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"The A Team" {Blu-ray}
Wayne Klein
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date:
Special Features:

Commentary track by the director with animatics; visual effects featurette with commentary; production featurettes, gag reel, unrated and rated version of the movie

Rating: PG-13


I pity the fool who expects the movie version of "The A-Team" to perfectly reflect the original TV series. A big, broad, messy love letter of a movie to the TV show "The A-Team" may be a narrative mess but it is entertaining and it's just like watching a tank crash...a car crash. Directed and co-written by Joe Carnahan ("Narc", "Smokin' Aces"), "The A-Team" works primarily because of the charm of the cast and the non-stop action. In this version of "The A Team" the "A" truly stands for "action". ***

When Hannibal Smith (Liam Neeson)and his group of Air Rangers "Face" (Bradley Cooper), "B.A." (Quinton Jackson) and Murdock (Sharlto Copley of "District 9")are framed for stealing conterfeit plates in Iraq all four are court martialed and thrown into prison. The four find an unlikely ally in a rogue CIA agent named Lynch (Patrick Wilson)who helps them break out of prison to locate the plates and the man who stole them--Pike (Brian Bloom). The A-Team has to stay ahead of Face's former girlfriend Lt. Sosa (Jessica Biel)who with her team are hot on the trial of the team but suspects that they are innocent. The team must figure out where Pike is and the plates in order to exonerate themselves. Watch for an entertaining cameo from Jon Ham ("Madmen") at the conclusion of the film and the marvelous character actor Henry Czerny ("Mission: Impossible") who needs to be utilized better by Hollywood as he's a terrific character actor. Keep an eye out for two cast members of the original series after the credits roll in a nice homage to the TV show. The main flaw with the film is that the writers and director have to set up the entire premise AND break them out, resolve who framed them and keep it moving/entertaining the entire two hours. It's a daunting task and I'd never accuse someone of trying to stuff too much plot into a movie but with this much action it's very very difficult to try and set up action set pieces, develop characters and resolve a convoluted plot in one movie. If there had been a guarantee of a sequel they might have been able to carry their search for who set them up for other films and allowed a bit more breathing room for the plot. ---

Image & Sound:

The Blu-ray for "The A-Team" looks quite nice with a sharp looking transfer, nicely detailed transfer that has a nice film-like quality in its presentation. I didn't detect any digital artifacts from excessive compression or over agressive use of digital grain management. Skin textures look quite nice throughout the film. ***

The Lossless audio track sounds marvelous and there's almost as much (maybe too much) activity during the action sequences in the audio department and there is going on visually. That could be a bad thing if you only listen to the sound in stereo so I would definitely listen to the track in 5.1 as dialog may have a tendancy to get lost with all the sounds. ---

Special Features:

We get plenty of extras that include "Inside the Action" The Devil is in The Details" a commentary featuring the director who discloses everything from the fact that the scene involving the military city was built in a bit where they were in the process of building a Walmart to the use of CGI to remove moths from a scene that were circling around the bright lights. Periodically the audio commentary becomes a PIP with the director appearing along with animatics and/or behind-the-scenes footage. ***

We also get a visual effects reel with before and after images and commentary. Deleted scenes are included as well as a gag reel for the film. There are some other featurettes that are included as well. We also get both an extended version of the movie and the theatrical version as well. ---

Final Words:

"The A-Team" is a big, messy, explosive and entertaining flick even if the narrative sometimes gets lost in all the action. The big pay off at the end of the film works quite well. Although "The A-Team" may not have done well at the box office due to negative reviews, the film is bound to do well on home video with enough curious fans renting or buying the flick. I doubt that we'll see a sequel but the film doesn't do harm to the original film (unlike, say, the film version of "The Wild Wild West" which was just a complete disaster). "The A-Team" is worth at least a rental.


Copyright @ Teakwood Productions 2000
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