The A-Team **1/2 (out of ****)

Director: Joe Carnahan
Writers: Carnahan, Brian Bloom and Skip Woods based on the TV series
Cast: Liam Neeson, Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Patrick Wilson
Rating: PG-13 (intense sequences of action and violence throughout, language and smoking)
Running Time: 117 min
Release Date: 6/11/10

When the suits in Hollywood have completely ran out of ideas for a new movie they have two ever present resources: remake a movie from twenty or more years ago or make a movie version of an old TV series. The A-Team is of course the latter. In this updated version our heroes are Iraq veterans who are framed for a crime they didn’t commit rather than Vietnam veterans with the same problem.

After an opening scene in Mexico involving an escape from a corrupt local general and some drug gang members, the team finds its self in Iraq where they are the Army’s best covert operations group. What every happened to Delta Force? But, I digress. It seems that Saddam Hussein has managed to steal plates to counterfeit perfect U.S. hundred dollar bills from the Iranians. The A-Team takes on the mission to recover these plates before some one other than our own Federal Reserve debases our currency.

Meanwhile a nefarious CIA operative also has designs on the plates and enlists civilian contractors from a company known as “Black Forest” to get them first. In an operational plan that doesn’t “come together” an army general is killed and the plates are lost. Or, so it would seem. The A-Team is court-martialed and sentenced to ten years in prison. This film gives us the back story that of how the A-Team became fugitives. If it is successful enough we may even have sequels every two years or so. We can all be looking forward to that!

The CIA still wants the plates and makes a deal with Hannibal (Liam Neeson) to break the team out of prison so that they can recover the plates in exchange for getting clean records. The breakout brings Charisa (Jessica Biel), an ex-girlfriend of Face (Bradley Cooper), who leads the army team tasked with investigating the escape and recapturing them. A rather strange choice for the army to make given the potential conflicting motivations don’t you think? Even more implausible are the various actions scenes the most laughable of which is one in which our heroes are in a tank that is breaking its fall by firing its main gun for thrust.

As the team searches for the missing plate they make a surprising discovery which would erase their convictions. BA (Quinton “Rampage” Jackson) eventually overcomes a serious case of pacifism which contracted while in prison. The conflict of interest between Charisa’s duty and her feelings for Face emerges. And, we have ample action scenes. The A-Team is a not very remarkable big screen adaptation of a not very remarkable TV series. But, it is an acceptable couple of hour’s entertainment for action fans.

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