It's a retro weekend at the box office this June, as two major-league 80s franchises face off. I can easily report that The A-Team comes out on top. So how does the long-awaited reboot of the TV classic fare?
Here's an odd thing about the A-Team movie: it's rated PG-13. MacGruber was an R. I know the MPAA rating system is a berserk mess, but it's funny that a parody gets a stricter rating than the real deal. But this hews close to the source material - on the TV show, despite all the billowing explosions and Mr. T cold-cocking fools, nary a drop of blood was shed. So Joe Carnahan, the man who brought us the criminally underrated Smokin' Aces, plays this thing straight as can be. It's not looking to reinvent or slyly comment on the ludicrous concept of these four dudes standing up to the entire military-industrial complex. The A-Team is just content to roll with the tide and entertain an audience.
Updating the background to the Iraq war, our heroes are brought together during a mission to seize printing plates that Saddam Hussein (remember him?) was using to print counterfeit U.S. currency for some nefarious reason. Of course, things go wrong and the team takes the fall. Once behind bars, we get some clues as to the real bad guys (private security and the CIA, of course), and when the boys break out (joined by Jessica Biel, one of the only disappointments of the flick, as she's barely given anything to do), their path takes them around the world in a splashy, hyperkinetic action rampage. No pun intended.
The A-Team isn't anything new or groundbreaking or innovative. What it is is a fun, clean, well-paced romp that pretty accurately captures what the producers of the original TV series would have done with millions of dollars and ninety minutes of screen time. And that's a good thing.