Film Review: THE A-TEAM (2010)

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Release date: June 11, 2010
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 117 minutes
Stars: Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Jessica Biel, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Sharlto Copley, Patrick Wilson, Gerald McRaney
Written by Joe Carnahan, Brian Bloom, and Skip Woods
Based on the TV series “The A-Team” created by Frank Lupo & Stephen J. Cannell.
Directed by Joe Carnahan

I had been excited about this movie since seeing its teaser trailer in January, but A-Team movie projects had been in development hell for almost ten years with eleven different writers attached. It’s even more remarkable, then, that this movie was made, and well made.

The movie begins with Army Ranger Col. John “Hannibal” Smith (Neeson) running a covert op in Mexico. In the course of escaping capture and rescuing Templeton “Faceman” Peck (Cooper), he has chance meetings with B.A. Baracus (Jackson), and the unhinged Capt. James Murdock, also Rangers. Eight years later, the men are the Army’s most successful covert unit, and Hannibal is approached by enigmatic CIA agent Lynch (Wilson) to steal back U.S. currency printing plates originally stolen by loyalists of Saddam Hussein. Hannibal’s friend and CO, Gen. Morrison (McRaney), indirectly gives him the go-ahead to complete the same mission. When things go awry, the team is wrongly convicted of stealing the plates for themselves.

They promptly escape from separate prison facilities and set out to clear their names.

The movie updates the TV concept and characters with a tad more realism, but because it doesn’t take itself too seriously, the movie captures the original’s flair. Like J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot, it pays homage, but deviates from the canon enough to keep viewers guessing. Sharlto Copley’s performance as Murdock is priceless.

Fans of the original will eat this up and hope for a sequel. I recommend going with fellow A-Team fans, as I did with my college magazine friends. Stay past the end credits for a treat.

–Gerald So