The A-Team (2010) Movie Review


Liam Neeson, Sharlto Copley, Quinton Rampage Jackson, and Bradley Cooper in The A-Team (2010) Movie Image

Like the ‘80s action-adventure show that it’s based on, “Narc” director Joe Carnahan’s 2010 big-screen adaptation of “The A-Team” is big-time fun for those who realize that a movie based on a ‘80s action-adventure show should not be taken too seriously. And so, when Hannibal’s outrageously complicated plans go down like clockwork, and the bad guys can’t hit the broad side of a barn unless the plot needs them to, you just smile and go with it, because to do otherwise would be to spend the film’s nearly two hours bitching and moaning about how that was impossible, no, that was even more impossible than the last, etc. And really, why punish yourself when it’s so unnecessary?

As with the TV show, “The A-Team” chronicles the exploits of four highly trained Army Rangers, specialists in getting things done in the most ridiculous way possible. (As a character declares, these guys “specialize in the ridiculous.” Oh, truer words…) When they are framed for a crime they did not commit, the men must go on the run to clear their names. But wait! That’s about 40 minutes into our tale. When we first meet them, they have not become the A-team yet. In the beginning, there was only mastermind Hannibal (Liam Neeson), on an operation with his trusted sidekick Faceman (Bradley Cooper) in Mexico. There, they meet the Mohawk-sporting B.A. Baracus (Quinton “Rampage” Jackson), a fellow Ranger doing, well, criminal things in Mexico. It’s never really clear what he’s doing that has him fleeing from Mexican cops. Before the First Act is over, the trio crosses paths with the appropriately named Howling Mad Murdock (Sharlto Copley). And the rest, as they say, is history.

Bradley Cooper and Liam Neeson in The A-Team (2010) Movie Image

Fast-forward eight years later, and the gang are doing their thing in Iraq, and have been for the last eight years of the war. They’ve become close now, or as close as the script by Carnahan, Brian Blooms, and Skip Woods manages to get across. (Word is, there were at least a dozen or so screenwriters working on the script over the years. Yikes.) Things start to go wrong for our badasses when shady CIA dude Lynch (Patrick Wilson) recruits them for a mission that everyone, including Army Intelligence Captain Charisa Sosa (Jessica Biel, whose character also happens to be Faceman’s former squeeze, natch) tells them to stay away. But our boys are feeling their oats, and they accomplish the mission in style – only to find themselves framed for the murder of a trusted General (Gerald McRaney) and the theft of some fancy schmancy money prints or such. You know, the McGuffin. Suffice to say, the boys go on the run to clear their names, and much shit is blown up along the way.

If you’re a fan of the ‘80s action-adventure show, then the movie version should more than meet your expectations. It’s appropriately outrageous in every way, stuff blows up quite often and loudly, and all the iconic images and phrases from the show sneak appearances here and there. (At one point Hannibal even whips out a Ruger Mini-14, the TV show’s trademark assault rifle.) Director Joe Carnahan obviously had no intention of shitting all over the show, and it shows, from the casting (Neeson and Copley, in particular, are dead ringers for their TV counterparts) to all the little hints and winks that he manages to throw in. Unfortunately, B.A.’s van gets a criminally short appearance before it is pancaked, and although news had original castmembers Dirk Benedict and Dwight Schultz (the original Faceman and Murdock) making appearances, I honestly didn’t glimpse them in the movie. Too bad Carnahan couldn’t have given them bigger roles instead of blink-and-you’ll-miss cameos. Don’t they deserve that much, if not more?

The A-Team (2010) Movie Image

The action comes pretty fast and furious, and the film itself is separated into a seemingly endless string of action set pieces, opening in Mexico and finishing up in a Los Angeles dock. I can safely say that you will never be bored by the film. Plus, there are plenty of excuses to pay attention aside from the action. Jessica Biel is excellent as the persistent Army babe chasing our heroes, and “Watchmen’s” Patrick Wilson seems to be channeling a less evil (though admittedly still pretty evil) version of Jason Patric’s “Max” character from “The Losers”. Wilson has a ball, as does co-star/co-writer Brian Bloom, playing a spirited mercenary named Pike. And hey, if amusing supporting characters (and a smoking hot Jessica Biel) doesn’t keep you awake, you can always chuckle at UFC fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson trying his darnedest to act. Let’s just say there’s a reason the guy started his career beating people up and not in community theater.

Like “The Losers”, a film that owes more than a little inspiration to “The A-Team”, Joe Carnahan’s film rocks the joint if you allow it to. Oh sure, it’s all very absurd and impossible and devoid of any real-world logic, and for some reason the script decides it would like Hannibal to start handling over the reins to Faceman (Really, guys? Already? The first movie? Couldn’t we get one whole movie where Hannibal is Top Dog before he starts passing the torch?), but if you stick with it, and you accept it at face value, “The A-Team” might just be the most fun you’ll have at the theaters this year. Or at the very least, you’ll feel like you got your money’s worth, which in my book is the same thing.

Joe Carnahan (director) / Joe Carnahan, Brian Bloom, Skip Woods (screenplay)
CAST: Liam Neeson … Hannibal
Bradley Cooper … Face
Jessica Biel … Charisa Sosa
Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson … B.A. Baracus
Sharlto Copley … Murdock
Patrick Wilson … Lynch
Gerald McRaney … General Morrison
Henry Czerny … Director McCready
Brian Bloom … Pike

Buy The A-Team on DVD

Author: Nix

Editor/Writer at Likes: long walks on the beach and Kevin Costner post-apocalyptic movies. Dislikes: 3D, shaky cam, and shaky cam in 3D. Got a site issue? Wanna submit Movie/TV news? Or to email me in regards to anything on the site, you can do so at nix (at)
  • Dedpool aka Jiinx

    Glad you liked it. Also glad you liked “The Losers” and that that movie didn't lose points after seeing this, and even got a little mention in the review. I can't wait to see this. I'm a little sad the cameos are so quick even you didn't see them but I still look forward to this and possibly a sequel from one or both of these flicks.

  • Nix

    The A-Team has a better ending, i.e. it didn't offer some lame “to be continued” ending that The Losers tried to get away with. Overall, I still liked both films, though I will admit, The Losers's ending still grinds on me when I think about it.

  • yescando

    sit through the credits for the surprise

  • Havana_joe

    The cameos were after the credits. Two small scenes, one with the new Face talking to the original Face about the tanning beds, and then one where the original Murdock is a doctor and giving the new Murdock shock treatment.

  • Davyke

    there was also a trivia in the movie

    where the a-team saves the new murdock using a real humvee truck and the the movie shown on a projector in the mad house hospital

    the shown movie stated “the greater escape” along with the original tune from the a-team as it aired on tv in the 80's

    before the title “the greater escape” appeared, there was the name “reginald barclay”,
    assuming that it was name of an actor

    but that name is the same personage Dwight Shultz (original Murdock) performed on Star Trek Next Generation

  • Dedpool aka Jiinx

    Sorry the end bothered you so much. I think they did not just in hopes of a sequel but to try and even it out with the comics. in the comics we don't even know who Max really is at the end of the first arc, so they probably wanted to leave it somewhat open. There are four volumes I believe and the movie only dealt with the first, “Ante Up.”

  • Bad Zack

    saw it last night at AMC for $5.00 at 11pm – i liked it thought it was great — 2 things about liam

    – 1. he has a solid action career with movies like taken and a-team if he wanted to continue ops and military roles he thrives in these.

    – 2. JULIEEEEEE …. ( darkman )

  • Bad Zack

    saw it last night at AMC for $5.00 at 11pm – i liked it thought it was great — 2 things about liam

    – 1. he has a solid action career with movies like taken and a-team if he wanted to continue ops and military roles he thrives in these.

    – 2. JULIEEEEEE …. ( darkman )

  • Kamil0999

    I just felt the same with B.A van and cameos of those 2..Eh.But anyway it was to cool to give us full oryginal A-Team.But still the movie was so cracking that I give it 8/10.Minus for to many special ridicilous things and action to be taken in iraq.I think about this movie as a prequel to whole A-Team Tv show.We see how they meet,what was the cause of their imprisonment etc.:)

  • Jhoth

    I saw the A-Team last night and your review is spot on. I was a huge fan of the original series and I was happy the movie didn't reinvent the original characters, but rather just slightly deviated from them. The movie was shallow, some what corny, far from reality….but it was fun! It's just like the original series….good ol' stupid fun. I thought the casting was pretty good and the sound was great. If you liked the original series, you will enjoy this. Just like the review, take it for what it is and sit back and enjoy it.