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Saturday, 17 February 2018

Movie Review: The A- Team (2010)

The A-Team
Cast: Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Quinton Jackson, Sharlto Copley, Jessica Biel, Patrick Wilson 
Genre: Action Comedy
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $177 million 

Plot: A group of Iraqi War Veterans look to clear their name with the U.S military, who suspect the four men of committing a crime for which they were framed

'I Didn't Love It When This Plan Came Together'

In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire The A-Team.

The opening credits to this action programme, I used to watch The A-Team show back in the 1980s when it aired on Saturdays on ITV and found it to be not only a whole heap of fun, but the casting and the camaraderie of the main cast were perfect and didn't feel out of place. I just loved everything about it and to see all of its ideas translated on the big screen was something that not only did I fear, but I realised that all of my doubts that I had about this remake came true. And with this movie, just about every single aspect is flawed and that modernising it for today's audiences, was a big mistake.

Stephen J Carnell and its producers truly missed a big opportunity to do something great with it, but also keeping in line with the original series, which as primitive as the plot was, it was the casting and charismatic presence of George Peppard, Mr T, Dwight Schultz and Dirk Benedict that truly made it work. At no point as I was watching this, did I feel the movie lived up to this reputation. The film tells how Hannibal Smith, BA Baracus, Face and Murdock all banded together and formed the formidable A-Team. 

Liam Neeson as Hannibal Smith just didn't work, along with his grey hair & coarse voice. In one scene, he even has his normal hairstyle instead of the dyed grey hair, as his team are in disguise. Jessica Biel has never been a big-time Hollywood player and in a big budget action film, much like with the terrible Stealth and Total Recall remake, she underwhelms yet again in a needless role as Face's former flame & who merely exists as the movie's pretty face. Bradley Cooper as 'Faceman' Peck was actually not bad, but with Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson as BA and Sharlto Copley as Howling Mad Murdock just didn't really cut it for me as those characters. The chemistry and camaraderie just weren't there and there is an inescapable sense that they exist as nothing more than 'stand-ins' in roles that will always belong to George Peppard, Mr T, Dwight Schultz and Dirk Benedict. 

2010's The A-Team has none of the charm or magic of the television series and it feels way too hokey and outlandish in places. If anything, it has made me appreciate the original programme, even more. The intentional humour fell flat all the way, whilst the action sequences are completely overdone and it has been seen and done before many times and the film exists as nothing more than nostalgia that doesn't really pay respects to the original. I actually felt bored as I sat through The A-Team and I just wasn't blown away or that impressed by what was shown. 

When it tried so hard to impress, it failed. When it didn't try so hard to be funny or tough, it was mostly cringe-worthy. I can't count the number of times Copley who instead of endeared me or was amusing like Dwight Schultz was as Murdoch, was annoying, every time he tried to be funny or silly. 

Over-stylized, bombastic, the film is overshadowed by its necessity to differentiate itself from the series with its glossier Hollywood production values & by opting for the shock and awe approach. 

It's a movie that didn't really deserve the big-screen treatment; it's too long and yet even if it truly warranted one, it should have been executed in a far less loud and brash fashion.

The actors expressed an interest in starring in the follow-up movie, but after this film didn't do as well at the box office, all plans were shelved. 

Me personally, and after viewing this film, I'd say this decision was for the best.


Final Verdict:

The A-Team is a '80s by-product that its big- screen adaption didn't live up to the hype & for the exception of say Quinton Rampage Jackson and Bradley Cooper, everyone else is poorly cast and most of the time, I was droning off because the story was becoming to be so mind-numbingly dull. The intentional acts of humour don't work and the overall story was just not inviting or interesting enough. 

Some will say the novelty of the show is what carries it through before it wears off, yet for me, The A-Team movie is in most cases an unfaithful one that doesn't honour, nor pay respects to it enough, or is it anywhere as close to warrant the novelty factor. 

All the magic, the chemistry that I have grown accustomed to just by watching the A-Team TV show and its original casting never translated well on the big screen. Tonally, it's just way too serious and cutting edge and 'cool' to keep die-hard fans of the show entertained and happy. For fans of the series, this is such a disappointment. 

Coupled with the strange casting of leads, which is a hit & miss, this A-Team is more Nay-team.


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