Rated PG13/117 min.
Three out of Five Stars
Remakes are a tricky thing. If you re-imagine or re-invent a well-known story, you run the risk of alienating the established audience by going against what they expect to see. If you play it too much for nostalgia and don’t add anything new, you run the risk of alienating everyone else. Enter Joe Carnahan’s lavish adaptation of The A-Team, which offers some updates but mostly gives audiences who loved the show and want a summer, Coke-and-popcorn thrill ride exactly what they want.
For those who aren’t filled with giddy nostalgia whenever they hear that triumphant theme music, the concept of the the show and the movie is pretty simple: four tough, brilliant, loose cannon military men with different skill sets work together under the radar, taking on any mission that comes their way. For Hannibal Smith (Liam Neeson), Face (Bradley Cooper), B.A. Baracus (MMA fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson) and “Mad Dog” Murdock (Sharlto Copely), the goal is to clear their names after a shady assignment goes sour and our heroes are falsely imprisoned.
Carnahan, who directed Narc and Smokin’ Aces, has a gift for staging action and is clearly a huge fan of the show, to the point where this feels like a $100 million dollar pilot for a revised version of the series. This is closer to the cheerful, bubble-gum action comedy that was Charlie’s Angels than the elegantly stylish Mission: Impossible. It’s also self-satisfied, never subtle and completely ridiculous—but who cares? The thrills are thick, the four leads couldn’t be more charismatic or perfectly cast and anyone who savors a great summer movie will sport a grin lasting the entire two hours.
The dialogue is lazy, the plot is silly and unbelievable, it doesn’t know when to end and the emphasis isn’t on character. But I’m letting this one get away with it because I had so much fun.