We expect a different kind of movie in the summer. We spend the rest of the year looking for bleak dramas wrought in angst and tears, in the summer we look for pictures featuring comedy, action or both. Last year, there wasn’t much in that department, a summer marked with crap like X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen. 2010 is already off the a pretty good summer with The A-Team, one of the most enjoyable action movies I’ve seen in a while.
Based on the popular TV series, The A-Team is the story of how Hannibal, Face, Murdock and B.A. became the greatest team in the world, and how they got burned and were forced to go underground. It is a story that perhaps feels a little too much like the launching point for a franchise, and suffers from “too many betrayals” syndrome, but ultimately is enjoyable enough. Although it is a bit odd that there is so much going on in this story despite the filmmakers treating the audience like morons – most notably by flashing back unnecessarily. I feel your contempt, director Joe Carnahan.
Liam Neeson plays Hannibal, the rugged leader of the team. He is basically bringing his Taken game, although a little more comedically. Bradley Cooper is Face, who it turns out is basically Bradley Cooper: likable ladies’ man. Sharlto Copley is Murdock, the psychopathic pilot. Copley proves that he can act, bringing enough accents and charisma to keep up with his more famous castmates. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson has the hardest job, playing the iconic Mr. T role of B.A. Baracus. He does fine in the role, he’s certainly not distracting. Jessica Biel, Patrick Wilson and a few other familiar faces are along for the ride too.
But The A-Team is mostly about the action. And the action is good. There’s that ridiculous sequence from the trailers, where the team tries to fly a tank. There’s a great heist on wheels. And plenty of crazy fighting too. Maybe I’ve just started getting used to it, but I didn’t find the shaky cam stuff as distractingly annoying as I have in the past, although there certainly are a few sequences that could have been more followable.
Don’t buy The A-Team on DVD. This isn’t something you’ll be coming back to again and again. I don’t care if it has director commentary. There’s not that much depth here. This is the kind of movie that demands to be seen in theaters. With a big screen, a loud sound system and a rowdy crowd, this is the quintessential summer action experience we’ve been waiting for.