Taking one of the most iconic TV shows of the 80’s and turning it in to a major motion picture seems like a task that would find so many ways to go wrong and especially when it comes to recasting a show that originally starred one of that era’s pop culture icons in Mr. T as the unstoppable B.A. Barracus.
Luckily, the people making this movie seemed to know exactly who to find for each character and the perfect example is Sharlto Copley, who had last been seen transforming in to an alien in the highly regarded sci-fi thriller District 9. In The 'A-Team', his portrayal of “Howling Mad” Murdock was an unexpected highlight as he stole scene after scene with a comedic flair I had no idea he possessed.
Along for the ride is Liam Neeson as Hannibal Smith, Bradley Cooper as Face, and the unlikely “Rampage” Jackson who is best known as an MMA fighter filling the role of Mr. T. Throw in Patrick Wilson and Brian Bloom as adversaries to the A-Team and you have a very fine cast as far as action pictures go. Filling the directing duties was Joe Carnahan whose previous work includes another great action movie in Smokin’ Aces which had a very similar feel and pacing to it.
From the opening scene, the tone is set with the promise that this is going to be a fun, in-your-face, action packed thrill ride that would have you on the edge of your seat and yet still be light hearted enough to keep you smiling and laughing throughout. Granted, this film is not an exercise in classic acting subtleties and nuance, nor will it ever be used in film school classrooms as a blueprint for in depth character development, but you know what…who cares, this movie is a blast!
Honestly, this was the most entertaining movie I watched all year and it was great to see the actors having such a great time playing these roles. You could really see this come through on the screen and the director kept the pacing very crisp and the story rolled along nicely. Of course, being a big summertime popcorn movie, explosions are as big as they can be and everything has a very glossy texture to it reminiscent of just about anything Michael Bay has put on film and, like a Bay film, things do get a bit over the top towards the end, but not to the point where it loses the audience.
Going back to that feeling you have about a movie in the moments you are walking out of the theater, my first thought was that I wanted to see it again and to the point where I really wasn’t in any hurry to leave the theater...or maybe it was because the classic (although remixed) A-Team TV show theme song was playing over the end credits. Either way, this is what the summer movie season is all about.
CLICK HERE to see my other favorite movies from 2010!