Review: The A-Team

Posted June 12th, 2010 at 5:08 am

Other than Iron Man 2 the summer season has been filled with a slew of disappointing releases. Another film that would seem to have the potential to fall into that category arrived this weekend with The A-Team. The first theatrical take on the popular 1980s television series brings together a group of Army Rangers that are framed for murder and theft and set out to clear their names. Surprisingly The A-Team ends up being one of the more fun films to release in what has been a relatively dull season.

I was a fan of The A-Team series growing up but over time my memory of the series has faded. Instead of comparing the film to the series I just hoped that the characters and spirit would carry over and in that regard I think it was a success. I was unsure that the chemistry within the group would be there with these particular actors but they did quite a good job of selling their unique relationships with one another.

Liam Neeson (Hannibal), Bradley Cooper (Face), Sharlto Copley (Murdock), and Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson (B.A. Baracus) comprise the group of rangers that make up The A-Team. They all held their own even Rampage who, while he isn’t going to win any awards for this performance, was surprisingly good and fit in well. Copley was the standout though making me laugh far more than I anticipated I would.

The story was pretty straight forward, with the group’s initial meeting starting off the movie. This part came across as somewhat contrived and convenient in how they all ran across each other and made their escape. After that things seemed to flow a little better in playing out of the missions and their attempt to clear their names and recover the stolen merchandise. There was a distinct underlying respect between the characters that could be sensed even under the banter and pressure of various situations and I really liked that element.

The movie peaks with the concluding action sequence which begins eerily similar to the ending sequence in The Losers but provides a much bigger payoff. The action scenes throughout were fun to watch though I did have trouble following exactly what was happening in a few of them. Still even in those cases the outcomes were rewarding.

My biggest issue with the movie, along with one of my favorite aspects of it, come from two side characters. Jessica Biel simply isn’t believable as Captain Charisa Sosa who attempts to track the group down after they escape from prison and has a history with Face. I didn’t even buy the sparks that were supposed to exist between the two. On the other hand Patrick Wilson is fantastic as Lynch, a CIA agent who deals with the team and would seem to have ulterior motives.

The A-Team was an enjoyable ride propelled by a cast that worked well together and delivered performances true to the spirit of the series but in an updated fashion. A good mix of action and comedy was able to overshadow any minor issues had with the film. This could end up being one of the surprises of a summer that has been short on fun.

Rating: ★★★½☆