The highest compliment I can pay to The A-Team movie is that it made me want to watch the TV show. And for someone who reveres '80s movies and would argue that over the last 5 decades, the '80s had the highest output of fun and memorable popcorn movies, not wincing at this post-grunge, post-pop, high-concept '80s remake is definitely a good thing.
The best part is that the movie isn't a total farce. Yes, the story of five wrongfully accused soldiers turned soldiers-of-fortune is ridiculous and over-the-top. And the trailer clip where Faceman (Bradley Cooper) shoots from a tank's turret gun in mid-air at oncoming aircraft is a touch much. It's fun, but I could do without Mr. Prettyboy's "Get some!" audio.
Those kooky moments are balanced out by some enjoyable hijinx between the boy-men - trademark antics straight from the TV series highlighting pilot Murdock's (District 9's Sharlto Copley) constant craziness, B.A. Barracus' (nice turn from the UFC's Rampage Jackson) fear of flying and Faceman Peck's luck with the ladies. It's an adjustment to see Liam Neeson take over as cigar-chomping leader Hannibal Smith (sort of like seeing Ben Kingsley slumming in Prince of Persia), but watching this new team was more enjoyable than I was expecting.
My knocks against it weren't what I was expecting, either. From the previews, this looked like an overblown parody of an action show I loved as a kid. It's not. The A-Team mixes in character stuff and attempts to be an actual film. The plot, though, is of zero consequence and if you think about it too much (something to do with stolen plates and shifting loyalties), I'm sure it will cause headaches. My other minor knock is that the show was cheesy and innocent. Things blew up real good, but no one was ever in danger. Here, the violence and sex factors have been amped up a tad to match our PG-13 summer mindsets. Necessary? Maybe, maybe not.
Overall, if they're not an A-Team, they're a solid B-. Lastly - what's up with the onslaught of ensemble action flicks? Not that I'm complaining, but after The Losers and A-Team, we've still got The Expendables and Takers on the way, and this fall's Red Dawn remake. Question to you all - which movie bunch do you think is the toughest? If we can cross decades and genres, then I go with The Magnificent Seven, The Dirty Dozen or Mel Gibson's guys in the underrated Attack Force Z. Or from the '70s and '80s, either Walter Hill's The Warriors or The Long Riders, or the unit from The Big Red One. Or if we're going animation style, the band of rabbits in Watership Down had a lot of capable lieutenants. What say you...which movie heroes do you want to watch your back?