I ve said it in the past, I think Hollywood can no longer come up with new, brilliant ideas, so more often than not, they go back to things that have worked in the past. They do remakes of old movies/series so that they will have box office success guaranteed (which may explain how many Batman movies we've seen in the last two decades, some more successful than others). However, sometimes the formula brings new life to a good idea. The A-Team movie, although I had my doubts about it at first, revives the premise behind the 80s TV series and breathes in more contemporary content to the concept.
How do you pull such a "tour de force" to revive a classic TV series about Vietnam veterans turned mercenaries for hire? Well, first you swap Vietnam for Desert storm I and II. Then, you do a bang-on casting job. Whoever was in charge of this part of the film made me think I was watching the original characters from the 80s TV series. Physical as well as psychological traits make us believe in this new group of characters. Many people associate Mr.T s role with his famous "I pity the fool" phrases. In the movie, Bosco has "pity" tattooed on his left fist, while "fool" is tattooed to his right fist. I like subtle indications like this.
The way the movie starts, we get an introduction to the 4 "new" characters who are this new A-Team. Hannibal Smith (Liam Neeson) is just as crafty with his plans as the old Colonel Smith. Bosco B.A. Baracus is just as protective of the A-team's van as Mr.T was before he started advertising video games... Lt. Face is still the ladies man he used to be (his love interest in this film? A super hot gun-toting Jessica Biel as Captain Sosa), and finally who can forget H.M. Murdock, the institutionalized crazy nutjob of a pilot the team uses to get them into the air and/or surviving on the way down... They even include some of the signature weapons and tools the A-Team used in the 80s.
The plot in this movie has so many twists (some more realistic than others) that it is hard to review this film without spoiling the story. So here's a brief glimpse. After the intro which introduces us to each character, we see the team 8 years later, after a good 80 successful missions. The team is in Iraq, just before US troops are about to leave the country for good. However, the team gets offered a mission. A plan is made, but after successful completion of the mission, everything goes wrong. They are accused of acting on their own after their general gets killed, and everyone from the DOD to the CIA wants them in Jail.
I thought this was interesting, as the events of 9/11 still remind us today how the various agencies of the US government must work together to accomplish anything and how it is still something hard to achieve. I guess this part of the story will appeal to militant groups who don't trust their own government, but I liked how once put in concept this can make people think a little; it isn't something explored often enough in pure action films and I found it refreshing.
If you are still enjoying this review at this point, like me, you'll want to get your hands on this fun action packed thrilling DVD. It offers the theatrical version and an extended version of the movie as well. The end of the movie let's you understand there could be sequels, but it also explain why this new A-Team is: "still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune..." Truly a great movie experience. Finally a remake I totally enjoyed, possibly more than the original. A.M.F. (look it up, either a drink, or a new famous quote from this movie)