Finally, after a heavy advertising campaign (my local cinema showed the trailer followed by the Orange sponsorship promo at almost every movie for the past 3 months), the ‘re-imagining’ of iconic 80’s TV show The A Team hits the big screen. It packs a lot of punch to begin with, but rapidly looks ready to throw in the towel.
The rather lengthy opening sequence shows us how the A Team came about, comprising of Leader John “Hannibal” Smith (Liam Neeson), Templeton “Face” Peck (Bradley Cooper of The Hangover fame) Bosco “BA” Baracus (UFC star Quintin Jackson) and crazy pilot James “Howling Mad” Murdock.
Fast forward 8 years, and The A Team are now an Army Covert Operations crew, with countless successful missions under their belts. In the final few days of the US occupation of Iraq, they are given a mission to recover money printing plates. All goes well, until they return back to base for a celebratory cigar and catchphrase. But as the general arrives, his Jeep explodes. Which is a slight annoyance for The A Team, as he was the only other guy aware of the job apart from them. So, they’re court marshalled, stripped of their ranks and sent to maximum security prisons separately. Of course, this doesn’t stop them, and they set out to clear their names.
The casting of Neeson as Hannibal is spot on; he’s infinitely more ‘rough’ than George Peppard’s version. But that runs through a few aspects of the movie: this is nothing like the A Team you may remember. And if, like me, you’ve only seen a few episodes of the TV series, don’t avoid this. It’s almost unrecognisable apart from the characters, and the van. Quintin Jackson as “Mr T” just didn’t seem good enough; sure, he was a tough guy, but Mr T is an ICONIC tough guy. Saying that though, we all knew he wasn’t going to be as good as the original, but he certainly is acceptable. Murdock provides some genuinely hilarious relief from the relentless action scenes, although the infrequency of these make his characteristics seem inconsistent.
As for the action: there is a lot of it. The A Team is to action what Lee Evans is to stand up comedy, spewing out scenes constantly, going with quantity rather than quality hoping that there are more hits than misses. Luckily, this is the case, and there are sequences of adrenaline pumping madness. You can tell just from the trailer that logic isn’t going to be taken seriously, with flying tanks and de fibrillated ambulances but it was never intended to be serious. Popcorn was made for movies like this.
Of course CGI was going to be used, but I didn’t expect it to be as noticeable as it is. Seriously, some scenes have more CGI than Toy Story 3. It’s distracting and looks incredibly shoddy and rushed. There really shouldn’t be any excuses for it, because it’s essentially one of the “big” releases of 2010, with a large budget (estimated at about $100 million). Also, in one the most CGI heavy scenes I’ve seen all year, the climax is set in a dock yard. Is it really too difficult to think of a location different from this? I’m sick of seeing it. The Losers (a spookily similar movie to this) wraps up the narrative in one, and I saw a trailer for an upcoming movie called RED that had scenes focussing on that specific location. They’re boring, dull and unimaginative. Which also sums up the majority of movies coming out of Hollywood nowadays though.
I originally predicted this to be 2010’s GI Joe: an enjoyable, yet forgettable action comedy with snappy one liners and an unnaturally high number of explosions. And that’s exactly what it is. Owing more to 80’s action movies rather than the original TV series, there may not be a Plan B, but there will more than likely be a “Movie B” in the near future.