The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13/Unrated
Feature running time: 119 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Jessica Biel, Quiton “Rampage” Jackson, Sharlto Copley, Patrick Wilson
Directed by: Joe Carnahan
Music by: James Newton Howard
Written by: Joe Carnahan, Brian Bloom, Skip Woods
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 14, 2010
"There is no plan B"
Convicted by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit, a daring team of former Special Forces soldiers must utilize their unique talents to break out of prison and tackle their toughest mission yet. It’s going to take guts, split-second timing and an arsenal of explosive weapons...this is a job for The A-Team!
I was never a big fan of The A-Team television series but I would watch it from time to time. I liked the ensemble of characters and thought that George Peppard was perfectly cast as Hannibal Smith. The series kept things simple, blow stuff up, save the day and have fun doing it. I honestly can’t say that I was interested in seeing this film version but when it came my way for review I wasn’t disappointed. The film much like the TV series plays is straight forward in that it is short on story and long on ostentatious displays of action. The plot revolves around Hannibal, Face, B.A., and Murdock being setup for the theft of a set of U.S Treasury Plates that Middle Eastern insurgents intend to use to manufacture counterfeit currency. The team is wrongly tried, convicted and sent off to military prison. In order to clear their names they will have to gain intel on the location of the real thieves/Treasury plates, escape from prison, and put together a fool proof plan to bring it all together (not necessarily in that order!). There are a variety of obstacles standing in their way including a beautiful Department of Defense Lieutenant (who also happens to be Face’s ex) and a slippery CIA Agent who will stop at nothing to recover the stolen plates.
Fox has included the theatrical version and an unrated extended cut which adds a few minutes the original’s runtime. I watched the theatrical version during my evaluation. This isn’t a great film but it sure is lots of fun. I don’t think that the cast, with the exception of Sharlto Copley, really took ownership of their characters however I found them likeable just the same. The script effectively captures the camaraderie among the team members while infusing enough levity to keep things light and plenty of action to entice genre fans. I chuckled on a few occasions and laughed out loud during the psycho ward/”3D” rescue sequence. The action is appropriately over the top and a few obvious plot twists are thrown in for good measure. The bottom line is that The A-Team is exactly what you would/should expect. If you check your brain at the door you might just find it to be an enjoyable action/comedy that attempts to remain faithful to the classic 80’s TV series.
The rating is for intense sequences of action and violence throughout, language and smoking.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
The A-Team comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 21 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.2 Mbps.
Fox has been consistent in the quality of their new releases titles on Blu-ray and this is no exception. In looking at the numbers this isn’t a high bitrate video encoding but those numbers don’t necessarily tell the tale. I found this to be an excellent high definition presentation that featured quantifiable high level detail that manifested itself in the form of crisply defined images with subtle degrees of texture which gave the video appreciable depth. Colors were bright and well saturated, with natural rendering and subtle refinement. Dark scenes had excellent dimensional depth, deep blacks and discernible shadow detail. Contrast and brightness struck a good balance which so that bright and dark sequences appeared dynamic without discernible loss of detail. I saw no indications of video related anomalies associated with the encoding as the presentation as a whole was whistle clean.
The lossless DTS-HD MA soundtrack has extended dynamic range, detail rich clarity and makes ample use of the entire surround platform to drive the film’s elements. The music score, coupled along with well integrated discrete and ambient sound effects, plays an intricate role in this involving and sometimes active surround mix. The detection of subtle background sounds, off camera cues and spatial dimension within the room’s acoustic environment makes for a notably enveloping surround experience. Low frequency effects can be intense as the subwoofer works in tandem with the rest of the system to convey the low level bass and dynamic impact during action based sequences. Dialogue is firmly planted in the center channel and clearly renders voices and effects with appropriate distinction and balance within the front soundstage. I thought the presentation was quite good and as a whole enhanced the enjoyment of the film.
- Theatrical and Extended version of the film
- (HD) The devil’s in the details: Inside the action with Joe Carnahan – Bonusview/video commentary
- (HD) 6 deleted scenes
- (HD) Gag reel – 7 minutes
- (HD) A-Team theme mash-up montage
- (HD) Plan of attack – Making of featurette – 28 minutes
- (HD) Character chronicles – featuring Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Rampage Jackson, Sharlto Copley, B-Team – 23 minutes
- (HD) Visual Effects before/after with commentary by VFX supervisor James E. Price – 6 minutes
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
- BD-Live Exclusive: “Dressing down” featurette + Live Extras – What’s new, Fox’s Live Lookup powered by IMDB
- Digital Copy Bonus Disc
The A-Team is probably a little better than most would care to admit and does a commendable job in capturing the essence of the original TV series. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and if kept in the proper perspective can be a fun action comedy. Fox brings it to Blu-ray in a fan friendly offering that features an excellent audio/video presentation combined with a decent set of extras. I enjoyed The A-Team and recommend you check it out when you have a hankering for a little mindless entertainment.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Samsung BD-C7900 Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Better Cables, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package