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Home Blog Popcorn Parent Movie Reviews Movie Review: The A-Team (PG-13)

Movie Review: The A-Team (PG-13)

A-Minus for Lighthearted, Explodey Fun

By Kristen Page-Kirby

If you’re looking for a comparison of the new “A-Team” movie to the iconic 80s series, I’m afraid I’m not your gal. But that aside, I can tell you that the movie is super fun and, if you don’t mind some rough language, pretty good family entertainment.

The film starts with the team—a ragtag bunch of current and former Army Rangers—meeting up. The brains behind the operation is Hannibal Smith (Liam Neeson, setting a new standard for silver foxes in cinema); his mentee is the charismatic Face (Bradley Cooper….mmmmmmmmmmmm). Quinton “Rampage” Jackson plays the Mr. T-originated BA Baracus, and Sharlto Copely is the charmingly insane Murdock. The foursome becomes a covert ops team, routinely violating international laws, laws of propriety and laws of physics in an effort to defend democracy and blow stuff up.

After they’re wrongly accused of stealing, the men are sent to prison, only to bust out and start navigating the double- and triple-crosses that sent them to jail, with various and sundry characters, including a surprisingly competent performance by Jessica Biel as an …Army…person…who does something, and the attractively slimy CIA agent Lynch (Patrick Wilson) playing the parts of people they should maybe trust. Or maybe not.

The plot of the movie is predictable, but the fast-paced, snappy dialogue and easy camaraderie of the team members makes it a simple trip that’s a pleasure to take. Neeson and Cooper’s performances in particular construct a deeper, more complex relationship between the two characters. Cooper in particular is a pleasure to watch, even when he keeps his shirt on–the charm that he’s been honing in romantic comedies and the comedic timing he showed in “The Hangover” have merged in this character to really show off Cooper’s best talents. However, Jackson can’t quite handle the journey his character takes when he suddenly decides to renounce violence (and, frankly, it’s a stupid diversion that’s not handled well by the writers, either, so I don’t entirely blame him.)

There is plenty of cursing of the a-word, GD, s-word variety. The f-word is hinted at but never explicitly used. Face and Sosa are exes and there are hints of Face’s other conquests, but nothing is ever shown but a few kisses. Cooper appears with his shirt off, but there’s no other nudity. The violence is plentiful—many, many things go boom and many, many people die. However, you see only one dead body. Because violence doesn’t count if the dead guys are faceless! Oh, and Hannibal smokes cigars. A lot. Because mouth cancer is sexy. (Actually, Liam Neeson could be licking a toilet seat and still find a way to make it sexy. But smoking is bad, kids!)

All in all, this is a tightly woven, fun film that flies by in under two hours. It’s easy on the brain, easy on the eyes and, in a weak summer, “The A-Team” is a nice treat.

Kristen Page-Kirby last reviewed “Babies.”

Also out this week is “The Karate Kid.”

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