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The A-Team
DVD Review

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Starring: Liam Neeson, Bradley Copper, Jessica Biel, Quinion ‘Rampage’ Jackson, Sharlio Copley, Patrick Wilson

Running time: 113m

Reviewed by Peter Veugelaers © 2010

They were a foursome revered by high school kids. Hannibal Smith, B.A. Baracus, Murdock and Face - and everyone had a favorite. Memorably, someone had to pick Mr. T, the actor behind Baracus, and everyone identified, or was given, a character that fitted. The new batch of actors playing these now old hats has shoes to fill, indeed, except if you’re fifteen and don’t have a clue who Mr. T is.

Bradley Copper as Face, for reasons which have everything to do with his acting ability, is squared off with an agent who used to be his girlfriend (Jessica Biel), but I wondered where he got the time between tours of duties. Her antagonism towards him makes for the first sign of tangible conflict and that after a lengthy opening.

The team is soldiers of fortune who cut their teeth on missions for the American military and this one involves U.S. dollar plates in Baghdad, circa 2003. Money, money, money, CIA, double-cross, and amorality.

Not much needs to be explained further as you will gather if you happen to follow the complicating plot. It becomes a drag. Except to say that the pivot in the story is when the a-team is disowned and imprisoned by their people for a crime they did not commit when on this mission. They want to clear their names and vengeance is on the mind of Hannibal (Liam Neeson).

The team simmers rather than ignites although the odd humorous moment’s spark, like when a serious tone of military endeavor is off-set by “frat” behavior.

The A-Team is free spirited and the action is not serious, which rarely applies to itself, and when it does go serious it is quietly thought provoking.

The plot is heavy, though – with flourishes of broad, sometimes over-the-top action, particularly good at the start with its introductory expose of the a-team – but you’re kept at a distance unlike the 1980s TV series.

It’s always a challenge to make a good cover-up cum set-up action film. Alas, this falls short in producing that and in capturing the old mould.

The A-Team Trailer:

DVD Spotlight

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Product Details

  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Region: Region 1 U.S. and Canada only.
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: December 14, 2010


Amazon.com Review
Average Customer Review

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, and District 9 out-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 is insipid and half-hearted--but when it comes to snarky dialogue and two-fisted action scenes, director Joe Carnahan is in his comfort zone. It's reasonably fun watching the working-out of such logistical puzzles as dropping a tank (with crew inside) from a plane, or scattering the main characters on a dockside as cargo containers rain down from a ship looming above them. Good times, although is it asking too much for certain basic laws of physics (if you drop a human body ten stories, for instance, it might actually sustain injuries) to be used as a guideline? But worrying about such matters isn't in the spirit of The A-Team, which cheerfully ignores the petty concerns of credibility and logic. --Robert Horton
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