Movie Review – A for The A-Team

Posted by Gabriel von Grünbaum on June 17, 2010

Okay, so maybe you enjoyed Shrek in three dimensions with the kids, but getting dragged to Sex and the City 2?!  (Once wasn’t enough!?)  Or (hopefully not, and) were you dragged to either of this year’s newly minted most-specific-movie-genre-ever flicks?  Hopefully you have no idea what I’m talking about.  The new genre is romance about the postal service and Amanda Seyfried – Dear John, Letters to Juliet.  Let’s see, there’s rom-com and dramady… what do we call this one?  Rom-post-fried?  Amanticpostal?  Frankly, Amanda, I think we were all happier when your boobs could tell us that there was a 30% chance it was already raining, or that time Diablo Cody sent evil Megan Fox after you (Jennifer’s Body – criminally overlooked).

Well, guys, if you’re ready to get your balls back The A-Team is here to help!  The guy flicks this year have been rather hit or miss – and when it comes to remakes, reimaginings and big screen versions we’ve all seen buckets of disappointments.  I’m talking about you Bewitched, The Stepford Wives and even Starsky and Hutch (not you, Serenity – you did good by Firefly).  If you’re bringing something to the big screen, or re-bringing it, why do so many in the industry feel the need to freakin’ tweak it out?!  Bewitched already has a brilliant premise – the dude’s married to a witch, with a witchy family!  Magical complication and hilarity!  But no – some egotistical bastards have to come along who “know better.”

This what I think one of those meetings must sound like:

“Guys!  Guys!  I got it!  Cheers: The Movie!”

“Yes!  Wait, but who’s going to believe there’s a bar where everyone knows your name?  We need to make this ‘now’, you know?  Like ‘today’.  Hip.  With it.  Jiggy.”

“Right, okay.  They only serve low-carb beer?  Wait!  See if you can follow me… so it’s not actually a real bar… it’s a set!  They’re actors ‘filming’ the Cheers movie!”

“So it’s like they’re us, you and I!  Genius!  This is so meta!  Let’s make it really real then.  I don’t like bars…  IT’S A DANCE CLUB!!”

“For astronauts!  I love those guys!”

“And the actor playing Sam is addicted to crack!”

“This thing writes itself…”

I’m happy to say that none of these assholes had anything to do with The A-Team.  If you liked the show, this is it, on the big screen!  Yes, the actors have changed, and the originals will always hold a special place in our hearts – but I must say, they really did well with the material.  In fact, personally, I may have perfered the film versions of the characters – no disrespect.  I think the only thing I missed was Hannibal’s actor-side and how he always loved dressing up and getting into different characters.  All the villain characters were appropriately adjusted for today (making Lynch C.I.A. makes sense).  I think the only actor note would be for Sharlto Copley – dude, you’re awesome, but you need to spend a touch more time working on all those voices (as Murdock does), they all sorta sounded like shades of South African.  Still loved your Murdock though!

The rest of The A-Team movie is also solidly constructed.  Plot is pretty straightforward but with enough complexity to keep you interested.  It’s not like you never know how it’s going to turn out, but watching how Hannibal gets the team there is the real joy.

This isn’t some Michael Bay or Jerry Bruckheimer frat-boy parade, so there’s no half-undressed chick in every frame – I know, bummer.  But they do toss us a pretty bone every now and again with Jessica Biel (and Lynch’s secretary?  This Natalie James?  Is she goin’ places?  We’ll see…)  Bottom line, this is a guy’s guy movie.  It’s the cinematic equivalent of hangin’ out with your buddies shootin’ the breeze and tossin’ back some cold ones.  It’s acted that way as well – it feels just like we’re getting to hang out with these guys as they go about their business of righting wrongs, often by blowing them up!

I think writer/director Joe Carnahan is a fan of The A-Team, he respected the material and the audience.  He’s got the skills and the talent to boot.  This is a guy to have your back in Hollywood.  A guy’s guy.

So glad they stuck with Frank Lupo and Stephen J. Cannell’s original vision and vibe, and faithfully adjusted it for the 2010 cinema.  It’s a movie that’s everything it promises to be.  It’s a fun ride.  I love it when a plan comes together.  Alfa Mike Foxtrot!

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