The concept behind THE A-TEAM is so much fun it’s amazing to see it get fucked up this badly. One way to look at THE A-TEAM is mindless entertainment, and I wish I could see it as that, unfortunately it’s best described as an incoherent mess. What makes THE A-TEAM watchable is (most of) its cast. Liam Neeson is perfect as the cigar-chomping team leader Hannibal, Bradley Cooper brings his grinning charm to Faceman, and DISTRICT 9’s Sharlto Copley injects his manic energy into Howling Mad Murdock, easily my favorite of the team. The only fool I pity on the team is UFC fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, as Mr. T’s iconic B.A. Baracus shoes are tough to fill, and Jackson doesn’t have the comic chops his co-stars have. The side players don’t fare so well, Jessica Biel’s character is far too serious and Patrick Wilson, who plays the sinister C.I.A. antagonist, is all over the map, going from a serious baddie to a quirky goofball in some scenes. Still, Neeson, Cooper, and Copley are enough to have characters I can enjoy watching. I just wish the movie gave them interesting things to do. The action scenes are appropriately silly at times, but uninspired. Even the free-falling tank scene, which is a fun idea, isn’t executed as well as it could be. The name-clearing plot that the boys find themselves embroiled in isn’t terribly interesting, something about stolen counterfeiting plates or whatever. Hannibal loves it when a plan comes together, but it’s tough for the audience to love it when the plan is explained and executed via bad cross-cutting. The movie does that thing where it shows us what goes down as the plan is mapped out, but it doesn’t really work and just distracts from the already mediocre action scenes. Joe Carnahan’s a director I’m desperate to like, as his film NARC is a minor masterpiece of the crime genre, but SMOKIN’ ACES (or Strokin’ Asses if your name is Daniel Davis) was a tad underwhelming, and THE A-TEAM is even less fun than SMOKIN’ ACES was. The main problem with THE A-TEAM is it doesn’t seem to know what universe it wants to inhabit, parts of it seem to take place in a cartoon fantasy world where insane plans come together with a laugh and a cigar, and that’s the way it should be. On the other hand it wants to be in a serious military world at the same time, and it’s not a movie that can have it both ways like, say, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS. THE A-TEAM should have been a really fun Summer action movie full of laughs and gonzo action, instead it’s just another clusterfuck from 20th Century Fox, Hollywood’s worst studio, that tries to appeal to all demographics, and it fails completely.