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An underrated and rip-roaring outing

THE A-TEAM Action; Starring Liam Neeson and Quinton Jackson

>BY MARK EVANS

Despite some lukewarm reviews from the critics, The A-Team is one of my hits of 2010, a brilliant retake on one of my favourite shows as a kid.

The plot is simple enough, with the crew framed by a sleazy CIA agent (is there any other kind on the big screen?), court-martialled and jailed.

All the crew are here, just with different faces. Liam Neeson's more likeable as Col Hannibal Smith, and he's joined by BA Baracus (Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson), ladykiller Templeton 'Faceman' Peck (a great Bradley Cooper); and nutty pilot HM 'Howling Mad' Murdock (Sharlto Copley).

Oh, and there's the requisite eye candy, too, in the shape of the yummy Jessica Biel as Captain Carissa Sosa, who's hot (literally) on the trail of the misfit fugitives.

The action scenes are terrific, particularly the one where the crew escape from captivity in a plane by flying a tank into a lake. It's got to be seen to be believed.

Not far behind is the scene where the team have to rescue Murdock from an army hospital and while he's watching a movie their tank comes crashing through the screen.

It's followed by a thrilling helicopter chase scene, with so many rollercoaster manoeuvres it's easy to see why BA develops a fear of flying.

Throughout the movie, Cooper and Copley steal the scenes, while Neeson is amazingly good as the comic creation leading the pack.

Unlike the TV series, people actually die here and there are some action scenes that are unsuitable for younger viewers as the A-Team take on a rival outfit of Iraq War mercenaries, run by the evil Brock Pike (Brian Bloom).

After a final confrontation at a container ship dockyard, the movie is left open for a sequel. Here's hoping that the lukewarm reception won't kill off a franchise. Recommended.

DVD extras: Not wildly exciting, with theatrical version of the movie, extended version, audio commentary and A-Team theme.


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