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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “‘A-Team’ reloads, blasts into theaters”


    “”The A-Team”” aims to be an easy, breezy summer blockbuster, and it hits the target more often than not.

    The movie begins in Mexico with Col. John “”Hannibal”” Smith (Liam Neeson) bringing together his team. Eight years later, the seasoned team is in Iraq for the end of Saddam Hussein’s regime. The A-Team takes on an unofficial mission to recover some U.S. Treasury plates. After the shooting and exploding are over, the group succeeds, but everything goes wrong once they return to base. Misunderstandings ensue and the members are then court-martialed. Cue The A-Team’s first mission.

    Like other ’80s revivals, “”The A-Team”” has to retain the spirit of the original TV series while updating the story for today’s audiences. So instead of being Green Berets who robbed the Bank of Hanoi to end the Vietnam War, they are now Army Rangers trying to recover U.S. Treasury plates kept by Saddam Hussein’s regime after the first Gulf War. This also means much of the style, character tics and familiar catchphrases from the original TV series are thrown into the mix. This puts the movie in an awkward position.

    Let’s start and end with the acting, because the two-hour story and the jittery, jumpy action sequences that characterize most modern blockbusters don’t really matter. Neeson brings the right amount of authority and dignified charisma to Hannibal while continuing his streak of being a formidable badass onscreen.

    After Mr. T capitalized on his catchphrase in recent years and thus became a part of pop culture for a new generation, mixed martial artist Quinton “”Rampage”” Jackson has the toughest role with Sgt. Bosco “”B.A.”” Baracus. The pitying of fools does come out throughout the movie and he does seem self-conscious about it at times, but Jackson balances such moments with solid acting elsewhere.

    Bradley Cooper and Sharlto Copley are interesting extremes. Cooper has the passable charm for Lt. Templeton “”Face”” Peck, but that’s overshadowed by his frat boy-like enthusiasm during the action scenes. This Face is not the smarmy, gentlemanly lady’s man of yesteryear, but a man who is comfortable with two-fisted beer shotguns at a party as he is with the three-piece suits that adorn the covers of GQ magazine. He is Hollywood’s modern man, which might explain why he has the most screen time.

    As the follow-up to his lead role in “”District 9,”” Copley reminds us again how he can captivate an audience. Copley succeeds in projecting the wide-eyed enthusiasm and looniness of H.M. “”Howling Mad”” Murdock and maintaining it throughout the movie with what appears to be ad-libbing. It’s hard to tell what’s going on in his mind, but you’re glad he’s around. It’s a shame we don’t see more of Copley.

    “”The A-Team”” is filled with ridiculous explosions and schemes, topped with moments of cheekiness, especially when the supporting cast members take big bites out of their scenes. As with most plans, not everything in “”The A-Team”” comes together, but when it does (wait for the end of the credits), it sure is a lot of fun.

    Final Grade: B

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