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June 11, 2010
Review - " The A-Team "  -  (in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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The A-Team
Directed by:
Starring: Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Sharlto Copley, Quinton
"Rampage" Jackson, Patrick Wilson, Brian Bloom, Jessica Biel, Gerald

We all know the story – even the shortest TV spot gives us the spine
of it – the Alpha, or A-Team is set up whilst on a covert ops mission
and court-martialed for a crime they didn't commit, so they break out
of prison to clear their names and nail the person(s) responsible for
the frame. Sounds simple, probably because it is.

This is the part where I'd admit to being just a little bit ashamed: The
A-Team is bereft of anything even remotely approaching story or
character development, it is nothing more than an excuse to brawl
and shoot and blow stuff up real good. The pacing barely ever
deviates from frenetic and when it dials down, it only drops to furious
and, yes, the headline quote from former-Colonel Hannibal Smith
[Liam Neeson] accurately describes the flick (The A-Team – Overkill
is Underrated!). And I enjoyed it.

In a real '80s revival weekend, The A-Team opens in competition with
The Karate Kid for the right to establish a tentpole event and is
definitely the lesser of the two in terms of quality. In fact, if you've
seen any episodes of the TV series and thought them cartoony, well,
you ain't seen nuthin' yet!

There's an action set piece, seemingly, every five minutes – and
some of the stunt and CG work is breathtaking. The A-Team is like an
organized Smokin' Aces – action builds to such a pitch that Tex Avery
and Chuck Jones would go, 'Whoa!' If you were to require a shot of adrenaline, for some reason, The A-Team would deliver

In terms of performances, Neeson is, if anything, more simultaneously relaxed and intense than George Peppard in the role
of tactician Smith; Bradley Cooper is at least a match for the handsome, cheerful con artist/ladies' man, Lt. Templeton
'Face' Peck, and Sharlto Copley – in a role that proves District 9 was not a one-off fluke – matches Dwight Schultz's pilot,
Captain H.M. "Howlin' Mad" Murdoch, insane moment for insane moment. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson is suitably tough –
with a heart of gold – as Bosco A. "B.A." Baracus, but even he can't quite match the over-the-top intensity of Mr. T.

Patrick Wilson is suitably unremarkable as CIA Lynch, who sets the A-Team on that covert ops mission; Brian Bloom is
joyfully vicious as villainous mercenary Pike, and Jessica Biel is hot as Captain-then-Lieutenant Charisa Sosa, who is
hunting down the team because she believes they did the crime. Gerald McRaney (General Morrison) and Henry Czerny
(Director McCready) turn in entertaining cameos and Mad Men's Jon Hamm is efficiently effective in a very unexpected bit
that adds a dash of irony to the mayhem.

Just about the only thing wrong with The
A-Team – from the aspect of a "boys and
their toys" action flick is that a much less
heralded (and less well funded) little flick
called The Losers is marginally better
executed. Considering that we're talking
movies that exist only to take Looney Toons
set pieces to warped live-action heights,
that's not a terribly bad thing.

Two or three times a year, I get the urge to
see a flick where stuff blows up and various
folks of varying ethical shades brawl. This
goofy summer extravaganza should hold me
for little awhile. The A-Team is worth the price
of admission.