Sunday, January 02, 2011

The A-Team

I'm sure you all know the story by now:  In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum-security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem...if no one else can help...and if you can find them...maybe you can hire...The A-Team.

Well, that was then,










and this is now.












The story has been nicely updated to the present day with the crack commando unit operating in the Gulf War instead of the Vietnam War.  The other great change from the original is that bullets hit people now.  In 5 seasons of the television show I think one guy got shot.  But not all changes were welcome.  In the original, Colonel Hannibal Smith is in disguise in every episode.  Not one disguise in the movie.  Boo.  Also, I only remember one car flipping over in the movie.  That happened all the time in the show. 

Ok, ok, I know - you want to know if the movie was watchable, not how similar it is to the original.  The verdict is that it's decent.  It's certainly not going to win any Oscars, but if you're in the mood for a fun action movie with a lot of explosions, then this fits the bill.  I was pleasantly surprised by the acting job turned in by Rampage Jackson, but you'd think that with a former UFC champion in the cast that they could manage to choreograph a decent fight, but every one of them is filmed at close range with a shaky hand held camera so you can't see what's going on.  What a waste. 

The plot was a little thin, but what can you expect from an action movie?  It was adequate and told the back story that was summarized in the opening credits of the TV show.  It also left the door open for a sequel, but I don't know if the film was successful enough to warrant a sequel. 

The biggest problem I had with The A-Team, however, was with the special effects.  For a big budget film, this was simply unforgivable.  A couple of times, most notably the container ship scene toward the end, look unrealistic and really pull you out of the moment.  When you don't really immerse yourself in the nuances of an action film anyway, you can't skimp on your bread and butter.

As long as you don't expect more from this movie than a lot of action, gun fire, and explosions, then you won't be too disappointed.  So grab a bucket of popcorn and enjoy.
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