The A-Team: ** (out of 4) / * (out of 4)

"A is for Action! A is for Adventure! A is for Mr. T!" - Nick at Nite

The movie version of The A-Team is, more-or-less, my introduction to the series. I have never seen an episode of the television show. As a kid, there was a good reason for this: Mom didn't want me to watch violent television shows, and I had other shows upon which to spend my listening-to-Mom capital (read: Transformers). But even after the show moved from prime-time/Saturday-morning fare into 1980s-retro-kitsch, I never sat down and saw any of it. I picked up its cultural cues, and I enjoyed the Nick at Nite commercials, but other than that... well, let's just say that I was a little bit saddened to find out that Mr. T's character had a name besides "Mr. T".

So yeah, I'm a little bit of an A-Team Newb; but I still went into the movie feeling like a bit of a fan. And, within this odd position, I was not disappointed.

Oh, sure, there was plenty in this movie to dislike, starting with the "pre-origin story" that was too long and included way too much exposition, and ending up with the silly ending where (spoilers?) the writers suddenly remembered that the A-Team is supposed to be "on the run" and not working directly with the US Government. The plot was over-complicated and foolish, the character motivations were sketchy at best, and the plot holes... oh, the plot holes! If ever there was a movie that wouldn't stand up to close scrutiny, this is it.

But for all of that, I only really grimaced a few times; the rest of the time I was grinning in some kind of maniacal glee. The explosions were so ludicrous and fun! The characters were so cheerfully over-the-top, reproducing the original heroes with incredible gusto while offering villains that were just strange in their villainy. The action set pieces were corny and felt like something that would have been done back in the 80s TV show (though perhaps they wouldn't have looked as good). And the catch-phrases, no matter how cheesy or clearly choreographed, were still fun. So, rather than enumerating the movie's flaws, my instincts are to defend the movie.

Oh, and it wasn't in 3-D. That's a plus. (Though the 3-D gag was pretty fun.)

This was a fun movie, but stupid. If you go in looking for a PG-13 version of a big, dumb-fun action movie, you'll probably be happy. But don't look too closely at the plot, characters, or anything else unless you want to ruin the fun.

** / *

Side-note 1: the multi-rank system measures, in this case, "how much I liked it" versus "is this a good movie?". Usually I can get by with just one number, but that doesn't always work with movies like this. I may have come out of the movie with a huge grin, but that doesn't mean the movie is actually good.

Side-note 2: that scene with the tank and the parachutes? That's going to make an awesome Mythbusters episode.