Monday, June 14, 2010

The A-Team

When it comes to special ops no one is better than Col. Hannibal Smith and his A-Team – B.A., Face & Murdock. The four can tackle any challenge with a crazy plan and accomplish the mission goal with a minimal body count. While getting ready to leave Iraq they are presented with the ultimate final mission by the CIA – rescue US currency plates and millions in counterfit bills from the insurgents moving them. However, even though the A-team succeeds the are double crossed and end up wrongly imprisoned in separate military facilities biding their time until Hannibal gets his team out and starts them on a mission to clear their names.

I may have been too young when The A-Team initially aired to remember episodes very clearly, but what I can tell you without a doubt is that it was my FAVORITE show for a very long time; when I found out it was being made into a movie, I was a tad bit scared that a piece of my childhood would be ruined – I mean G.I. Joe was nothing more than stupid fun, and don’t even get me started on Transformers. However, let me tell you this - The A-Team totally rocks.

From the moment the film opens you are sucked into a high octane, high fun world of action, intrigue, loyalty and friendship. There is not an unused moment of this film – there is absolutely no down time. The characaters never pause and neither does the audience. This could sound exhausting, but I think it was only about thirty minutes into the film where I decided I had to see The A-Team again because I was having so much fun watching it. Joe Carnahan and team captured the essence of the television show and made it twice as much fun as I remember it being originally.

The best way to talk about why The A-Team rocked is to talk about the cast of characters, because the show and the film are nothing is not lead by an assortment of fun and entertaining individuals.

Liam Neeson plays Hannibal. I don’t remember much about Hannibal on the television show besides a lot of laughter and chomping on cigars, but I think a man that’s played gods and assassins is more than qualified to play the leader of an elite army unit. Neeson was a fantastic Hannibal, he was cocky, street-smart and ready for anything that hit his team.

Quinton Jackson take over the very recognizable role of B.A. – originated by Mr. T. While the movies version of his being added to the team may be a little thin at best, there is no doubt from the first shots that Jackson more than adequately fills Mr. T’s shoes – the only thing missing are the gold chains.

Sharlto Copley may have hit the international geek spotlight when he starred in District 9 but that alone did not make him a shoe-in for my favorite character of the series – Murdock. Yet Copley does Murdock proud, finding the fun and insanity in a character whose loyalty and irreverence make him one of the most vital reasons Hannibal’s plans work. Copley captures that essence that makes you wonder if Murdock is really mad, or is only playing it that way.

Then of course there is Bradley Cooper as Face. I loved Bradley Cooper the moment I first saw him during his brief residence on Alias and I have to tell you I am thrilled that he’s gotten to an A-List standpoint – pun intended. Cooper is an amazing Face – cocky, ingenious, impulsive, creative and always ready to have a good time. He is the perfect choice for Face and in this installment of the franchise is the glue that hold the team, and the movie, together.

Anyone familiar with the show will be thrilled to see tidbits of the familiar littered throughout the film and I have to insist that you stay for the end of the credits to see several familiar faces pop on screen. Whenever I see cameo’s like that I always have to wonder if they are as thrilled as the audience that a character they made beloved is back on screen – even if they are not the one playing them. In this case I hope the surviving original cast is happy, because I know the audience is.

The one thought that struck me while I the credits rolled is that this years The Loser’s really was a cheap homage to The A-Team; it cannot hold a candle to the original and Joe Carnahan proved that while the original can often be imitated, nothing is like the real thing.

Director: Joe Carnahan
Writers: Joe Carnahan, Brian Bloom & Skip Woods
Hannibal: Liam Neeson
Face: Bradley Cooper
B.A.: Quinton Jackson
Murdock: Sharlto Copley
Charisa Sosa: Jessica Biel
Lynch: Patrick Wilson

Capt. Sosa: They are the best, and they specialize in the ridiculous.

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