(Click Below To Continue...)
For those familiar with the 80's classic television show, the premise remains fairly true to the original formula with some minor upgrades to the time period (try to remember, it's not a period piece. All that was once 80's is now 2010 with some minor story changes to support the shift). Four veterans are framed for a crime they didn't commit and help those in need while trying to prove their own innocence - all while running from the long arm of the law. Fairly straight forward fodder for an action adventure that the movie delivers on with both barrels.
For those of you interested in a more detailed synopsis of the show, check out this link to Internet Movie Database's lowdown on the A-Team television series created by the amazing Stephen J. Cannell (The Greatest American Hero, The Rockford Files, The Commish) and his partner in crime, Frank Lupo (Wiseguy, Riptide, Hunter).
The big question on most people's minds are how does the big screen version hold up to the small screen version that inspired it. Again - changes are minor. In the original, our four heroes John Hannibal Smith (played by George Peppard) was the leader and master of disguise, Templeton 'Faceman' Peck (Dirk Benedict) was the ladies/con man , 'Howling Mad' Murdock (Dwight Schultz) the expert pilot (and escaped lunatic), and everyone's favorite - 'Bad Attitude Baracus' (played by the larger than life, Mr. T) - the mechanic/muscle were all Vietnam War vets framed for robbing the Bank of Hanoi (which of course they had done, but under orders). Check out the original opener from 1983.
In the big screen version, the roles are played by Liam Neeson as Hannibal, Bradley Cooper as Face, Sharlto Copley as Murdock, and Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson as B.A. They are joined by Jessica Biel as Lieutenant Charisa Sosa, the lucky doll in hot pursuit of the gang and old flame of Face to boot.
Concentrating on the core crew, Liam Neeson is completely believable as the leader of the A-Team and is a perfect fit to fill the shoes of the late, great George Peppard. Bradley Cooper is equally impressive as Face, playing the charming and capable womanizer of the group. Sharito Copley steals the show as insane Murdock and is utterly surprising as this is only his second major film role to date - the first one being the sleeper sci-fi hit of last year, District 9. The dude has proven he has some acting chops and we hope to see him very soon in whatever his next role may be.
Sadly, Rampage Jackson is the weak link in this ensemble with shoes that are utterly too big to fill (seriously, who could really fill Mr. T's shoes and do him justice?). That's not to say that this Ultimate Fighting champ is bad in his first acting role - not at all. Charming is the first word that comes to mind, however not the first word that comes to mind when trying to play a historically iconic role as portrayed by the legendary Mr. T. Again, this isn't something that breaks this movie by any means - it's merely an observation that sometimes there's no school like the old school (who knows, maybe Mr. T can give Rampage some lessons in intimidation).
Everything baby! EVERYTHING! Seriously - it's got that sweet-ass black and red A-Team van that we ALL want to own (that thing rocks the Casbah!)! Explosions! Explosions!! EXPLOSIONS!! Hey, did we mention the EXPLOSIONS?!!! They fly a TANK! A TANK BABY!!! It's got Gerald McRaney (Simon and Simon?, Major Dad? Deadwood? Go what some TV damn it!)! Let's not forget it's got Jessica Biel (we could watch her picking her teeth... mmm... curlies)! It's got face smashin! It's got lip bashing! It's got ass cashin! It's got EVERYTHING FOOL!!! It's got a mental patients! Not just any either - Murdock can FLY!!! Seriously? Can you FLY? DIDN'T THINK SO!!! It's got EVERYTHING! Intrigue! Laughs! Action! Adventure! Sweet theme music! This movie has EVERYTHING!!!
A great summer action adventure movie based on a beloved television show from our youth - what more could you ask for? A decent story that never leaves you hanging at any particular time (the beat goes on and on in this one folks). If you want the roller coaster experience that will make you laugh out loud and hope for more (possible franchise - I pity the fool who doesn't think so!) then go see the A-Team for the full ride!!!