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The A-Team

The A-Team

What she said:

She

So here’s the deal with Liam Neeson.  His movies are either quite good or quite bad.  Sometimes I swear he’s trying to communicate with us from the screen saying, “Why did I sign on for this?”  The A-Team, while having the makings of a notoriously bad movie, turns out to be one of his good ones, I’m happy to say.  There’s lots of action, some good humor, and suspense. 

I like when action movies don’t try to take themselves too seriously.  I think that’s when they work best.  They need to have an air of levity to them.  As their main characters get into intense, yet completely unlikely scenarios, it’s good to have the movie recognize that hey, this might not happen in real life, but we’re having some fun here and you’re coming along for the ride.

The A-Team does just that.  It’s over the top, but also quite humorous.  Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, and Sharlto Copley are ridiculously talented former military men.  Neeson, Cooper, and Jackson were all Rangers, which apparently means you are awesome and can do practically anything.  Copley is a clinically insane airman whose ingenious flying can get the men out of any jam.  The four of them begin doing under-the-radar missions for the government until they are wrongly accused of a crime and imprisoned.  Under the leadership of Neeson, whose plans are practically fool-proof every time, they break out of prison and begin a quest to clear their names.  Action and humor ensue, and that Bradley Cooper, he sure has a way with the ladies. 

The film is a fun diversion, and doesn’t aim to be a masterpiece.  Jackson’s acting is really the weakest link.  As he stares at the camera blankly and recites his lines, I can imagine a PA holding cue cards on the other side of the lens.  Oh well, at least he flexes some muscle. 

Still worth checking out.

Diagnosis: Thumbs up.

What he said:

He

I can’t quite say when it happened, but some time in the last 10-15 years action movies changed. They got bigger (which isn’t always better), louder, and have actually moved more towards comedy. The genre has always had humor in it, but it was always action first. Nowadays, the action almost seems secondary to the rest of the movie and is really over the top.

Personally, I think it’s been bad for the genre. There are no more action heroes.  Though, I do have to say not all movies that take this approach are bad. For example, The A-Team was actually pretty funny. It probably only helped that the original show was never all that serious to begin with. So to make this movie some kind of serious, special-ops type of movie would have been a huge mistake. This movie takes the tone of the show and puts it on steroids.

For what it was, I thought the acting was quite good. I can’t think of a single other modern actor to play “Face” than Bradley Cooper. I watched this guy on Alias and enjoyed him, but back than he was little more than a character actor. In the last few years though, he’s really enjoyed quite a bit of success playing ladies men (which you can see he clearly enjoys).

Liam Neeson was channeling George Peppard, but did enough to make the character his own. I don’t remember Hannibal ever being this hands on, but in this pumped up version of the show it works.

Then there’s Sharlto Copley, who many lauded for his performance in District 9.  I didn’t care for that movie or his performance in it, but he was great in this. He takes Murdock, who was nuts to begin with, and makes him completely insane.

MMA champ Quinton “Rampage” Jackson fills in for Mr. T. While not a fantastic performance, let’s consider whom he was replacing. I was actually quite surprised and please with how much Jackson allowed them to poke fun at his character. You’d think a legitimate tough guy might have a problem with that, but he seemed totally open to it.

The rest of the cast is just there.  Not bad, but clearly not the main act. They are there to merely serve as extras for the main four.

Conclusion: Thumbs up.

This movie was written for your reading pleasure on January 2, 2011.