FlixChatter Review: The A-Team

I originally wanted to post this as my weekend roundup, but haven’t got around to finishing it. Anyway, last weekend was a busy one but I managed to watch two movies that couldn’t be more different from each other: the action-packed The A-Team and Rob Marshall’s musical NINE (review forthcoming). Well in a way they have something in common, neither of them are ‘great’ movies by any means, but you know what, I quite enjoyed both and they met my expectations to some degree.

I was expecting a bombastic, loud, popcorn blockbuster and I got exactly what I asked for, nothing more, nothing less. I went in to see the movie for pure nostalgia sake as I watched the TV show as a youngster and the trailer just looked so darn entertaining. Now, the trailer is still far better than the movie, as is often the case, but fortunately the movie captured the whimsical and jovial spirit of the TV show. Every time the theme song comes on, I instinctively start grinning ear to ear.

The A-Team is a nickname for Operational Detachments Alpha (ODA), which they used to be a part of, but these four guys are now on the run from the military for being accused of a war crime they didn’t commit. The movie is an origins story of sort, as it shows how Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith finds the other three to form his team of four bad-asses. Each of the story is pretty amusing, but my favorite part is when he found Murdock in the mental institution.

The original A-Team: Dirk Benedict, George Peppard, Dwight Schultz, and Mr. T

Which brings me to the excellent casting. Each actor did their best in the role and work well together, which is key to the whole ensemble. I do agree with Novroz’s review that UFC champion Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson as B.A. is probably the weakest of the four, but then again the highly charismatic Mr. T really was a tough act to follow. But even so, he’s actually pretty good. It’s nice to see Liam Neeson having fun in the role of Hannibal, he takes it more than simply impersonating George Peppard with his cigar smoking smugness. I guess since his last actioner Taken, Neeson now adds ‘bonafide action star’ to his stellar resume.

Pretty boy Bradley Cooper fits the bill as the wise-cracking ladiesman Face, though he’s borderline afflicted with a Matthew McConaughey syndrome with his tendency to take his shirt off! I’ve talked about Quinton, now last but not least, Sharlto Copley‘s fantastic performance as the mischief maker Murdock. I initially frown that he chose this movie as his post District 9 role, but you know what, I’m glad he did. He’s the perfect comic relief and steals every scene he’s in. He’s proven to be quite a versatile actor and obviously has a knack for physical comedy.

This blinking contest leave Jessica & Bradley breathless

Besides the cast, all the movie is about is action, action, and more action. From start to finish, the fast pace hardly ever let up and we’re served with one overblown, logic-defying sequence after another. Director Joe Carnahan never takes the time to explain anything, so the plot always takes a back seat over the explosions and gunfights. It’s kind of mind-numbing after a while, but to complain that there’s too much action here is like going to a buffet and grumbles there’s too much food. The ending is shamelessly set up for a sequel with Jon Hamm in an uncredited role. It leaves the audience wondering who’s this Lynch character, the fishy CIA agent initially played by Patrick Wilson. Oh, Jessica Biel also stars as the lone female character in the testosterone-heavy flick. I’ve never been impressed by her acting but she doesn’t have to do much here than to appear breathless opposite hunky Mr. Cooper.

In any case, despite its flaws and absurdity, it was fun to switch off Saturday afternoon and just enjoy the brainless thrill ride.

28 thoughts on “FlixChatter Review: The A-Team

  1. I’ll be the 1st one to comment here 😉

    I know that compare to other movies, this is simply a enjoyable movie…not a great one. But I think it is a great movie in term of remake movie, considering how Hollywood often screw up good series/ good Asian movies in their remake.

    I’m so glad they stick to the orginal version of The A Team. You’ve read in my post how I hate Mission Impossible with it’s one man show. Maybe as a movie MI is better than A Team, but as a remake it’s sucks. It makes fans like me dissapointed. It entertains people who (maybe) never watched the series before.

    I wonder what happen to Mr.T now?

    1. Hi Nov, yes I agree that they stayed true to the tv show and make it about the team instead of a one man show. I love how everyone has a great rapport with each other and nobody tries to outshine each other.

      Who knows where Mr. T is now, I wonder how the original cast feel about this movie adaptation. Btw, right after the movie, we watched the trailer of the original and it brought back memories of how fun it was watching it.

  2. I’m hoping that Copley has a longer career in Hollywood ahead of him. His work in District 9 was Oscar-worthy in my eyes and even in this he stood out. Really hoping to see more of hits talents put forth because there is a quality to him that is very engaging to watch.

    1. Hear, hear Luke! I was so impressed by Copley’s performance in D-9 I dedicated a whole post on him after I saw it, have you read it yet? Anyway, he’s a pretty charismatic guy on screen, and held his own among Award-winner like Liam Neeson. Plus he’s a natural comic which makes him great in comedies, but I think he’s more versatile than staying in one genre. I do hope the D-9 sequel/prequel is pretty decent.

      1. No I did not see that! I will have to check it out. He definitely does have a charisma to him and naturally fits well on the screen.

        I’m worried for a D-9 sequel/prequel, but am hoping, just hoping for the best.

        1. Here’s the link: http://wp.me/pxXPC-ej, it ended up on IMDb Hitlist at the time too, which is very exciting. If you like Sharlto here, you’ll be blown away by his performance in D-9. As for the follow-up, they definitely have huge shoes to fill!

  3. I’m glad to hear it isn’t all bad, even if it isn’t single-handedly turning the tide of disappointing summer films. On the upside, July is gonna rock (at least in Ireland – Inception, Toy Story 3, Predators).

    1. It’s not a GREAT movie but it’s fun and entertaining, which is pretty much what you expect from a Summer actioner. I just saw Toy Story 3 this weekend, it’s absolutely awesome Darren! And yes, Inception will ROCK come July, I don’t think I’ve anticipated a movie as much as that one in a while!

      P.S. Didn’t know you’re in Ireland, cool! I was in the UK just last month but didn’t make it to Ireland or Scotland… but it’s always been a dream of mine to go there!

  4. Yeah I want to know what they think too…I thought one of them is going to a cameo or something…but they didn’t.

    Ah yes it was such a fun days…don’t expect to see any US TV series anymore in our localTV, sinetrons are everywhere 😦

    1. Yeah, that’d be cool to have Mr. T do a cameo for sure!

      That’s too bad, Nov, so it’s kinda like reality tv crap here in the US, but sinetrons are horrible!! I think I’ve only watched a couple back then, the acting is soooo wooden, dialog so trite and it’s basically just full of good looking models who are just hired for their looks. Pity 😦

      1. So pitiful 😦 I have to buy lots of DVD so that I can enjoy my day. Nothing good to watch on TV anymore.

        Btw, I’ve just linking a video from youtube…wow lots of people actually hate this movie! I hope I’m not the only who love it 😉

        1. Well at least there are some super cheap dvds there 😉 Oh well people can have their opinions on something that’s up to them. I think it’s a fun movie, but they’re not trying to be a masterpiece, y’know.

          1. Haha yes! Thank you for bajakan 😉 I can watch all the non-action movie from cheap DVD.

            Totally agree with you! It’s not a masterpiece (tho I think it’s the best remake I have ever seen done by Hollywood) but it is very fun to watch.

  5. Mike B.

    This awesome weather’s kept me from seeing this one. Even the GF is up for some A-Team. Gotta love action + stupid humor!

    1. Well if that’s what you expect, you won’t be disappointed. Plus your GF will likely appreciate Bradley Cooper’s, sheesh that dude must’ve spent 10 hours at the gym 7 days a week!!

  6. I love how they stole the font of my blog for their poster :))

    By the way, the only reason for me to watch this movie is Bradley Cooper and I’m not ashamed to admit it :)))

      1. y’a know me :)) PS, Flixy, I’d love to see your comment on my DIRTY DOZEN BLOGFEST list of my favourite movies over at HOLLYWOOD SPY, since we often have the same taste for some wonderful little movies 🙂

    1. Did you end up seeing District 9, Becky? I forgot if you did or not. But yeah, Copley is great and funny as heck here, LOVE him!

      1. PrairieGirl

        No, don’t think District 9 is my kind of movie, but your praise of him in both is starting to make me curious to see him perform, so even though I’m not totally excited about the A-Team it sounds like a good film to see him in.

  7. Glad to see that, at least, it is what it is supposed to be: a brainless, entertaining summer “blockbuster” — it flopped at the box office so can it really be a blockbuster 🙂 I will wait for it in DVD!

    1. Yeah I suppose not, they’ve only raked up half of their budget so far. So it’s just popcorn summer flick, not blockbuster 🙂

  8. This is out of topic…but not sure where to ask but here.

    Your trivia on Inception is already on Leo…did I miss my Cillian Murphy trivia? I always read interesting trivia and want to know what you write on Cillian.

  9. Sorry I’m late in reading this one, it hinges back to my rule of not reading before I write my own review.

    I’m puzzled that you found the trailer better than the final movie, since I was the opposite. As I mentioned in my podcast (didja listen?), I found that a lot of the stupidity we saw in the trailer seemed a lot funnier in context.

    1. Hi Hatter, no sorry I haven’t been able to keep up with your podcasts lately. Well I find the trailer much more fun because it just is, as is often the case with movies as they jam the best parts in that 2 minute or whatever. I still think the ‘stupidity’ in the trailer is still brainless in the movie (i.e. Face firing machine guns from a floating tank, come on!), but it’s brainless fun all the way through. I was hoping to see hear the whistle of the A-Team team song as B.A. was window washing a skyscraper, I keep rewinding that part over and over from the trailer. Heh, I’m such a geek! 🙂

  10. I agree about switching off your brain, but the bummer about it is that Joe Carnahan is a real thinking man’s director and I’m sure he put a lot of thought into everthing he was doing.

    I mean, this was definitely more cerebral than Shoot ’em Up or The Transporter, but was lacking the kind of thinking man’s edge that you’d find in… The Fugitive? (Bad example maybe?) And maybe that’s too bad, because from what I’ve read in interviews, Carnahan was hoping people would see “more” in it.

    Honestly though, the movie no longer bleongs to the director by the time it reaches screens. If it entertains, is that really a problem?

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