Rick’s grade: 7 out of 10
By RICK GERSHMAN
If any film demands to be graded on a curve, it’s The A-Team.
Simply consider the notion of making a big-budget summer movie from of one of the cheesiest television shows of an already-cheesy TV era (the early 1980s).
It’s a crafty plan to lower your expectations. As long the movie isn’t two hours of punching grandmothers and kicking puppies, you’re likely to leave the theater saying, “that was better than I expected.”
Guess what? It works like a charm. I can already hear the producers saying, “I love it when a plan comes together.”
The A-Team, against all odds, is one extremely entertaining film. It puts pedal to metal about 90 seconds in and never lets up. That’s also savvy because it’s also kind of a mess that would collapse under its own weight if it slowed down for more than two minutes.
Director Joe Carnahan (Smokin’ Aces, Narc) isn’t taking that chance. Action scenes come flying at you hard and heavy from start to finish. The results are mixed: Some sequences are choppy and confusing, others thrilling. But like a comedy that never stops pitching jokes, content if only half of them stick, The A-Team pitches action, action, action, with a side of action and a little action to wash it down.
The plot follows the general concept of the TV series with a few tweaks. A lengthy opening credits sequence set in Mexico shows us how the team of former Army Rangers comes together: Leader John “Hannibal” Smith (Liam Neeson), his right-hand man Templeton “Face” Peck (Bradley Cooper), powerful Bosco “B.A.” Baracus (Quinton “Rampage” Jackson) and loony pilot James “Howling Mad” Murdock (Sharlto Copley).