Mercenaries are becoming the "it" theme of this summer with The Losers hitting theatres a few months ago, The A-Team coming out this weekend and The Expendables expected out August 13th. A few Hollywood producers must have received Soldier of Fortune in their mailboxes by accident.
Ten years ago, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire... the A-Team.
That opening is familiar enough to fans of the television show, but director Joe Carnahan starts from scratch, throwing Hannibal, Face, Murdock and Baracus together during an operation in Mexico.
These soldiers of fortune are a little different from how you remember them. Hannibal (Liam Neeson) is less funny and more like Lee Marvin in The Dirty Dozen, but he still loves it when a plan comes together. Face (Bradley Cooper) gets his hands a little more dirty in this incarnation of the character, but that is to be expected with a film from Joe Carnahan (Narc, Smokin' Aces). District 9 star Sharlto Copley is Mad Murdock (yes, he's still crazy and funny) and Quinton Jackson fills in admirably for Mr. T as B.A. Baracus.
The A-Team is similar to the Shaft re-imagining of 2000. It is a entertaining actioner that provides fun with set pieces, although those scenes come at the expense of the character development that endeared itself to fans of the original television series.
The frenetic pacing of the action scenes make it hard for the audience to focus between the extreme close-ups of the team and the the explosion that take course throughout the film. A noticeable trend that seems to keep taking place this summer is this over-use of CGI. It was noticeable in Iron Man 2 and is hard to ignore in a few key scenes in A-Team.
An entertaining way to fill a few hours, Cooper, Neeson and Copley are really having fun with their roles and you can tell. The three of them have a great deal of chemistry, a franchise could easily be had if the film does well enough at the box office.
Stay after the credits and look out for a cool cameo by a certain AMC mainstay.
**1/2 out of ****