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The A-Team (2010)

A film adaptation of the classic 80s television show.

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I Pity the Fool Who Made This Movie

  • Jun 11, 2010
There is some semblance of a story in "The A-Team." I seem to recall the team members being framed for a crime they didn't commit, a plot to recapture counterfeit treasury plates, a lot of double crossing, Bradley Cooper trying to rekindle a relationship with Jessica Biel, and scene after scene of escaping and jumping and falling and exploding and running and flying, most of them aided by heavy computer graphics and a very unsteady camera. That's about it. Is this enough to sustain a nearly two hour film? I left the theater feeling as if I had seen a series of images flashing before my eyes, but not as if I had actually been told anything. Strange how you can be shown so much yet find that absolutely nothing is happening. Perhaps I should take comfort in that even nothing can look good on the big screen.

Am I at a disadvantage for not having seen a single episode of the show on which the film is based? This may be a case of me simply not getting it. In my defense, the show premiered five months before I was born and ended six months after my third birthday. Yes, yes, there are always reruns and DVD releases, but too much time has passed, and quite frankly, I no longer have any interest. If I'm to judge "The A-Team," I only have the film adaptation to go on. So if any of you feel I'm ill-prepared to review it, feel free to stop reading and find a review written by a long time fan who understands the material. I for one feel that a movie should in some way appeal to all audiences and not merely fans of its source material. By alienating a sizeable audience, the only thing a filmmaker has achieved is creating an in-joke.

"The A-Team" is an aggressive, meandering, nonsensical flight of fancy so pumped up on testosterone that it practically oozes off the screen. We have a lot of cool things to look at - fireballs, shattering panes of glass, guys getting punched, cars getting smashed, tanks falling from the sky - but we're given very little think about other than the blur of imagery we've just witnessed. Maybe if the film had paused long enough to tell a real story, all this could be forgiven. Alas, director/co-writer Joe Carnahan just keeps on shoving cinematic chaos in our faces, reserving the slower, quieter moments for puzzling character analyses and astonishingly shallow dialogue. What are we to make of B.A. Baracus' claim that he no longer has it in him to kill anyone? Given how silly everything leading up to that moment is, are we really supposed to take that seriously?

I do have to hand it to the actors, though - they all seem to be having a lot of fun. And given the screenplay's shortcomings, they give reasonably decent performances. Liam Neeson is likeably gruff as the cigar-smoking Col. Hannibal Smith, Bradley Cooper is delightfully arrogant as the womanizing Faceman Peck, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson is amusing as the imposing (and aerophobic) B.A. Baracus, and Sharlto Copley is memorable as the certifiably insane Howling Mad Murdock. I wasn't too impressed with Jessica Biel, however, as Capt. Charisa Sosa, who apparently is Peck's ex-girlfriend; it's not that the performance was bad, but the character certainly was unnecessary. It didn't help that her role in the ever-twisting scheme to reclaim the stolen money plates becomes more and more difficult to define.

And then there's Patrick Wilson as Col. Lynch, a man so sniveling and cocky he should hated just on general principles. He too wants to get his hands on the money plates. So does the equally loathsome Pike (Brian Bloom), who I think had something to do with the A-Team being wrongly accused and may be trying to sell the plates through an Arab backer. In order to get back at these two, the A-Team must concoct a number of elaborate escape attempts. The most interesting involved Murdock, committed to an insane asylum in Germany; he has the patients put on 3-D glasses and watch a projected film (which one I dare not reveal), and wouldn't you know it, an actual tank bursts through the wall just as a tank in the film comes directly at the camera. At this point, I found myself wondering why the filmmakers didn't bother releasing this film in 3-D, since that seems to be the trend nowadays.

There are probably legions of fans out there that will watch this film and scrutinize every detail, specifically in how faithful it is to the TV series. If you happen to be a part of it, and if you think I'm a killjoy who doesn't know what he's talking about, please note that I admitted this right at the start. If you're a fan, chances are you will enjoy "The A-Team." If you're like me and you grew up on other TV shows, you may find yourself at a loss to account for what's going on and why. This is a loud, goofy, visually assaultive action extravaganza, one that makes no real attempt at a plot other than going from one inane stunt to the next. "I love it when a plan comes together," says Hannibal near the beginning of the film. I love it when a plan comes together, too. If only that had happened in this movie.

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January 17, 2011
Nice review, Chris, I just saw this the other night, and as a kid I was a small fan of the TV series and maybe I have just outgrown it. I wrote a review but I need to to think of another headline since you got the cool one LOL!
More The A-Team (2010) reviews
review by . January 24, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
2 ½ Stars: I Pity The Fools Who Made This Film Close But No
The 80’s TV show called “The A-Team” was a product of that generation. Sure, it was cheesy, sure it was campy at times and sure it often feels like a team of “MacGyvers” who can build things to get out of a situation, I also never saw them ‘kill’ in the TV series. Well, I am sure this was a long time coming, so now the TV series gets a ‘face-lift’. 2010’s “The A-Team” is meaner, louder and has a plot that seemed inspired by …
review by . January 17, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
** out of ****     I'm not the biggest fan of "The A-Team" and I'm not the biggest fan of director Joe Carnahan; which probably accumulates to some sort of explanation to why I was never expecting the big-screen adaptation of everyone's favorite "dumb fun" action Television series to be anything amazing. And what do you know: it ends up being exactly as I expected. Carnahan's "The A-Team" is a noisy action flick; an explosion filled thrill-ride that's all guns and no muscle. …
review by . December 12, 2010
I didn't see that many good films in 2010. In fact, the only other two good ones that I saw besides this are Scott Pilgrim and Inception. I saw this with my oldest brother on his birthday, and I was one of three females in the theatre, and definitely the only one who looked like I was enjoying myself. I definitely was, because The A-Team was a really fun movie.      The purpose of all movies is not just to educate. Some are made to entertain, like the likes of this and Prince …
review by . June 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
For better and for worse
"The A-Team"(1983-1987) was one of televisions most popular shows  for its time  it told the story of  three  Vietnam soldiers; Col. John " Hannibal" Smith, Lt. Templeton  "Faceman" Peck,  Sergeant Bosco " B.A." Baracus  who during the  last days of  the  war are tasked by there commanding officer Col. Morrison  with robbing a bank in Hanoi They succeeded in their mission, but on returning to their base …
review by . February 03, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
      THE A TEAM      When this film was first announced I was really excited for it because one of my favorite Mixed Martial artists Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson would star in it. Of course you know I had tog o see it and own it when it was released on DVD and Blu Ray. So here we are and I am finally going to review it, something I should have done a while back. Still better late than never I always say, or is that some one else's saying, anyway.   …
Quick Tip by . February 03, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
The film is just straight up fun, nothing more nothing less, if you try to turn on the brain you may disappointed. Everything in this movie goes bang and everything is pure dumb fun. I knew this going in luckily so I had a great time watching it. Not to mention that mixed martial artist Quinton "Rampage" Jackson plays BA, love it.
review by . June 14, 2010
I Pity the Fool who doesn't like The A-Team!
TV Show Adaptations have been the theatrical kiss of death for a long time now. Not because the idea of taking an old beloved television series and modernizing it in a feature film isn't a plausible idea, but because the studios almost always drop the ball. Most of the time, they play the revival for comic effect instead of nostalgic revival, like The Dukes of Hazard, Starsky and Hutch and Charlie's Angels. When they occasionally do take the update …
review by . June 16, 2010
I'd like to pretend, being a child of the 80s, that I have great and fond memories of the TV series The A-Team. I'd like to, but, well, I can't because I don't. I dimly remember seeing a couple episodes at my uncle Scott's house, and I certainly remember the merchandising bonanza centered around it, but I don't really remember being all that into the show. Perhaps because when you get down to it, it's pretty forgettable.    Speaking of forgettable things, let's talk about the …
Quick Tip by . June 21, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Dull, stupid, cliche and quite frankly boring on many levels Joe Carnahan's "The A-Team" is as convoluted as it is childish it ceases to amaze with its constant action and lack of direction leave little room for you to really enjoy or be entertained by this over stylized shoot'em up/ revenge film.
Quick Tip by . June 17, 2010
An excellent adaptation of the classic TV show that manages to modernize and update while retaining the charm of the original, from the man that brought us Smokin' Aces. Don't you love it when a plan comes together?
About the reviewer
Chris Pandolfi ()
Ranked #5
Growing up a shy kid in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, Chris Pandolfi knows all about the imagination. Pretend games were always the most fun for him, especially on the school playground; he and his … more
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About this movie


Give it up to the A-Team: they've always been good at demolishing things in big, big ways. Freed from the confines of the 1980s TV series, the 2010 blockbuster movie version allows the four members of the paramilitary squad to really amp up the mayhem to newly crazed heights. Liam Neeson plays team leader Hannibal Smith (inheriting the cigar-chomping from the show's George Peppard), and pro wrestler Quinton "Rampage" Jackson is "B.A." Baracus, the TV show's most iconic character (insert Mr. T "I pity the fool" joke here). As the vain Face, Bradley Cooper preens in convincing fashion, andDistrict 9out-of-nowhere star Sharlto Copley plays the unhinged pilot "Howlin' Mad" Murdock. These boys are on the trail of some money-counterfeiting plates, from Bagdad to Germany to places in between. It would be understating it to say that the plot is not of primary importance, although Patrick Wilson has some fun as a CIA official and Jessica Biel occasionally strikes poses as Face's ex-flame, now a military officer displeased with the A-Team's extra-legal shenanigans. The storytelling ...
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Director: Joe Carnahan
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: June 11. 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Joe Carnahan, Brian Bloom
Runtime: 118 minutes, extended cut: 134 minutes
Studio: Dune Entertainment
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