Reel Watchers: The A-Team

If someone had asked me a year ago what I thought of an A-Team movie, I would have said it was a stupid concept and then ranted for 10 solid minutes about how Hollywood can't come up with any original ideas. And while I still have that Hollywood rant loaded and ready to go for anyone willing to listen, I do have to admit that this movie was not a stupid concept.

This film has a multi-layered plot in the vein of The Bourne Identity trilogy, which gives loads more back-story to the original vague "crime they didn't commit" origin of the '80s TV show, but the casting of Liam Neeson and Bradley Cooper was this film's real saving grace. I always found the original George Peppard Hannibal Smith and Dirk Benedict's "Faceman" Peck a little creepy. They were just a little too clean-cut to pull off grizzled Vietnam veterans trying to prove their innocence. But when Liam Neeson yammers on about having a plan, I trust him, and Bradley Cooper is charming and capable in a way that Benedict never was. With the addition of MMA fighter Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and relatively unknown but talented Sharlto Copley to round out the titular team, this is a well-acted, well-written, and truly well-done film.

Is this movie going to change the way you look at cinema? No, of course not. It's the A-Team. They blow stuff up and shoot machine guns in the general direction of the bad guys. If you're expecting more you'll be disappointed, but if you're expecting some fun action-fantasy, with a healthy dose of camp and comedy, this is a genuinely entertaining movie with a plot that actually works and characters that are at once both compelling and familiar. For that rare achievement it gets four vengeance-seeking Miners.