“A Team”: A-Plus

I grew up in the 80’s, so all of the 80’s television shows are right up my alley.  I was super-excited when the trailers for “the A team” came out.

Yeah, that looked cool.  At the same time, I watched almost every episode of the old TV series, so I was a little worried about how the remake would handle these characters that we all knew so well.  I pity the fool who tries to reprise the role of B.A. Baracus, because no one can be Mr. T.  And since George Peppard passed away in 1994 I was really concerned with who could possibly fill his shoes.  I can’t help but remember the old commercials for the “A Team” action figures:

I figured going in that this movie would be a shoot-em-up, with more money spent on special effects than on the screenplay if you know what I mean.  And going in with the expectation that I would enjoy the action and not worry about the plot holes, I had a great time.  We were originally going to go see this as a guy’s night movie but the ladies wouldn’t have it; Laura thoroughly enjoyed it as well, and that is saying a LOT about an action movie.

The Good:

In my friend Mike’s words, this movie was “pitch perfect.”  Go in expecting it to be a crazy action movie, just like the TV series.  For goodness sake, at one point the team flies a tank.  Then they use its main gun to change their course to land it in a lake.  That’s pretty par for the course in this kind of movie, and the action came fast and furious.

They captured the essence of the characters I know and love perfectly!  Liam Neeson did a wonderful job of playing Col. John “Hannibal” Smith.  The other actors did a great job as well, and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson was surprisingly believable as B.A. Baracus.  I am a huge MMA fan and Rampage is the former UFC light heavyweight champion; I was really worried about how well he could act, but he did a fine job.

I was not expecting the amount of genuine humor in this movie.  I thought there might be a few “groaner” laughs and maybe some wit, but this movie was full of actual “laugh out loud” funny moments.  I was blown away at the quality of the dialog.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not going to win a screenwriting Oscar or anything; that said, there was some witty repartee and enough genuine humor to keep almost anyone interested in the movie.

There are also some good moral messages in this movie, if you can believe that.  B.A. Baracus has to do some soul searching, and Hannibal helps him remember himself in the movie.  The members of the team are all Army Rangers, and their loyalty to one another is exemplary.  There is also a good plot line about good triumphing over evil and justice triumphing over injustice.  Granted you’ll have to dig a bit to get these out of a summer blockbuster, they are still there to be found.

I was also worried going in about sexual content, but the movie was great.  If you’re a fan of the show you know that Face is quite the ladies’ man.  While that facet of his personality is part of the movie and plays a role, in reality it is a genuine love interest that advances a crucial plot point.  There was no nudity and really no cheesecake.  (though Bradley Cooper is a handsome fellow and the ladies might enjoy some of the beefcake)  See below for more, though.

The Bad:

There is violence.  Lots of it.  If you go to this movie, expect lots of things to blow up, bullets to fly everywhere, and people to die.  There is no blood or gore, but it’s a summer action movie.  Expect that going in.

There is a good dose of language in this movie.  Like WAY too much  for a PG-13 movie.  My favorite movie review site has this to say:

One full “m‑‑‑‑‑f‑‑‑er” and at least two more that stop short of the full obscenity. Around 25 s-words and three obscene gestures make for an even fouler adventure. God’s name is misused about 10 times, often coupled with “d‑‑n.” Jesus’ name is abused nearly that many times. There is also a couple-dozen uses of “h‑‑‑” and about a dozen each of “a‑‑” and “a‑‑hole.” Other language includes “d‑‑n,” “p‑‑‑ed,” and “b‑‑ch.”

Because of the language I would not recommend this movie to kids.  Laura and I were both really surprised that it got a PG-13 rating rather than R, if only for the language.  I didn’t think that the MPAA would let the first reference in the above quote go in a PG-13 movie.

While there is no nudity, Faceman does get caught in adultery early in the movie.  There is also a scene at the end where there is some dialog after he receives a conjugal visit in prison.  They didn’t bother me and my sensitive conscience, but this movie is certainly not squeaky clean.

More than anything, though, the big issue with this movie is the ethic that the ends justifies the means.  The team is a crack group of Rangers who get framed for a crime they didn’t commit, and set about proving their innocence.  They do that, though, by escaping from federal prison, lying, killing, and all that jazz.  No innocent people die, but they still completely ignore the concept of justice in their actions in order to prove the injustice of their conviction.

The Bottom Line:

I loved this movie.  I absolutely loved it.  Laura enjoyed it too!  Don’t go see it expecting it to be a chick flick or a tale of redemption.  Don’t go to ponder the meaning of life or to make you want to be a better disciple of Jesus.  But if you want to just be entertained for two hours and take in a pretty darned good summer action film, make “the A Team” part of your plans.

One thought on ““A Team”: A-Plus

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *