The A Team – Film Review

It would seem to be my thing, reviewing remakes of tv-shows and movies for GeekSyndicate.  The lads sent me off to go and view The A-Team movie last night.  After getting hopelessly lost and wandering around the very trendy Soho for half an hour, I located Soho Square which I’ve been to maybe thirty times in my life, and headed for Twentieth Century Fox HQ, feeling a bit pathetic and dim, and hoping that the movie would cheer me up.

It did.  Thank the film-making gods.

So, briefly, in case you’ve been under a rock for the past twenty odd years, The A Team follows the exploits of a team of former Special Forces soldiers who were set up for a crime they did not commit.  They go rogue, utilising each member’s particular set of skills to go after the guys who set them up, so that their names can be cleared.

As one of the ‘80’s most iconic TV shows The A Team delivered a case-an-episode formula which a lot of subsequent TV shows copied, to great success.  Things got quite samey, but it didn’t detract from its popularity.  We loved Hannibal and Face, Howling Mad Murdoch and BA and that van of theirs was as much part of the show as the highly recognisable theme tune.

To decide, twenty odd years down the line to make a movie of the show, took guts and a lot of forethought.  How to take what most of us already know and make it fresh, bringing it to younger audiences and pleasing long-standing fans? The producers and writers went back to the source material and they’ve scripted what is essentially an origins story, not just of how the guys got into trouble in the first place, but how they came together to work as a team and become one of the Army’s toughest and best Alpha Teams.

** minor spoilers **

Hannibal and his team are approached during the impending troop withdrawal from the Middle East by a CIA operative called Lynch for one last mission.  He wants them to steal a bunch of high quality engraved money plates (US dollars) that are due to be smuggled out of the country via a convoy.  Hannibal agrees with enthusiasm, this is what his team does.  His colleague and superior General Morrison begs him not do the run, to get someone else to do it.  But Hannibal brushes him off, assuring him that this is exactly what the team needs , to go out with bang.

There is a face-off between Pike, who is the leader of a group of hired mercenaries who have been asked to do the same job, and Hannibal.  Pike and his goons are a bunch of roughs and Hannibal literally walks all over them.

Jessica Biehl as Capt Charissa Sosa

In the meantime, Jessica Biel as Captain Charissa Sosa turns up and confronts Face, making it abundantly clear that if they moved as much as a toe in the direction of the convey leaving Baghdad that night, she would be all over the A Team like a rash. It also turns out that Sosa and Face had spent some sexy-time together in the past and the air sizzles between the two of them when they are on screen together. I approve!

The game is afoot, they successfully hijack the plates and printed money and make it back to camp without a hitch – warning signs – and as they walk away, congratulation each other on a job well done, General Morrison is heading their way with a bottle of Johnny Walker…when his car blows up. And behind them the container with the money and the plates blow up too…making it look for all the world that they killed Morrison and were on the take.

Cooper, Copley, Neeson, Jackson is The A Team

There is a court martial, they are convicted and dishonourably discharged.

Lynch tracks down Hannibal where he is locked away and asks him to steal the plates back in order to get revenge on the guys who did in fact steal the plates for real. Of course, it is Pike and his team of mercenaries who did this, as well as murder Morrison. Hannibal is totally up for this little bit of revenge and requests full reinstatement for him and his men. Lynch grants it. And the bigger game is in play.

Sharlto Copley as Howlin' Mad Murdoch

Finally, the boys are all escaped, through some ingenious planning and clever use of a tank falling from a flaming, and we are tipped into the clincher, the revenge.

Overall, The A Team is exactly what we remember and loved about the original TV series. We have the characters and the impossibly insane stunts and heroics.  But what I enjoyed, apart from the realistic shoot-outs (not sure what this says about me) and the explosions and the sizzling between Face and Sosa, is how together the guys appeared on screen.

Quinton "Rampage" Jackson as BA Baracus

There is a camaraderie here that can’t be forced. I suppose in most instances film teams and actors form some kind of bond when working on a movie, but it really appeared as if Neeson, Cooper, Jackson and Copley stepped up a notch and became those guys from the A Team for real. The easy banter and familiarity leaves you with a bit of a fuzzy feeling inside. You want these guys to succeed, you want them to kick butt and take names.

It would bad of me not to point out that there are similarities with The Losers movie that came out earlier this year.  But then, when I attended the Andy Diggle and Jock talk at Bristol Comic Con, they were saying how that when Andy created The Losers he had not seen / heard about The A Team and that he had based his new series on an older, existing series set during WWII but updated to modern times. And obviously the two productions knew about one another and if you’ve seen The Losers movie, you’ll notice that there are some paralells but the fact is, the characters are what makes both movies stand apart.  Also, The A Team is aimed at a younger audience with less brutality and on screen sexy-time than The Losers which is aimed at a much more mature audience.

The A Team is explosive fun, filled with one liners, action, guns, insane stunts, and did I mention explosions? It is a true popcorn movie with likeable resourceful characters that may surprise the nay-saying fans of the TV show. I should know. I was one.

I’ve also been offered the opportunity to go to the press event later today here in London.  I will be going and have got my camera and little moleskine notepad ready and will report back either later tonight or tomorrow morning.

The pictures I’ve used in my review is courtesy of the official A Team website.  Go check it out for more info on the movie and further stills that include Bradley Cooper looking impossibly handsome.  Not that I’m biased or anything.

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