! 4 stars
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  11-Jun-2010 (PG-13)
  DVD: 14-Dec-2010

  30-Jul-2010 (12A)

  10-Jun-2010 (M)
  DVD: 14-Dec-2010

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