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The A-Team (2010)

A film adaptation of the classic 80s television show.

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"I Love it when a plan comes together." Yeah, so do I. But only if it accumulates to a good movie.

  • Jan 17, 2011
** 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. It could have been the action film to redeem the genre for 2010, since that year was pretty horrible for Action flicks, but instead it's just slightly better than the rest. In fact, when the day is over, "The A-Team" is pretty generic action-fare. I don't think that half of it comes from the fact that I'm not a huge "A-Team" fan; I mean, you don't have to be to have at least a little dumb fun with this modern flick. The problem is that it's actually a pretty shallow movie whether you enjoyed the show its based on or not. There were moments which I really enjoyed, moments which I really wanted to enjoy, and then moments that I regretted wasting my time on. Clocking in at about two full hours, "The A-Team" isn't exactly as entertaining as it wants to be. If it had been a little more ridiculous and a little less contrived, then it probably could have been a little better. As it is, it's bound to charm some members of the audience. It's an action flick and it does its job decently; providing some seriously entertaining action. The problem is that every member of the audience who has seen at least one solid action flick in their life will be able to determine just how down-right mediocre Carnahan's film really is. He could do worse and then he could do better. "The A-Team" fits right in there as another mediocre project of Joe Carnahan, which would have never surprised me and perhaps that's a good thing. The sad thing is that Carnahan knows what he's doing; I just don't like what he's up to. His action scenes are pretty explosive but even that's not enough to color me interested. "The A-Team" is just too darned familiar to truly entertain as it should have. It's stupid fun no doubt, but sometimes it just feels dumb and that's the end of it. Nothing else. Just dumb. And in case you were wondering, that's kind of a bad thing and a good thing in this movie's case. On the bright side, it's fairly entertaining for a good portion of its running time. The casting is good for the most part, the film seems to get the whole "A-Team" vibe going, and it's plenty energetic. And yet it's not good enough. Oh, what a shame that your latest flick couldn't succeed, Joe Carnahan. I wanted to like it, I really did. But you need to try harder next time...much harder.

As with most action films, "The A-Team" has a ludicrous plot that it attempts to follow-up on with a bunch of awesome action scenes. For a lot of the two hours that it lasts, "The A-Team" does have these sorts of action scenes. The best ones are the ones that are just plain crazy (flying a tank, operating a boat-plane), while the other action sequences are surprisingly well-handled but ultimately forgettable. Allow me to provide a little plot synopsis before I get into anything else. So...the A-Team. Who are they? Well, they're a four-man army compressed of John "Hannibal" Smith, Templeton "Face" Peck, Bosco "BA" Baracus, and H.M. "Howling Mad" Murdock. We all know these characters from the beloved TV series, and the actors in the film portray them surprisingly well. Even as stand-alone characters they're surprisingly entertaining to watch, regardless of how shallow they may be. The plot essentially follows The A-Team as they attempt to clear their names after they are framed of a murder. They track down their framer and attempt to smoke his ass, although they're going to need a lot of weapons and a lot of brains first. What you get out of the whole things is a lot of explosions and few signs of true intelligence, but perhaps that's the point. Oh, who am I kidding; that IS the point of Carnahan's "A-Team". It's supposed to be the messy piece of entertainment that it is; the only problem is that I didn't find it to be as ridiculously entertaining as it clearly wants to be. Don't get me wrong; it delivers the consistently actiony goods. The only problem is that half of the action scenes are either generic or not interesting enough to be as prolonged as they are. They're fun for sure, but fun isn't enough when you've got so many flaws at hand. For me, there were too many explosions. Too many gun-fights. And ultimately, too little effort into screen-writing or story-telling. Some will argue that I'm not getting the point of the film when I criticize it for these reasons, but believe me; I understand the bugger. The trouble I had with it was not understanding it, but agreeing with its style. And you know what: I didn't agree with it much. That's why I didn't really like "The A-Team" as a whole. Check it out if you're an action fan, although that's about all I can say for you as it is.

I like the cast. It's the reason why I gave this film a chance in the first place. And you know what; it doesn't look better on paper than it does in the film itself; they're about equal in their awesomeness. The cast nearly nail their individual characters, leaving the supporting cast out in the dust when it comes to getting some glory. Let's state the obvious; Quinton "Rampage" Jackson is no Mr. T. We all know that, and therefore his interpretation is very off at times. With that being said, Mr. Jackson was actually pretty good as BA. I really didn't mind him all that much, although he wasn't exactly a highlight for me. Also, Bradley Cooper hasn't changed a bit. He's still the extremely decent actor that he's always been; self-absorbed but strangely charming and often times quite funny. The real stars of the show seem to be Liam Neeson as Lt. Hannibal Smith and Sharlto Copley as Murdock. These roles I liked because (1.) Liam Neeson kicks ass whenever he tries and I think he nailed the part and (2.) Sharlto Copley is a funny, funny guy. After seeing "District 9", you can't help but laugh at the guy whenever he tries to be funny. It comes off as so-lame-that-it's-funny; no, it's so lame that it's often times hilarious. Murdock was so damn insane! I loved it. But that's about all I loved in this otherwise disjointed action flick. The supporting cast (Patrick Wilson, Jessica Biel) doesn't do the production any justice either. In the end, it's the fearsome four that make it happen.

"The A-Team" offers consistent action for those who go to it for the right reasons. I think we all went for it to have a good time, although many of us will walk out annoyed; possibly even with the feeling of being cheated. I know that I felt that way. "The A-Team" was noisy as hell, and features more genre clichés than I've learned to handle. With that being said, it's exceptionally handled for a generic hell-hole of an action flick, which is plenty admirable but in the end, completely forgettable in terms of effort. I will admit that I had quite a bit of fun with some of the action in this movie. Quite a bit of it was as fun as it wanted to be, while the rest of it was just OK. I had no problem with it, and "The A-Team" is never a true bore, but it's not quite interesting enough to be the piece of genuine genre entertainment that it aims to be. No matter, some will find that it captures the loud, restless spirit of the show perfectly. Perhaps it does. The only thing I can really care about it whether I liked or not and believe me, I wasn't its biggest fan. However, I am in complete support with the fact that this is a rare action film without god-awful editing, ear-splitting audio effects, and any other attributes that could have made "The A-Team" unbearable. But even though it's not the biggest dud out there, I'd say you should steer clear of it. Ponder seeing it if you will; just don't expect any surprises. If the bunny appears out of the hat at all, then it's only for a brief second. And it doesn't count for too much either.

This is another easily forgettable movie that happened to release in the disappointing year of 2010. Sure, disappointments (AKA, Anti-miracles) are made every year in cinema; it's just how things work. I just wish that more action films like "Wanted" and "Crank" happened every year. It's a shame that they simply don't. But I guess "The A-Team" is somewhat forgivable since it does have its entertaining moments; just little artistic merit. It is in fact most of what it wants to be, but some will question if that's really enough. It wasn't enough for me. But it was nearly enough to make me believe that I wasn't watching a piece of genuine mediocrity. WRONG! That's exactly what I was watching those whole two hours. And since it wasn't unwatchable, I neither regret it nor cherish it. Those two hours will never come back, although they were somewhat spent wisely. It was worth it to write this here review on a mediocre movie. It was worth it to see the movie for whatever it was. And it was worth it to see people fly a tank. If only "The A-Team" had the kind of consistently crazy fun that I crave, then maybe it would have worked for me. I know people that like it and for some reason I can't blame them. It works for certain people. Especially action lovers. If you're on of them, check it out. Otherwise, it's a pass. I'm sure there's at least one good 2010 actioner out there somewhere. I'm aching to find it (and yes, it has to be something other than "Kick-Ass" and "Scott Pilgrim"). I want something new. I want something more. I want something crazier. If someone can fulfill my wish, then I will be pleased. As "Hannibal" Smith said himself, "I love it when a plan comes together." Indeed, I do too.

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January 18, 2011
Yeah, I just saw this one myself last week and I pretty much feel the same way. I would give it a 2-2.5/5 at the most...nice review!
January 19, 2011
Yeah. That's about right.
January 17, 2011
I thought this was just stupid fun, of course I am a huge MMA fan so I loved Rampage being in it.
January 18, 2011
Nice. Glad to see that someone enjoyed such messy mayhem.
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 . 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 …
review by . June 11, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
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
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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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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