Joe Carnahan brings to the big screen the first ever adaptation of the famed TV series. Fans of the series will be pleased to see the characters are pretty much the same way they love and remember from television, but also disappointed to notice everything else is so over-the-top that it feels like a Michael Bay movie, which sometimes works in its favor, and other times not. More after the jump.
The movie is origin story. We see the team get together for the first time during a rescue operation in Mexico in a very serendipitous way. We then see Hannibal (Liam Neeson), Face (Bradley Cooper), BA (Quinton Jackson) and Murdock (Sharlto Copley) in Iraq, where they are double-crossed during a black op and sent to prison. Needless to say, they break out of prison and embark on a payback crusade that leads to the usual ever-growing conspiracy.
Carnahan seems to have fallen in love with this kind of overkill spectacle, ever since "Smokin Aces". There's no jigsaw narrative in "The A-Team" though, but there's still a thick, overcooked plot to follow. The casting (key element in movies like this) works well, especially Sharlto Copeley from "District 9", is fun to watch as Murdock, the psychotic pilot. Jessica Biel, however, just seems to be along for the ride. There's also plenty of well staged grand-scale action that rescues the movie from lagging, but it all gets a bit too CGI laden, particularly towards the end.
Because I am a fan of the TV series, the epic scale of the movie kind of threw me off. The original had a small budget charm to it. The plans the team carried out were clever and fun, but in no way as eccentric as anything on display in this movie. I personally would have preferred to see less CGI and more cleverness on display.
"The A-Team" is a fun distraction for a summer afternoon, as long as you let yourself get carried away by the insane action and fun interactions between the actors. Do avoid it if you think this will be as sophisticated as Carnahan's "Narc", for this is closer to his "Smokin' Aces" (only less impressive).