action movie freak    
The A-Team movie poster

The A-Team delivered a WILD RIDE!

(11 June 2010)   117 min.

Director: Joe Carnahan
Written by Joe Carnahan, Brian Bloom, and Skip Woods 

"A" is for a big, satisfying Aaaaaaah!  The A-TEAM delivered Action with a capital "A".  It reminded me a little of G. I. Joe because while it was great that the action was over-the-top incredible, they threw it at you at dizzying speeds. A little less hectic would have been a lot more enjoyable, but the opening really 'hit the spot'. It was very cool that they showed how the characters met, let "X" number of years pass (the TV episodes), and then cut to their current adventure in a short amount of time.  There the speed worked (plot wise).  It helped if you saw the show, but the characters were well cast and still quirky enough that it didn't matter if you didn't. Conveying the "A" Team feeling and dynamic perfectly, the intro. was like an amuse bouche of action. Never thought I would use that phrase to describe anything in an action movie, but I went hungry for the action movie experience, and the A-Team intro was the perfect bite! A mini movie on its own; a taste of more good things to come. AMF=Action Movie Freak? Yes, but No . . . "Alpha Mike Foxtrot, Adios Mother Fucker!"

The best part of the "A" Team was the crazy machismo, which is the biggest part of why I love action movies. Wise-cracking adrenaline junkies with no fear of death ("I'm looking for my next near-death experience" says Murdoch), they jumped right in with both feet. You expected that in the intro., but they kept up the pace with a follow-up heist so complicated, it could be a normal movie in and of itself. As they explain the next heist, they are doing it (cutting back and forth between the set-up/explanation and the live action). You can't believe the movie is this exciting this quickly, and you wonder if they can sustain it. They can.  There are tons of cheesy one liners and epic moments. I loved when they were taking off in the C-130 and they play chicken with a car.  Chicken sounds like something you've seen before, but you don't realize how intense the scene is until B.A. says "The C-130 versus Mercedes Benz" and you're thinking "No shit! "Wow!" Then, "MOooVE!!"

Most of the characters were played equally well and they seemed 'all grown up' in this thankfully less campy version of the TV show. A fan of the original show, I can't help but make comparisons, so here we go:

Liam Neeson as Col. John Hannibal Smith in The A-TeamCol. John "Hannibal" Smith 

Liam Neeson's deep voice, stature, physique, and air of competence delivered an in-charge performance of Hannibal that was flawlessly believable. JUST what the part needed to suspend the disbelief in pulling off his incredible plans. George Peppard as Hannibal was good looking and confident but didn't seem military enough (brains but no brawn). Neeson looks like he could as easily snap your back as shake your hand. (Maybe this bad-ass performance will get him respect as an action star, and Stallone will put him in the next Expendables.) For me, it made him not only an action star, but an Action Figure. Big praise for a man his age! I added him to my Bad Ass list for this performance, and for Taken, which EVERYONE noticed he rocked the house in.  I guess until this movie, I thought of him as an actor. Now I realize he's always been a bad ass!

"Howling Mad" Murdock
This character brings so much fun to the action. Sharlto Copely didn't over do it. He was just the right amount of crazy. The idea that the pilot would be so skilled and borderline nuts makes for some hairy flying and a hilarious point of view. He delivers some of the best lines in the movie.


Sgt. Bosco "B.A." (Bad Attitude) Baracus
Quinton Johnson's performance left me feeling fond of B.A., but he's in a mighty big shadow. Mr. T. dominated, not just the show, but popular culture! They had a little fun with B.A. in this movie, but he was too loveable. His bad attitude consisted mainly of getting angry if anyone messed with his van, and an (understandable) newly acquired fear of flying. Maybe they stayed away from too much the "Pity the Fool" bravado because it would have seemed like a bad impression. However, Quinton "Rampage" Johnson's B.A. lacked that look-out-when-they-let-him-loose-on-somebody feeling. Too much Quinton and not enough Rampage. He really looked the part and was really good in it. I would have to say he made it his own, but I think it's just that we didn't see enough of him being B.A.—leaves me hoping he has more of an action part in the next movie . . . I guess I expected him to be the star of this movie, but it looks like it's a toss up between Face and Lynch.


Lt. Templeton "Faceman" Peck (aka "Face")Bradley Cooper s Lt. Templeton Face Peck in The A-Team
While the characters/cast complemented each other and seemed to have fairly equal screen time, Face might have had a little more, but then it might just have seemed that way 'cause he's Face. Props to Bradley Cooper for 'bringing it'. He took the Face role to new heights (or depths? LOL). Maybe this was because in our culture 'Face' has evolved into 'Body'. Think I'm off? Look at "The Jersey Shore's" "The Situation." An ugly face on a buff body and suddenly he's handsome, and with attitude it's assumed he has 'game'? Game is the new Charm. I loved Face's twist on this: "It's not who you know, it's how you know them."  It really isn't about a handsome face and charm anymore (Charm required manners and some intelligence to be Smooth). Now it's about Attitude (which, when applied to women goes hand in hand with a lack of manners, bravado, and stupidity) and Game—Don't get me started. There used to be some seduction involved on their part, now it's more like an audition on yours. The Face of yesterday worked his charm and the ladies swooned. Today's Face expects them to just fall at his feet when he takes off his shirt and acts like he's too good for them. To borrow a line from Pitbull "I know you want me. You know I wantcha." Sadly, it really has become that simple. But I digress, back to the character . . . There was some chemistry between Face and Sosa (Jessica Beal, above), but I think they could have set it up a little better in the beginning.  Her role was so small, it could have been any good-looking actress, but it was nice to see them down-playing her looks.

Dirk Benedict's Face was very "Sharp-Dressed Man", and he was always over dressed. Bradley Cooper's Face is handsome enough, but it's more about how handsome he thinks he is. There's no shortage of shirtless screen time for Cooper, and he has the pecs and abs for the role.  There is a little of the old Face when Cooper works his idea of some old-fashioned charm (bullshit), using his foreign language skills and invasion of personal space on a female French reporter. This scene is a little ridiculous but Cooper pulls it off, acting/entertainment wise. It's the no-means-yes scenario as she lets him kiss her then slaps him, so he goes in for another kiss. Again, don't get me started. There is quite a bit of sexism in the movie, but at the same time the female lead is powerful and intelligent and they don't objectify her (Face does, but, again, he's Face). CIA Agent Lynch's assistant interrupts another CIA Agent to speak to Lynch, and the Agent snaps at her "I was talking" She comes back with "Can you stop?" (snap!)

Overall, I loved the character and Cooper's portrayal of him, although he seemed a little ultra hyper at times, as did the movie, almost like the editors were on coke mixed with too much speed, which brings us to . . .


CIA Rogue Agent "Lynch"
Patrick Wilson's performance stole the show. He played the weasel with just the right amount of overacting. He really thinks he's a bad ass (he's not). In the scene where he and his men blow through a security checkpoint, flashing guns and badges, you can't help but love it when he says "Yes we have weapons. No you may not wand us."  This kind of movie needs a bad guy you love to hate, and between Lynch's pseudo machismo and Agent Pike's certifiable lunacy, it satisfies. The plate retrieval scene was a little
a little Matrix, in all its high-rise-glass-smashing glory. And that  was only the beginning. The be-all end-all of heists goes down on such a huge scale, it's hard to describe. Without spoiling it, let's just say that the cargo containers look like crayons.  Only in warfare, can one imagine so much fun with a cannon. At one point Pike's eyes are so crazed, it made me wonder if he was on drugs, and brought to mind the pity-me face on the cat from Shrek!

The A-Team more than satisfied my Action Movie freakiness! I enjoyed it so much I saw it twice!!


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