I pity the fool that takes this movie too seriously. Director Joe Carnahan's adaptation of the classic eighties TV show is exactly in the same vein as the original. It's a light romp with lots of stuff blowing up and ridiculous over-the-top action scenes. Some people have lambasted this film as being too cartoonish, but if memory serves me correctly, the series was exactly the same. This isn't going to be an anyone's awards list, but is an entertaining popcorn flick. I had doubts about the casting initially, but am happy with how the characters were fleshed out. Sans the shirtless scenes with Bradley Cooper (Faceman). Somebody buy that guy a shirt. He's turning out to be the thirty-something Taylor Lautner with all this dudity.
The opening scene, an insanely unrealistic helicopter chase lays the groundwork for the characters. We find out how Colonel Hannibal Smith (Liam Neeson) ends up commanding a group of ragtag miscreants, all with their own unique personalities and skills. There's Lt. Templeton "Faceman" Peck (Cooper), a pretty-boy womanizer who's the charmer. Then you have the muscle, Bosco "B.A." Baracus (Quentin Jackson). Lastly, there's the totally insane but bad-assed pilot Murdock (Sharlto Copley). They became an elite Alpha Team, used by the Army for covert black operations. Tricked into helping steal counterfeit bill plates, The A-Team goes on the run to clear their name; with a hot army officer (Jessica Biel) and duplicitous CIA agent (Patrick Wilson) in pursuit.
Anyone who was a fan of the TV show will like this movie. If you never saw the show, then steer clear of this one. It would seem incredibly stupid if you walked in cold. That said, Hannibal's cigar-chewing scheming, Faceman's skirt-chasing, B.A. and Murdock arguing, it's a page from my childhood. I loved The A-Team as a kid. Even though every episode was the same, including the climax where they build some kind of vehicle to get the bad guys, it does have the boyish appeal. The film totally succeeds in recreating that vibe. They make an attempt to throw some curves into the plot, but it really is a two hour version of the show. This is fine by me, but probably not too interesting to those who aren't familiar with the characters.
I will admit that Liam Neeson and Quentin Jackson are not spectacular as Hannibal and B.A. But replacing George Peppard and Mr. T from the original is a near impossible task. They did their best and it's a decent effort. I had expected Joe Carnahan to deliver a grittier, more realistic film, but I'm glad he chose to stay with the tone of the show. It may not be for all audiences, but will make the diehard fans happy.