If you’ve never seen, or just can’t remember, The A-Team telly show which ran for five seasons in the mid 80s, it doesn’t matter. Director and co-writer Joe Carnahan (Narc, Smokin’ Aces) begins by explaining how these four military operatives, Hannibal (Liam Neeson), Face (Bradley Cooper), B.A. Baracus (Quinton Jackson) and Murdock (Sharlto Copley) meet and end up working together. It’s all very contrived, an early warning of how much The A-Team tests the limits of reality, both with the storyline and its improbable stunts.
The desire to capitalize on the success of the original “A-Team” is understandable, as is the failure to transpose its mix of hyperbolic action and cheesy humor to the big screen. The show’s pilot featured a chase sequence on a movie back lot in which Peppard, as the group’s leader, Hannibal Smith, sits in a convertible driven by Mr. T while dressed in a rubber reptile suit and smoking a stogie.
Top that, Mr. Carnahan! He can’t, partly because what made “The A-Team” work — heroes who at once embrace and lampoon the tough-guy persona and the accompanying genre fixings — is such a familiar strategy, from the late James Bond films through the “Indiana Jones” franchise, “Hellboy” and almost every show on the USA Network…read more [The New York Times]
I pity the fool who thinks the big-screen version of The A-Team is just going to be a nostalgic joyride in a red-striped van with a bunch of old TV friends. You know Hollywood doesn’t work that way.
It’s not enough to recapture the goofy pleasures of a television show whose iconic figure, played by Mr. T, was a mohawk-wearing, milk-chugging badass with more bling than Tiffany’s. It wouldn’t do to simply replicate a cheerful action series built on male camaraderie and lots of explosions, whose ideal viewers were 12-year-old boys. Apparently, you also have to try to appeal to the adults that those 12-year-olds have become…read more [CBC.ca]
What’s missing is the fun of the old series. Carnahan and co. take the basic plot line and character description and eschew just about everything else. Gone is the sense of whimsy of the original series. Yes, that stuff some call cheese, but I’d describe as good clean fun. The show knew exactly what it was and invited audiences to swallow the silly with a grain of salt, much like all the shows created by television icon Stephen J. Cannell. It delivered high-octane action with a regular wink at the camera as if to say to audiences, “Yeah, we know it’s totally ridiculous, but aren’t you enjoying the ride?”…read more [IESB]
The characters in “The A-Team” are in possession of esoteric knowledge: They know what’s going on in the movie. To each other, they talk about various people and situations, and we just sit patiently, accepting that they know what they’re doing, that it will all work out for the best. Kind of like watching a Latin Mass.
Yet somehow this is OK. “The A-Team” is a Joe Carnahan movie, i.e., an experiment in propulsion and personality over substance and story. Carnahan directs as if his audience were made up of creatures without thought or memory, who can be distracted only by flashing images and wisecracks. The characters he places onscreen are without interest. Their problems are not our problems. But the sheer motion, the spectacle and the flashes of wit take “The A-Team” out of the realm of garbage. It’s fun…read more [SFGate]
A film a lot of people had dismissed as pure silliness, The A-Team – if given a chance – could be the biggest surprise of the summer. But the problem with The A-Team, something which works against it and may keep viewers from going to check it out, is the film’s trailers. In no way do they capture the absolute fun of seeing our heroes try to fly a tank – yes, a tank. It’s one of those what the hell moments when you just know, when you’re absolutely positive you’ve been let in on the joke and that everyone involved is having a hell of a good time. If you could reach out and high-five the actors, they’d high-five you back…read more [About.com]
Cherish this moment. There will never be a better movie combining Liam Neeson’s newfound badassery, Bradley Cooper’s bankable smarm, the appealing oddity of District 9’s Sharlto Copley, and UFC champ Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s talent for the body slam. Plus: Jessica Biel.
As to the necessity of combining those things in the first place, there is none. Just as there is no reason to plumb the depths of decades-old television for movie properties. Yet here we are. The beauty of making “The A-Team” into a film is that it involves zero risk of masterpiece violation. It was just a dumb, fun, enthralling show for boys. And isn’t that what big-screen summers are for nowadays?…read more [The Faster Times]
The A-Team’s titular aggregation of Army Rangers-turned-outlaws spend an awful lot of time cracking up and flashing shit-eating grins. They’re such a smiley, guffaw-happy bunch that it can sometimes be hard to tell what they’re laughing about, beyond their palpable delight in being awesome manly men whose lives are filled with heroism and derring-do. That spirit of smug self-satisfaction pervades the film, which high-fives itself at every opportunity…read more [A.V.Club]
Bradley Cooper Interview: The A-Team
The film is a relentless, unapologetic, in-your-face barrage of special effects and virtuoso stunts that roars into action in the pre-credits prelude and rarely downshifts. It could just as easily have been called “High Concept Action Film #753,” so randomly are the set pieces churned out. Carnahan knows that if he throws thundering fists, slashing weapons and retina-searing explosions faster than our brains can download all the visual information, we won’t ask quibble over issues of fidelity to the source material. The main benefit of basing “The A-Team” on a pre-existing series is that it comes partially assembled, with the character quirks already in place. That way we can get to the detonations faster…read more [The State]
I had high hopes for THE A-TEAM. Overall, this has been a really underwhelming summer, and I hoped this might give us a much needed shot of adrenaline. I loved the old TV show (although, it’s nearly unwatchable nowadays) and the cast seemed promising, with Liam Neeson being a fantastic replacement for the late, great George Peppard. Alas, I should have know better, as THE A-TEAM is yet another disappointment, in a summer full of them…read more [JoBlo]
Forget the A-Team you know and love. This movie is nothing like it. And it’s all the better for it.
That’s not a slight against the original! I loved it as a kid, and still love it to this day. But the A-Team TV series was a thing built of the 1980s, for the 1980s. Trying to recapture that feel in 2010 would have left us with the cheesiest, most awkward action movie of the year.
Instead, then, this movie – which is part prequel, part reboot – takes only the basic premise of the original and its characters, and goes and builds something almost entirely new with it, which is good news both for fans of the original (as it leaves that series as a separate entity) and those who have never seen an episode of the A-Team but are there because Bradley Cooper is so dreamy…read more [Kotaku]
MPAA Raing: Rated PG-13
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jessica Biel, Liam Neeson, Sharlto Copley, Patrick Wilson, Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, Dirk Benedict, Dwight Schultz, Maury Sterling, Gerald McRaney
Director: John Singleton
Release Date: Opened Jun 11, 2010