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Sunday, 31 January 2010

Review: The A-Team (12A) ★★★
A group of Iraq War veterans looks to clear their name with the U.S. military, who suspect the four men of committing a crime for which they were framed.


As soon as anyone mentions the A-Team your immediately thrown back into a nostalgia showcase from your childhood. The theme tune, Explosions, making a tank inside a garage with only a blow torch and some straws and the pop culture fact that no characters ever died in the entire series. So its safe to say that the 2010 movie version has alot to live up to. Which it does. Just.

The film sets itself up well and lets the audience know how the team came together (by tracking down a corrupt mexican tyrant), how they got framed (stolen Iraqi treasury plates) and their quest to clear their names and reclaim the stolen plates. Good standard fair and dealt with in good time.

Now the characters. Hannibal played Liam Neeson is as solid as you'd expect, cheerfully chomping his way through cigars and one-liners all the while keeping the film on track. Face played by Bradley Cooper is clearly having the most fun bringing a more comedic element to the character we knew back in the eighties. Murdoch is played by Sharlto Copley who does the 'crazy' well while just keeping on the right side of believable and not veering off into annoying. Finally BA, played by Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson, doing his best Mr T impression while unfortunately being rather dull and uninteresting. Its a shame that the most fondly remembered character is shown to be at times a uninterested, passive member of the team.

The film itself is directed rather cleverly by Joe Carnahan, he seems to be making an A-Team movie for the fans of the original and since most of us are now thirty plus we expect a bit more edge and grittiness rather than the soft eightes fuzzy violence. This is a 'real world' movie, people bleed and die rather than the TV Show's view that everyone comes out at the end with a bit of a scratch. It worked for me, and worked well.

The main downfall with the film however is that its overburdened and weighed down by what's going on. Its not sure what it really wants to be, a no-nonsense action movie, a comedy or an intellectual 'Bourne' adventure, so to compensate they try a bit of everything which doesn't really come off. For me the characters work better on American soil, cracking comedy one liners and engaging in over-the-top action set pieces rather than the European espionage scenario they find themselves in. The A-Team was always about fun and nonsensical situations that were elaborate and made you punch the air, not about eastern European politics which the later half leans more toward.

I suppose in the end it could have been alot worse and for all its downfalls its still an enjoyable movie to zone out to for a couple of hours. What's most important though is that it doesn't diminish the memories of the TV Show we grew up with and remember fondly.


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