MOVIE: **** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Based on the classic 80s television series, this updated big-budget adaptation tells the story of an elite team of Army Rangers who go on impossible missions. However, after they are convicted for a crime they didn’t commit, they have to break out of military prison and try to clear their names.
WHAT I LIKED
Growing up in the 80s like I did, it was impossible to escape watching at least some of the original “The A-Team” television show. Oddly enough, it wasn’t on my weekly to-watch list because my mother thought it was too violent. (Forget the fact that the show was famous for no one ever getting killed in it. Mothers can be a little silly sometimes.)
But I had watched the show a little bit, during sleep-overs and Friday nights at my friends’ houses. The original series was a hell of a lot of fun, and this film version of it keeps that spirit intact, for the most part. The movie doesn’t take itself too seriously, and the action is meant to be explosive and at times ridiculous.
Similar to the television show, the chemistry between the members of the A-Team is the key, and the four guys really seem to have fun in this film. It helps to have your cast be led by a powerhouse actor like Liam Neeson, but believe it or not, it’s Sharlto Copley who steals the show as Murdock. This guy came on the acting scene with a bang in “District 9” last year, and he’s proving to be a fantastic, versatile and all-around fun actor.
Sadly, “The A-Team” was one of those films that fizzled a bit at the box office, and that’s a shame because it was one of the more enjoyable things to watch this summer in the theater.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
Director Joe Carnahan, who is known for more grittier, R-rated work in films like “Narc” and “Smokin’ Aces” does a decent job keeping things consistent with the original source material in this film. However, there are times that he and co-writer/star Brian Bloom can’t resist going more edgy than they probably should have. The movie exists safely in PG-13 territory, but at times it feels like Carnahan tries too hard to knock down the A-Team cliche of no one getting killed.
Also, like Baz Lurhmann’s “Australia” a few years back, “The A-Team” seems to cram more than a single story in the film, and that leaves it feeling a bit disjointed at times. The extended cut on Blu-ray plays well and gives the viewers an extra couple minutes that aren’t too noticeable, but this film could have really been two movies, and it just feels like Carnahan was putting both films in one basket because he was afraid he wouldn’t get a sequel green-lit.
The Blu-ray comes with a DVD that includes digital copy. On the Blu-ray itself, there’s the theatrical and the extended version, which aren’t too noticeably different. On the theatrical cut, Carnahan sits in with an embedded picture-in-picture commentary experience called “The Devil’s in the Details.” These are great little features that are normally most often found on Warner Bros. discs, and it’s nice to see Fox stepping up to the plate with a feature like this.
Additional features include spotlights on the different characters, the behind-the-scenes featurette “Plan of Attack,” deleted scenes, a gag reel and a mash-up montage from the film.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Anyone who likes a good action film or grew up watching this show in the 80s.