It’s not easy bringing back an old TV show and make it work as a movie. Turning it into a successful bad movie is easy enough. You’ve got a well-known brand-name, you usually snatch a big actor or two to star in it and you’ve got yourself a major summer film. Making something good out of it and pleasing the audience is hard as you’re trying to put this out to entirely different crowds at the same time. You’ve got the older crowd that loved the original series and want to see the exact same thing they used to see, but bigger and better because it’s on the silver screen now. Then you’ve got the younger crowd that knows it used to be some big thing or something like that a long time ago and just want to be entertained. Last but not least, you’ve got the crowd that actually wants to see a good movie.
Some movies work well with the first crowd, others well with the second crowd. The rare movies that get both working however, get the admiration of the third crowd. The A-Team is one of the rare movies to do just this.
I initially expected this movie to suck. I saw the trailer that featured a tank falling out of an exploding airplane, shooting down another airplane in mid-air and it made my stomach turn. I wanted to shove this aside as another quick money grabbing feature put out by an inspirationless Hollywood.
After giving it some more thought, I decided to give the movie a shot anyway. I loved the A-Team as a kid and it took me a while to realize that the only thing that stopped them from doing this kind of stunts in the 80s was the budget.
The movie is basically an origins story. Starting off with the crew getting together for the first time, we see them get framed and arrested for a crime they didn’t commit, only to escape some time after. The rest of the movie follows their attempt to track down and take revenge on the person that framed them, hopefully clearing their names of the crime in the process. If you’re going to see this movie for a moving experience or a big epic story, the best thing you could do is skip it. Then again, this is the A-Team. Nobody watched this for the story back in the day, and if you’ve deluded yourself to think it needs a good story you should sit down and watch the original series to remind yourself what this show was about.
Somewhere in between the start and finish BA develops a fear of airplanes and says fool a lot. Hannibal smokes cigars, dispenses wisdom and loves it when plans come together. Face infiltrates places and scores with as many women as he can put his hands on. Howling Mad Murdock is… well, mad. All the pieces are in place, just like old times.
The cast perfectly plays the roles they’re given. Watching them is almost like watching the original cast in a newer over the top version of the old TV series. There were times where I felt Quinton Jackson’s version of BA was lackin. This could be due to the fact he simply isn’t Mr. T. Then again, there only is one Mr. T. in this world, and that’s more than enough. It’s not a big problem enough to worry about because the new BA fits in the setting that this movie provided. If you really care for good acting however, Sharlto Copley should provide a perfect counterbalance with his interpretation of Howling Mad Murdock. Watching his crazy antics was one of the biggest highlights of the movie. Both during and out of the action scenes.
One thing that interested me was the setting, instead of bringing the movie back to the time frame the original series they modernized the whole thing. There are cell-phones, 3D movies, even a Call of Duty reference. I was wondering about the setting for a while before I was sure that it all takes place now. Keeping that in mind, it was interesting to see that their military operation was stationed in Iraq rather than Vietnam. The bank robbery was taken out turned into a hijacking of a truck filled with counterfeit money.
The changes don’t just affect the setting either. The team itself has become a lot less happy go lucky and have turned into a much more military elite group. Don’t worry about the whole thing having gone completely serious however, they’re still the A-Team. The situations are still completely over the top and no matter how much trouble the characters find themselves in, they still enjoy themselves all the way through the movie.
Even though it’s been given a much more serious tone than the original series, the movie often turns towards the audience to to give a brief wink. Acknowledging it’s just a movie and it’s having fun along with you. Instead of going out of its way or trying too hard like too many movies do, they never destroy the pace or setting with this. Most of the time these little nods are given right around the bigger action scenes, basically telling us it’s okay. They know it’s too much and doesn’t make sense, and no, it doesn’t matter because it’s all done in good fun.
If you’ve enjoyed the original A-Team series, or are just looking for a big action movie that bring the fun back into the big action movies, look no further. Yes, the plot can be weak at times, but that’s not what you’re going to see this movie for anyway. The stunts they pull are often so far over the top they make the car vs helicopter scene from Die Hard 4 look logical. Still, The A-Team is one of the more enjoyable action movies I’ve seen this year. The movie knows exactly what it is and doesn’t try to overstep itself. It’s not hard to see the actors are having fun with the roles they are given. I even forgive the scene with the tank falling out of an exploding airplane. Hannibal really wasn’t kidding when he said that overkill is underrated.