Making a revival of an old syndicated TV show rarely works in this day and age. Even with the improvements and advancements made to today's technology, a remake, at least in my case, has a difficult time capturing the essence and excitement felt when we first watched said particular show as kids, opting to modernize and change the setup to reflect modern times. I'm usually one to shy away and turn a blind eye to these concerns, but that pessimistic bump still persists in my shoulders every once in a while.
Fortunately, those who made the new A-Team flick had a plan, and like Hannibal always says, "I Love It When A Plan Comes Together"!
Movie: The A-Team
Starring: Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Sharlto Copley
Directed By: Joe Carnahan
Based on the same 80's Television action series, the A-Team tells the story of a group of U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers, led by Col. Hannibal Smith, who were framed for a "crime they didn't commit". Forced to become mercenaries to clear their names, the foursome embark on missions that seem very impossible, but their unique individual expertise and clairvoyance prove to be valuable assets that help them succeed time and time again. With his men by his side, namely Lt. Templeton "Faceman" Peck, Sgt. B.A Baracus, and Capt. H.M Murdock, Hannibal sets forth to make things right and put one over the bad guys as the A-Team.
Originally, the TV show concentrated on the further adventures of the A-Team, but this movie concentrates on their origin - how they first banded together, and an updated version of the story of how they got set up for "a crime they didn't commit". That is the basic premise of the film itself, and if old school fans are scared that they may lose touch with the update, rest assured, there's nothing to be afraid of. This film is bad attitude come to life, and I mean that with the "B.A" from B.A Bracus' name on it. There's plenty of destruction and guns blazin' to make the gung-ho mad with excitement, but there's also plenty of schemin' to the story that will make MacGyver fans pleased as well. If there's one thing I can say about The A-Team film, it's that it's a great modernized throwback to the old school action, wit, and camp I enjoyed back in the 80's. It pays tribute and draws inspiration from the ever burning flame of that era. In fact, there are several references and tributes to the original series that fans should watch out for, and if you've seen the latest trailer, there's a bit of a spoiler of what happens to one of the unit's trademarks, and what that is I can't tell. All I can say is that it kind of pissed me off and left me acting like a frantic lunatic like B.A, but thankfully all of that passed the moment I went head on and started watching the movie straight. Also, people who are expecting a 3D version of this film won't be getting it, but rest assured, there's a nice "3D reference" there, so look very closely and spot it. I, for the life of me, haven't enjoyed an action movie like this for a long time, and its success was supported by the fact that it had a great cast behind it. In fact, if you saw last summer's film adaptation of The Losers, this movie shares a common theme with it, practically because the comic was inspired by the exploits of the A-Team. Personally, I always preferred Hannibal and guys though, and my faith has been restored thanks to this excellent film.
Filling in the ranks of the cast, legendary actor and talent Liam Neeson fills in the late George Peppard Jr's role as the new Col. John "Hannibal" Smith, and while I appreciate Mr. Neeson better in other dynamic roles that he did for such films as Batman Begins and Star Wars, I was quite impressed with his role here. He blended in as Hannibal, and things took shape so fast during the two hours I watched this movie that I actually see him as Hannibal now. Pretty good I tell you. For the other guys, Bradley Cooper got away with being the new face to play "Face". He's the charmer and pretty boy of the group, and while it could be any guy to play the game that Dirk Benedict did in the original, he's alright in my book. One particular role I had a hard time imagining someone to play with conviction was the role of B.A. Baracus... a role originally fitted and made to be played by the legendary Mr. T! Anyone who knows the classic lines "I Pity Da Foo!" and "I Ain't Gettin' In No Plane!" clearly knows who the dude is and his contributions to popculture, so it should be no surprise how people were surprised to find out that UFC fighter and star Quintin "Rampage" Jackson was chosen for the coveted role. At first, I was reserved and didn't keep my hopes up for a good performance. However, Rampage literally pounded people away and delivered a very good portrayal of the Bad man of the A-Team, from the lean, mean, tough machine with the mohawk approach to the times where the man's fear of flying got the better of him! Speaking about that, the film shows why he's afraid, and uses B.A.'s character to tackle an issue with the team's image in regards to how they "kill" badguys in the original series. Finally, we have the crazy man of the group, Murdock, who's just as looney, if not more, thanks to the excellent and hilarious performance of District 9 star Sharlto Copley. If Dwight Schultz, the original Murdock, was crazy, then you haven't seen Copley... he's INSANE. Round up that excellent talent up with a nice supporting cast led by the beautiful Jessica Biel, and you have one heckuva new A-Team for the modern age.
Directed by Joe Carnahan, the same guy who did Narc and Smokin' Aces, The A-Team is an excellent popcorn flick that shouldn't be missed by fans and newbies alike. Plenty of action, humor, and booms make this one for the books and great for those looking into nostalgia turned present. It's a rare moment where I find revivals and remakes living up to their predecessors, and this one truly did a remarkable job. Kudos to 20th Century Fox and Dune Entertainment for bringing us a great update. If you have a problem selecting a film to see this weekend, you can count on... The A-Team! Oh, and stay until after the credits, please!
Rating - 5/5