Director: Joe Carnahan
Cast: Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Quinton Jackson, Shartlo Copley, Jessica Biel, Patrick Wilson, Gerald McRaney, Brian Bloom
Plot: If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team!
When it comes to making an A Team reboot, the question isn’t necessarily: why? In fact, the better question would be why not? While the A Team is a cult piece of television, cemented into the pop culture archives and rivalling Die Hard and Star Wars when it comes to the amount of references it holds to its name, perhaps it isn’t the kind of show that should be remembered fondly and left gathering dust in a DVD collection somewhere. No, the A Team is the kind of idea that should be brought out to play as much as possible, exploding loudly onto your television screen – or cinema screens as Carnahan attempts with this remake – and having the time of its life.
And that seems to be the main mission statement with this reboot. Carnahan understands that audiences want fun more than anything else with this movie. And therefore, logic, character development and smarts are put on hold for laugh out loud scenes like Baracus launching an one man assault to save his car or Hannibal flying a tank through the air. And you know what? There is nothing wrong with that. The A Team hasn’t just brought its characters back from the 80s, but its sense of fun and charisma. The A Team works best as a time capsule, having nothing to prove but slapping a big grin on your face and putting the action firmly on cruise. The actors are having the time of their life and their fun is infectious. Liam Neeson makes for a fine Colonel Hannibal Smith, grumbling his lines with an American growl and treating the role like a man who has just burst out of a comic book. Quite frankly, it is brilliant. Bradley Cooper makes a great Face, acting as the younger lead. As he begins to take command of the group, you can feel Carnahan quietly hinting that it is time for a younger audience to have their day in the limelight. The change in power is good however, so it never feels like Liam Neeson is being written out for the younger, more traditional hero. And then there’s Jackson and Copley, who just have a blast as Baracus and Murdoch. Jackson has the harder job, always living in the shadow of the cult figure, Mr. T. Murdoch does very well, on the other hand, slipping out of the movie as a potential fan favourite, even if his screen time is cut down to a source of jokes, rather than a functioning part in the meat of the action. Outside of the four leads is a mixed bag. Jessica Biel is once again trapped in a character asked to move the story along, rather than take part in any sort of interesting character development. You expect this from a movie like the A Team, but the actress has been in this position so many times, you kind of wish someone new was in her place. Patrick Wilson is much better, almost stealing the show from the actual A Team. Wilson is one of the hidden gems of the acting world, bringing an energetic performance into Lynch.
Of course, the A Team suffers because of its single desire to just have fun. You could argue it leaves an unsatisfying after-taste, as soon as it ends. Yes, we had a lot of fun watching it, but we take nothing away from the movie, other than a few memorable quotes. It might even confuse a few people. The plot rockets along at an unbelievable pace. The aim is not to fully understand what you are watching, so we are left all the more dazzled at the A Team’s wits at getting out of the situation they find themselves in. The head bad guy role changes so often, the villains are never as memorable as they should be. The A Team finds itself caught in a catch 22, where its best sequences are the ones where the mission and the briefing of the mission play out at the same time. They are inventive, create a quick-paced edit and are crammed with edge-of-your-seat action. However, they are also endlessly confusing. It is worth watching once more to fully get your head around what is happening.
Final Verdict: Fun, but little else. Mind you, at least The A Team does what it says on the tin.