The A-Team (2010) starring Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Jessica Biel, Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson, Sharlto Copley, Patrick Wilson, Gerald McRaney directed by Joe Carnahan Movie Review

The A-Team (2010)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Liam Neeson as Hannibal in The A-Team (2010)

The Plan didn't Come Together

Born in the 70s my childhood memories often come from the 80s and TV shows which included the original "The A-Team" with their weekly ride of action and humour. The series was a favourite of mine and so when the news came that they were going to remake it into a big screen movie I was less than impressed because I knew it wouldn't work. And I was right, "The A-Team" the movie is a messy failure which fails to capture anything which made the 80s TV series so good and just delivers stupidly over the top action for a new generation. As such those who never grew up on George Peppard and Mr. T will probably enjoy this incessant barrage of action but for those who did it will be a movie they will wish to eradicate from their memory.

After coming together when Hannibal (Liam Neeson - Taken) tries to car jack B.A. (Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson) so that he can rescue Face (Bradley Cooper - The Hangover) in Mexico and then meeting Murdoch (Sharlto Copley) in a hospital, these 4 soldiers become 4 friends and a crack team of experts. It is why they are on a mission in Iraq to recover printing plates worth billions of dollars but despite recovering them they are left out to dry when General Morrison (Gerald McRaney) is killed and no one can prove their mission was authorised. Separated and thrown in prison Hannibal receives a visit from Lynch (Patrick Wilson) a CIA Spook who is willing to help him bust out if he will go after the plates again which have fallen into the wrong hands. And so having got out Hannibal then helps Face, B.A. and Murdoch escape to unite the team to go after the plates but also keep ahead of Lieutenant Charissa Sosa (Jessica Biel - I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry) who is on their trail.

Bradley Cooper as Face in The A-Team (2010)

What to me seems very obvious is that those who came up with the idea to make a big screen version of "The A-Team" did so with the plan to trade on the brand but not on what those who grew up would want to watch. As such we have this story which takes us right back to the start where Hannibal, Face, B.A. and Murdoch first come together and then we see them end up in prison before becoming fugitives on the run from the law. Now for those who didn't watch the 80s series this is fine as it explains things but for those who did so many facts are changed that it is simply wrong. And what's worse and I don't care if this is a spoiler, in the opening series of scenes the famous Black transit with the red stripe is crushed, sacrilege!

So we have this storyline which takes us from the guys meeting to becoming fugitives trying to recapture the plates and clear their names. But in truth what "The A-Team" comes across as is one testosterone filled action sequence after another which tries to recapture the imaginative action of the original series. Yet it messes it up because it goes too far, it becomes so over the top that it is stupid rather than imaginative and a scene which sees them escaping trouble in a tank which is parachuting to the ground is so outrageously over the top that the writers should feel embarrassed for even coming up with the idea. Instead of being clever it becomes mindless and messy which I am sure for those who just love big action will be enough but again for those like me who grew up on the 80s series it is simply wrong.

But to be frank the movie was on a loser before it even started because what made the 80s series so good was the combination of characters and the actors which played them. So whilst we have Liam Neeson trying to give us Hannibal in the same style as George Peppard it just feels like a spoof of the character, same with Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson as B.A. There are though two positives, yes two and Bradley Cooper does a nice job of playing Face, different to how Dirk Benedict played him but still gets across the confident sex appeal of the character. And Sharlto Copley does a nice job of the comedy craziness of Murdoch, again playing it different to how Dwight Schultz did but getting across the basis of the character without it feeling a spoof.

What this all boils down to is that "The A-Team" the movie may appeal to new audiences who love big action and never grew up watching the show in the 80s but for those who did it borders on the terrible. In fact not only is it outrageously over the top when it comes to the action but borders on being a spoof when it comes to the characters.