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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
Click poster to enlarge
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Liam Neeson
Bradley Cooper
Quinton Jackson
Sharlto Copley
Jessica Biel
Brian Bloom.
Directors
Joe Carnahan.
Screenwriters
Running Time
119 minutes

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The A-Team
If you need a loud action flick, if no-one else can help etc. etc...


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Plot
Army rangers Hannibal (Neeson), Face (Cooper), B. A. (Jackson) and Murdoch (Copley) are a badass Special Ops team until they’re stitched up and jailed. Can they escape, find stolen US Mint plates and capture sleazeball Pike (Bloom) in under two hours?


Review
The A-Team
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You could write reams trying to explain the plot of The A-Team. Which is ironic, given it’s the least important element to this boisterous upscaling of the ’80s TV shoot-’em-up. The half-inched treasury plates our “Alpha team” are tracking put the guff in MacGuffin. Really, you won’t care. And if you make the mistake of engaging your brain, you could fly, say, a tank through the plot holes. Yes, that tank. The airborne armoured vehicle was the trailer’s talking point, and it’s a shame marketing robbed the movie of this surprise. But at least you know what you’re paying for: something as big on spectacle as it is short on sense. This, though, was always part of the original’s appeal. It was daft — often deliriously so, with its four ’Nam vets playing Robin Hood for various unfortunates, often with the aid of DIY weaponry knocked together as quickly as you could say MONTAGE. The conflict may have changed — from the Far to the Mid East, with Iraq the setting for the team’s initial disgrace — but, pleasingly, little else has.

As with the show, the plot exists to showcase the characters — characters director/co-writer Joe Carnahan (Narc, Smokin’ Aces) has largely preserved. This is important not in order to satisfy thirtysomethings nostalgic for their erstwhile teatime telly carnage, but because Hannibal, Face, B. A. and Murdoch are what make the A-Team unique. In today’s cinema, action scenes are often interchangeable — crash, bang and CG-wallop, there’s nothing that can’t be done — but people are not. 20th Century Fox must see this as their Bond, their Bourne, but with a four-fold chance of viewers finding a hero: the wise one, the fit one, the hard one, the mad one. The actors go from solid to strong. Pro fighter ‘Rampage’ (Quinton to his mum) is convincingly muscular, if lacking Mr. T’s charisma. Liam Neeson has George Peppard’s decency, but not his smugness. It’s Cooper and Copley, aceing swagger and insanity respectively, who best both capture and yet re-forge their iconic characters.

The introduction to each is quickly, slickly made, then — snip — “eight years... 80 successful missions later”, it’s time for things to get FUBAR, messed up by mercenaries Hannibal dubs “assassins in polo shirts”. The action is episodes from the off: the intro, the set-up, the escape etc. Initially effective — particularly in a sequence that cuts back and forth between the plan and how it plays out — it becomes chaotic and meandering, undercut by an ineffective narrative sleight of hand that provides zero surprise, but robs the story of a strong villain. What we’re left with is a movie of moments and people we’d like to see more of (naturally... this couldn’t be more attuned to a franchise if it were called A-Team: The Curse Of The American Mint). The end plays out like a bad video-game, replete with bodies that disappear like so many pixels, so keeping the ultra-violence 12A-rated. Still, in this again it shares the silliness of its progenitor, which was noted for its bloodless brutality. For good or ill, Carnahan has captured the tone of the TV series. Although deciding the soundtrack works without properly utilising the glorious original theme is like deciding sex is better without orgasm. Pity the fool…


Verdict
An energetic escape from Development Hell: suitably OTT, often fun and always loud. The villainy is underpowered, the plot a mess, but Cooper and Copley impress. We, er, quite like it when a plan comes together.


Reviewed by Nev Pierce


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Your Reviews

Average user rating for The A-Team
Empire Star Rating

RE: Unsurprising

The A-Team is utterly convinced of its own lovability even as it strains our credibility, abuses our patience, and punishes our eardrumseam ... More

Posted by chang at 09:42, 31 December 2013 | Report This Post


RE: A-Team, awesome job, bummed No A-Team 2

L: clownfoot Currently watching on Film 4. The A-Team has become a glourious guilty pleasure... hy would you feel bad about liking this movie? It's sooooooo much fun!!!! ... More

Posted by musht at 18:29, 01 December 2013 | Report This Post


RE: A-Team, awesome job, bummed No A-Team 2

Currently watching on Film 4. The A-Team has become a glourious guilty pleasure... ... More

Posted by clownfoot at 22:26, 29 November 2013 | Report This Post


A-Team, awesome job, bummed No A-Team 2

I completely loved this movie!!!! I love the entire casr & Liam Neeson has reached the inevitable screen presence & breathtaking sex appeal "Sean Connery" style, GRR LIAM!!!..Bradley always makes our toes curl,Jackson rocked the role of B.A. & Copley certainly turned my head vs. District 9 role...I love this casr even Jessica B. gets A++ even though she kissed Bradley, lucky Capt., Sorry Mr. T all due respect but I still enjoyed this more, my adoration to your alpha team &... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by LMW4725 at 17:53, 28 July 2012 | Report This Post


The A-Team Review

For better and for worse, Joe Carnahan's big-screen version of The A-Team captures the superficial, noisy spirit of the TV series. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 12:47, 18 March 2012 | Report This Post


no plan whatsoever

looked forwards to seeing this a film which hasnt got a show stopping tv show to live up to and with just very few rules to follow 1 make it big and amazing 2 blow loads of stuff up 3 dont give out the orgin story on the team no need and 4 make ba a walking badman sadly they only follow rule 2 and and as the second film got scrapped that just about says it all ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by chrisharvey1551 at 01:57, 26 January 2012 | Report This Post


I (Do not) Love It When A Plan Comes Together ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Ciaran McDaid at 11:24, 16 October 2011 | Report This Post


Impeccably cast

Sure, it's loud, silly, kinda lacking plot wise - but who cares. It's incredibly fun watching these four guys who's obviously having a ball... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by amerelium at 16:00, 15 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: The A-Team

Another example of a film that does what it says on the tin. It promises action and it delievers big time. All 4 of the main actors perform their parts very well and play close to the characters from the original series. Fans of the orignal A-Team will not be let down. It was also nice to see a cameo from the legendary Dirk Benedict! ... More

Posted by wilky007 at 15:49, 27 March 2011 | Report This Post


Big, Brash And Brainless

Whilst I wholehearted believe they could not have secured any better leads, the film feels laboured, and almost like a tribute than a hark back to the TV show days. After an exciting introduciton sequence involving Hannibal, I was looking forward to an edge-of-seat, thrilling story and great acting (as we know what the cast is capable of). However, whilst the film is exciting and a lot of fun, it's also rather brainless and feels underdeveloped. On an entertainment scope, it's a winner. On every... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaud at 14:59, 19 March 2011 | Report This Post


loud and stupid mess ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ARmy2510 at 18:58, 10 March 2011 | Report This Post


RE: The A-Team

It is one of those rare films which is actually better than the trailers. The trailers made the film look like it would be awful but in reality it is a fun film which, whilst it won't stay with you long, is entertaining and doesn't outstay its welcome. ... More

Posted by sanchia at 17:43, 01 January 2011 | Report This Post


RE: The A-Team

Silly and ridiculous? Yes. Incredibly good fun and in parts actually quite funny? Also yes. I don't know what some people expected then they went too, or rented, 'The A-Team.' Sit in and watch 'Inception' if you want the polar opposite, they came out on DVD at exactly the same time. This made what started out as quite a lame NYE for myself, a high-octane and highly enjoyable intro followed by an easy yet enthralling hour and a half odd. I tell you something, with regards to taking fanatical act... More

Posted by Goodfella at 15:39, 01 January 2011 | Report This Post


Classic. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by reminn at 10:26, 14 December 2010 | Report This Post


I was pleasantly suprised! Witty but quite silly on occasions. More a DVD watch than a cinema trip, but still even though I am a straight guy I just cant help loving Bradley Cooper in movies. He just comes across how Id imagine him to be in real life, cheeky and funny. In some parts of the film it does get a little out of hand with the sillyness expecially when it comes to flying tanks. But I guess you have to take it with a pinch of salt and accept it for what it is. A moderately funny, moderat... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by holsgroved at 15:12, 11 December 2010 | Report This Post


Fun Silliness

Just like the TV show - fun nonsense. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Ref at 12:40, 05 December 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Fun!

I loved watching this...... Can't quite make up my mind whether I'll buy it on dvd when it comes out, but for sheer entertainment value it was brilliant.  It was everything I thought it was going to be before I saw it; over the top, ridiculous, laughable but inherently enjoyable with it.  And as I was saying in a discussion in another thread about it, I think Carnahan managed to make us laugh along with the characters at the outrageous action, rather than the film itself which is quit... More

Posted by Sway at 23:08, 16 August 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Decent

Watch the series for the theme tune ... More

Posted by BOHEMIANBOB at 00:09, 12 August 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Decent

Quality cheese - damn good fun, great banter between the team but one complaint - NOT ENOUGH THEME TUNE! Solid 3 stars ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Marwood at 23:31, 11 August 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Decent

Films based on TV shows have a habit of being rather poor, but The A-Team is far better than you might expect. It's a real balls-to-the-wall action movie, moving at a fast and furious pace and delivering plenty of laughs along the way. Some sequences are really inspired in a cool and crazy way, such as a parachuting tank and a van crashing through a wall behind which people are watching a film in 3D and think the crash is part of the film. The climax though,which basically consists of blowin... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dr Lenera at 11:39, 08 August 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Unsurprising

Went to see it AGAIN and its still fucking claaaaassssss ... More

Posted by musht at 00:34, 06 August 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Unsurprising

Saw this last night and thought it was damn good fun.Fast paced,loud,action packed,and the cast are al great.Completely disposable entertainment that wont win any oscars and will probably fade from the memory before too long but great fun while it lasts. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by darth silas at 19:49, 05 August 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Unsurprising

L: ayelewis dirk benedict and dwight schulz do have cameos in the movie..they weren't cut heir scenes were cut out of the actual film but apparently you can see them after the credits. ... More

Posted by Shifty Bench at 14:31, 05 August 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The A-Team

Director: Joe Carnahan Screenwriters: Joe Carnahan, Brian Bloom, Skip Woods Starring: Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Jessica Biel, Quinton ’Rampage’ Jackson, Sharlto Copley, Patrick Wilson Synopsis When a team of Iraq War veterans are convicted of a crime they didn’t commit, the soldiers led by Colonel Hannibal Smith (Neeson) will do anything to clear their names. Review Many American TV shows which were clearly products of the 1980s have currently been given reboots. For instan... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by R W at 13:59, 05 August 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Unsurprising

Just saw it this evening ad story, lots of nonsense action and laughs - good enough 3/5 ... More

Posted by Charlie Green at 22:25, 03 August 2010 | Report This Post


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