Written by Lisa Keddie
A-Team, we have a problemâ€¦ Trouble is, not sure if you can help us? We need to get back down to earth and have our eyeballs re-attached into their sockets, please. To say that there isnâ€™t lots of big, brash and ballsy fun to be had with Joe Carnahanâ€™s film version would be untrue, including Bradley Cooper as Face in fine, tanned form to salivate over, and Sharlto Copley giving the original Murdock a run for his money in the loopy stakes. The A-Team is definitely summer popcorn fodder that will fill cinemas and thrill youngsters with no loyalty to the 80s first time around â€“ and in this respect it fulfils its brief. However, in Carnahanâ€™s effort to lose the nostalgic campness of Cannellâ€™s iconic 80s TV series that was one of its key success ingredients, and bring it kicking and screaming into the 21st Century, Carnahanâ€™s big-screen adaptation turns the vaguely believable and solid action sequences fondly associated with the fugitivesâ€™ small-screen escapades into a mindless, cocky and super silly fiasco that almost mocks the original â€“ and its legion of eagerly awaiting fans.
The A-Team suffers from softly-rendered, wishy-washy, half-complete CGI (incomplete underbellies of cars etc), daft, gravity-defying scenes, and a serious case of the camera shakes to substitute for any real action – something the Transformers series is stricken with. Carnahan seems to have indulged fully in his trademark â€˜zoom inâ€™ choppy shots that are like being on a swirling fairground ride, whilst getting motion sickness and wanting off. In addition, everything in the movie becomes superfluous, except the grand juvenile pranks and Cooperâ€™s buffed physique.
Oh, did we mention Cooperâ€™s body? Itâ€™s constantly on display as gratuitous tool (admittedly, not a bad thing), used as a â€˜buff-erâ€™ in between setting up the next action sequence. If nothing else, Cooper can be proud of the impact it has because his acting skills arenâ€™t whatâ€™s on show, here. That said credit to both Copley and him for trying to at least stay faithful to the original characters they are resurrecting. Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson’ looks the part as B.A Baracus, but sadly misses the mark, making little impression as he mumbles through his words in an incoherent daze, and has none of Mr. Tâ€™s menacing, even angry persona. Liam Neeson as Hannibal unsurprisingly commands authority, staying true to type in the kind of ‘justice-hunting’ role we’ve seen him in many times before – complete with creeping Irish lilt, but he lacks Peppardâ€™s devilish and unpredictable dark charm that kept all on their toes.
Part of the fun of the TV series was the theme tune that always signified that the impossible was always possible with these ex-soldiers on the case, that any contraption could be built and any baddie dealt with. Itâ€™s just unfortunate that the only time this score is relied on, and could have seriously rallied fans, if used more intelligently, is the in the best and funniest scene. Ironically this scene relies on nostalgic ones from the TV series to bring us back on board, as Murdock gives his fellow ‘inmates’ a remarkably real 3D treat, whilst trying to evade the US military in a mental asylum. Still, we can be thankful that some pimped up version wasnâ€™t adopted to accompany the 2010 film. For all us â€˜oldiesâ€™, too, stay to the end of the credits for an unexpected treat â€“ and shock.
Smug as it is unforgiving, on first glance, Carnahan seems to have stuck two fingers up at the TV series and created what he thinks latter-day audiences want to see. In fact in trying to honour the original in parts, the film-maker has got a little too caught up with his special effects team in trying to bring The A-Team into the digital era that he has created a parody of some of the most influential action heroes that had a very real purpose to see justice prevail. Without getting too heavy and political, Carnahan had the opportunity to cash in on anti-establishment and anti-war sentiment and make his adaptation not only damn good fun but also more poignant. By the way, the extra star is for Cooperâ€™s engaging â€˜personalityâ€™, if weâ€™re going for superficiality mark-up, hereâ€¦
Last edited: 27th November 2010
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