What do you get when you put Bradley Cooper, Sharlto Copley, Liam Neeson and Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson together in one film? Entertainment, pure entertainment. If you haven’t seen the film, you may be unfamiliar with some of the names above. Bradley Cooper is Phil from The Hangover, Sharlto Copley took the lead in District 9, Liam Neeson has been in just about everything and Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, well he’s kind of the rookie here, fairly new to acting, but most well known for his UFC days.
As a remake of the classic TV show of the same name, this has been a movie that fans have wanted for some time now. While some will argue that nothing can beat the original four cast members, from the television show, I’ll argue that this foursome does a pretty good job, exuding great chemistry and providing for some solid entertainment.
The A-Team is best described as an action-comedy film and follows our four heroes, Hannibal, Face, B.A. Baracus and Murdock. It’s a classic story and one you should be familiar with if you watched the show. Our foursome goes about their daily lives working as The A-Team, an elite army team. When they’re framed for a crime they didn’t commit, they are imprisoned and locked away. Of course, escape isn’t exactly challenging for our heroes and before we know it, they’re out of prison, on the run, and trying to clear their names.
As mentioned before, I think they really did a great job in picking the cast. Aside from Jackson whose not much of an actor, the other three leads are very good, and as a foursome, they work great together. They really make the film work and I couldn’t have asked for a better cast. Copley and Cooper provide most of the humor, as expected, Neeson plays the seasoned veteran and team leader, a role he knows all too well, and Jackson walks around looking tough and acting, well, badass.
They all play off each other really well and their chemistry is great to watch on screen. Copley is especially funny, which is nice to see since last time we saw him (in District 9), he didn’t get much of a chance to showcase his humor. On the whole, when it comes to humor, the movie gets it right. There are some seriously funny lines here and most likely, you’ll find yourself laughing out loud on numerous occasions.
Things also go pretty well for the film when it comes to the action. As expected, you get all the visual effects and fancy stunt work that you could ask for. The action set pieces are big, bold, over the top, and a ton of fun to watch. The majority of them border on unrealistic, but some of them are pretty imaginative and original. Definitely entertaining stuff here.
While the film has a lot of good, it does suffer from the usual ‘popcorn movie’ flaws. The story is confusing and has its fair share of plot holes, coincidences seem to happen far too often, characters are poorly developed and the overall film borders on mindless entertainment. But at the end of the day, does it really matter?
If you go in with high expectations for well thought out plots, fully developed characters, deep writing and compelling drama, you’ve come to the wrong place. Let’s get one thing straight, The A-Team is a ‘popcorn flick’, through and through. It has all the right elements. Clumsy story, cardboard characters, over the top and at times unrealistic action, and of course, there’s also the set up for the inevitable sequel.
So, what’s my point? Point is, go in expecting a ‘popcorn flick’, and you’ll enjoy it. See it for what it is, a mindless action movie that will provide exciting thrills and genuine laughs.
As for the Blu-Ray of The A-Team, we get a fairly solid package. For one, we get the extended and unrated cut of the film, which runs for about 2 hours and 15 minutes. It’s a bit long and drawn out, mainly consisting of extra dialogue or prolonged action scenes, but if you’re a fan of the film, you’ll probably want to check it out. Like with most extended/unrated cuts, most of the differences you won’t realize, but there are a few scenes that you’ll notice that weren’t in the theatrical cut. For a full list of differences, go here.
The full list of special features is as follows:
- Movie Theatrical Version
- Explosive Extended Cut
- The Devil is in the Details: Inside the Action with Joe Carnahan
- Never-before-seen Deleted Scenes
- Gag Reel
- A-Team Theme Mash-Up Montage
- Plan of Attack
- Character Chronicles on the five main characters
- Visual Effects Commentary with Visual Effects Supervisor James E. Price
- Digital Copy “How To”
- BD-Live Extras: What’s New and Live Lookup
A good chunk of this is filler so I’ll just go over the worthwhile stuff. The Devil Is In The Details is a feature found only on the theatrical version and is the disc’s commentary track. Director Joe Carnahan provides the commentary and occasionally, it will switch from audio to picture-in-picture. It’s nothing groundbreaking but if you liked the film, check it out, Carnahan is pretty entertaining to listen to and some of the behind the scenes stuff you’re treated to is fairly interesting.
Plan of Attack is the making of feature and it runs for roughly half an hour. It’s not terribly deep but it’s a nice look at the making of the film. You get your usual cast/crew interviews mixed in with some footage from the film and some behind the scenes stuff. We get to see some stunt work, how some of the big action sets were filmed, how some of the effects were put together etc. Overall, it’s worth a watch if you enjoyed the film.
The Visual Effects commentary is only six minutes but it’s pretty cool. It shows you certain scenes from the film and shows us the various stages of CGI that the scene had to go through in order to achieve the desired effect. Accompanying the feature is a commentary from visual effects supervisor James E. Price.
Lastly, we have Character Chronicles which is five featurettes that take on an EPK style. In total, it runs about 25 minutes and focuses on each of the main characters and the actors who play them. The five segments are as follows, Liam Neeson: When a Plan Comes Together,’ ‘Bradley Cooper, Fully Automatic,’ ‘On Set with Rampage Jackson,’ ‘On Set with Sharlto Copley,’ and Jessica Biel, ‘The B-Team.’ Nothing groundbreaking here, but I’d say it’s worth watching. Everything else on the disc is more or less filler and probably isn’t worth your time.
When it comes to the audio and video, things hold up pretty well. The video looks pretty good on the whole, with colours coming off as lush, vibrant and vivid. The picture carries some nice clarity, with only the occasional grain showing up. Fine detail is handled properly throughout and close-ups on the actor’s faces are well done and show nice definition. Contrast levels are well balanced and the only real complaint that can be lodged against it is that a couple of the darker sequences take a hit. There’s also a few too many CG enhanced shots here for my liking, and the superb detail actually makes the CGI effects stand out more than they should.
Audio isn’t too bad either. Dialogue does take a hit at times, with a couple lines being drowned out here and there but other than that, the track sounds good. Bass is tremendous and all the explosions sound fantastic. Whether it is an explosion going off, shells being fired from a tank or loud gunfire, this track will rock your speakers. The surround sound is also handled appropriately and overall, this track will benefit from a proper sound system.
At the end of the day, The A-Team is entertaining, straight up. It’s not a perfect film but it’s a ‘popcorn flick’, and if that’s what you’re looking for, The A-Team won’t disappoint. The action is exciting, the cast is funny, the thrills are genuine and overall, if you go in knowing what to expect, you’re going to have a good time. The Blu-Ray itself may not be the greatest but it’s far from bad. If you haven’t yet seen the film, give it a rent at the very least, and if you have seen it and enjoyed it, you may want to consider a purchase. This is one title I’m happy to have in my collection.
Movie Score: 3.5/5
Video Score: 4/5
Audio Score: 4.5/5
Special Features Score: 3.5/5
Overall Score: 4/5
The A-Team was released on Blu-Ray on December 14th, 2010