B/R Reel Review: The A-Team starring UFC's Rampage Jackson

Ken BeckettCorrespondent IJune 11, 2010

The A-Team, starring Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Sharlto Copley, and MMA fighter Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, is the latest remake of an 1980s classic television series to hit the big screen. The 2010 version of four outlaws who take matters into their own hands opened in theaters today.

The original A-Team—starring George Peppard, Mr. T (a.k.a. Laurence Tureaud), Dirk Benedict, and Dwight Shultz—are a cast of characters from a TV show that still lives on to this day as a classic. And while it is still watched and beloved by many, the new film as directed by Joe Carnahan (Smoking Aces), is a refreshing update.

Carnahan and the cast of The A-Team bring this action franchise into the 21st century with an updated storyline, placing The A-Team as Army Rangers in Iraq, framed for a crime they didn't commit. Carnahan also makes full use of the type of special effects, action, and violence you have come to expect from a big summer blockbuster movie.

While you may think that you've seen it all when it comes to blow 'em up action movies, The A-Team cranks things up a few notches and comes at you with explosion after explosion, followed by a fast paced car chase and a vicious gun fight.

The '80s TV show prided itself on its action, but also that it dialed down the violence; no one ever died. In the movie, however, that is certainly not the case.

There are plenty of people getting shot or blown up in spectacular fashion.

The action scenes are magnificently shot by Carnahan.

This movie could have turned into chaos and been way over the top. However, Carnahan details everything perfectly and you never find yourself lost or wondering what the point was of that last explosion. He does this while managing to stay true to the mantra that The A-Team specializes in the ridiculous and will use any means necessary.

While the fight scenes are epic, it doesn't matter if you don't feel a connection to the characters. Because of an excellent script as well as superb acting from the cast, Hannibal, Face, Murdock, and B.A. Baracus are not only fugitive outlaws out to cause mayhem, they are cool guys that you would love to hang out with.

Neeson, who may be one of the best dramatic actors of our time, transitions into a great action hero as Col. John "Hannibal" Smith.

Bradley Cooper plays Lt. Templeton "Face" Peck with the type of smug, brash, and cockiness that makes it easy to understand why his enemies hate him, but you would love to have him on your side.

Sharlto Copley, the star of District 9, does a fantastic job as the comic relief of the film, playing the functioning lunatic "Howling Mad" Murdock. In such a big action movie, Copley helps to keep things light and prevent the audience from getting bogged down with some really funny one-liners and accents.

That leaves us with UFC light heavyweight superstar Quinton "Rampage" Jackson in the role of B.A. Baracus that Mr. T made legendary.

There is no way anyone could ever duplicate the type of personality that Mr. T exudes when he is on screen, and thankfully Jackson doesn't try to do that.

Instead, Rampage delivers his own 2010 version of B.A. At no point does Jackson ever say "I pity the fool." Though in a homage to Mr. T, he does have the words "pity" and "fool" tattooed across his knuckles.

Even B.A.'s famous black GMC van with a red stripe along the side makes a brief appearance.

For a man with limited acting experience, Rampage looks right at home on the big screen. He delivers B.A.'s one-liners with ease, and thanks to his MMA background, he is a perfect fit for all of the extreme fight scenes.

With his athleticism, sense of humor, and razor sharp wit, Rampage Jackson could very well be the next big action hero once he's done with the world of MMA.

The only thing he needs to work on is his annunciation. At certain points in the movie he mumbles a few of his lines and is somewhat hard to understand.

The 2010 version of The A-Team is everything you can ask for from an action movie and more. If you look up summer-action blockbuster in the dictionary, there should be a picture of this movie right next to its definition.

The A-Team raises the bar for all action movies to come with its special effects, fight scenes, explosions, excellent characters, and great sense of humour. 

Using Rampage Jackson's career as a metaphor, if this were an MMA fight, The A-Team would be two heavyweights standing in front of one another delivering consecutive, devastating punches for a full five rounds.

The A-Team delivers one knockout punch after the other and has you wishing it would never end.

Rating: Three and a half (out of five) stars.


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