Sunday, May 27, 2012

The A-Team (Joe Carnahan, 2010) Review

Now, it's common for a TV series to wind up getting it's own movie several years after (20 years in this case) but are these movies better than the series they originate from? No. No they are not. To it's credit, The A-Team is a hard series to base one film on. Every episode there would be a different story. There was little to no continuity so the choice of narrative for this film was a good one. How does it hold up compared to the series? To an extent...

John 'Hannibal' Smith (Liam Neeson), Templeton 'Face' Peck (Bradley Cooper), H.M. 'Howling Mad' Murdock (Sharlto Copley) and B.A. 'Bad Attitude' Baracus (Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson) make up the A-Team, a team of mercenaries for hire and soldiers of fortune. The film begins with the origin of the team and how they all met (mostly with hilarious aftermaths) until jumping several years later to which we find that The A-Team are at the top in their military group (there's probably supposed to be some army jargon in there). After another successful mission they went on despite the advice given by their commanding officers, General Morrison (Gerald McRaney) is blown up in his Jeep. They are framed for the murder and arrested. Now their main objective is to break out, catch those who framed and clear their names.

One of the most significant changes in franchise is how different the characters are in the film in comparison to the TV series. Hannibal has gone from an elite strategist on the fly who was always smiling to a strategist with plans before they go in who rarely cracks a smile. Face is pretty much the same, except a bit less reserved. B.A. is identical, near enough. The biggest change in character is Murdock. Don't get me wrong, Sharlto Copley is great as Murdock but honestly, Dwight Schultz pulled him off better in the series (one could argue the entire original cast is better). He is simply crazy in this film. In the series he was completely insane, making use of inanimate objects (only done once in the film). These changes make the characters seem unlikable at times, well okay that was a bit harsh. What I meant to say was that they just aren't as good as they were in the series. Badass: yes. Likeable: not as much.

It's not all negative. There are good points. The high point being the solving of many enigma codes left from the series. Sure, there were hints to how the team met but there was no actual showing of the event...until now. We also get to see where Lynch (Patrick Wilson) came from and why he is after the team in the series. Again, there were hints but nothing else. The greatest enigma code solved is B.A's fearing of flying which is shown at the very start of the film due to a newly introduced Murdock and his way of flying (which includes barrel rolling a helicopter!).

The A-Team can only be summed up by saying that, if you are unfamiliar with the series then you may love this film but those who are fans of the series can enjoy it (like I did) but there is plenty to nitpick. Okay? Good but not great. It tries to pander to the nostalgia fans but deep down it's just another action comedy film (yeah, comedy. It's hilarious).

A fun, yet far-fetched movie that has a little too many problems to be a great film. Good but nothing special.

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