If you can’t whistle the theme song for “The A-Team”, or at least the first few bars off the top of your head, then Joe Carnahan’s big-screen adaptation of the ’80s action-adventure TV show isn’t for you. But if you’re one of those people who appreciate badass action movies, then the film will most definitely be your cup of tea. Or, in this case, cup of gasoline. Jump back into the van for more action and explosions with the boys when “The A-Team” arrives on DVD and Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox on December 14, 2010.
Buckle up for an adrenaline-fueled thrill ride starring Liam Neeson (Taken), Bradley Cooper (The Hangover), Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (UFC Star), and Sharlto Copley (District 9). Convicted by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit, a daring team of former Special Forces soldiers must utilize their unique talents to break out of prison and tackle their toughest mission yet. It’s going to take guts, split-second timing and an arsenal of explosive weapons…this is a job for The A-Team!
My favorite line from the film is when Jessica Biel, playing an Army Captain, explains to her men just what exactly Hannibal and his crew are capable of, saying that they “specialize in the ridiculous”. That pretty much sums up the entire movie: Joe Carnahan’s “The A-Team” specializes in the ridiculous, because it is, without a doubt, ridiculously fun times.
Liam Neeson fronts the cast as Hannibal, who could have been the world’s most elusive and dangerous evil criminal mastermind if he hadn’t gone to work for Uncle Sam as an Army Ranger. Instead of robbing banks for personal gain, though, Hannibal leads a ragtag group of badasses pulling off impossible jobs for the Army. His crew consists of B.A. (UFC MMA fighter Quinton Rampage Jackson), the handsome Faceman (Bradley Cooper), and the pilot Howling Mad Murdock (Sharlto Copley), who may or may not be slightly insane. Okay, he’s pretty much fully insane, but that just makes him perfect for Hannibal’s crew.
After a stint in the Army ends with the boys framed for a crime they did not commit, they promptly make their escape and set off to clear their names. They are pursued by Jessica Biel’s Army Captain, as well as a shady CIA agent played by “Watchmen’s” Patrick Wilson. Can the boys prove their innocence before a shadowy conspiracy does them in? I don’t know, but I do know this: lots of stuff blows up real good, and fun is had by all.
The word of the day here is “fun”. “The A-Team” isn’t going to win any awards, but oh man is it fun. Neeson is brilliantly cast as Hannibal, along with Cooper as Faceman. These two work so flawlessly together you easily believe that they have been doing this for a couple of decades now. Copley, a confessed “A-Team” fanboy, is vastly entertaining as Murdock, while Jackson, in his first major role (he’s done plenty of direct-to-DVD fighting films), won’t make anyone forget Mister T., but then again, it’s not like there was a lot for him to do here. He does alright, though.
If you missed “The A-Team” in theaters, I do recommend picking up the DVD or Blu-ray. Especially if you’re able to hum the first couple of bars to the “A-Team” theme song, then Joe Carnahan made this movie specifically for you. As someone who grew up with the boys in the ’80s, I was very pleased by the big-screen treatment. The only nitpicks I have involve the iconic van and cameos by the original castmembers. Both are sadly limited.
Blu-ray Special Features:
- Theatrical Version: The version you saw in theaters, which runs an hour and 58 mins.
- Extended Version: The Unrated version, which runs two hours and 13 mins, so about 15 minutes of extra footage.
- The Devil’s in the Details: Inside the Action with Joe Carnahan: Only available with the theatrical version, featuring director Joe Carnahan doing a feature-length audio commentary on the movie. I could do without the “Plan” ticker, though, since it doesn’t really add anything to the movie for me and I found it a bit distracting. Making it all bright red didn’t exactly help, either.
- Deleted Scenes: 9:05 mins. Not really deleted scenes, more like extended versions of existing scenes, including B.A.’s Mexican chop shop fight, the German airport escape, and the cargo yard finale.
- Gag Reel: 7:19 mins. Gags, flubs, and other assorted goofiness from the cast and crew.
- A-Team Theme Mash-Up Montage: 1:36 mins. The theme song set to a minute a half of stuff blowing up from the movie. Basically, a great opening credit sequence if they ever decide to do another “A-Team” TV show.
- Plan of Attack: 28:39 mins. Behind-the-scenes documentary focusing on co-writer/director Joe Carnahan’s approach to shooting the movie.
- Character Chronicles: 23:11 mins. Mini-featurettes that focuses on different characters (and the actors playing them) from the movie. Sharlto Copley’s is hilarious; I would love to see this guy do a straight-out comedy. The final featurette is called “The B-Team”, which has extra doses of Jessica Biel, and that’s never a bad thing.
- Visual Effects Before and After with Commentary by Visual Effects Supervisor James E. Price: 6:11 mins. A very nifty “show and tell” featuring the film’s many visual effects. I’m always amazed what are either completely computer-generated or computer-assisted visual effects from a major Hollywood movie. Great stuff, and way too short at just over six minutes.
- Theatrical Trailer