Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A-Team, The - 4/5

"Overkill is underrated." - Hannibal

Updating old TV series into modern day movies is a chancy business. You just might end up with a "Starsky & Hutch" hitting theaters. Of course, there is a flip side where it works out close to perfectly. That's "The A-Team". A ridiculous and action packed early 80s TV series shouldn't necessarily work, but this film takes to the right attitude to the entire thing and pulls it off with smiles and explosions. Just the way we like it.

Hannibal (Neeson) and his team expert military soldiers (Cooper, Jackson, and Copley) find themselves in a very bad position. Whilst on a covert ops mission to retrieve stolen currency plates in Iraq, their general is killed and the plates stolen. Being blamed for the incident, they are sentenced to US Military prison. A CIA agent (Wilson) doesn't quite believe the story being told and tells this 'A Team' that if they can retrieve the plates, their slates will be wiped clean and their statuses reinstated. Thusly, they all bust out of prison to clear their names. What they find outside is that things are far more complicated then they thought and a conspiracy to get these plates might be larger and deeper then they imagined.

"The A-Team" required only two things for it to work. It needed lots of ridiculous over the top action with absurd plans. It also needed cast chemistry. This film has both in heaps.

Never taking itself too seriously, this modern outlook on a cult classic balances the books nicely between funny and intense action. More or less combining the two in a great one-two punch. Where the hell else are you going to see a flying tank? Where are you going to a helicopter flip upside down to avoid a missile? Not many places anymore unfortunately. It's a great combo though and kept a smile plastered on my face the entire time.

The film also rocks a stellar cast. The chemistry between the four men is fun and infectious for the viewers and their screen time together is rather rambunctious. Although the acting can be hit or miss (along with the directing which is fun and modern but lacks a certain soul to it) these guys put on the full get up when getting into character and it works for what this film is.

Critics panned this film for its lack of solid story and characters. They're right. The story can be a little too twisty for its own good and the characters are cartoony, but did any of them see the original show? For my money, it was pretty spot on to what I expected from this update.

"The A-Team" is an absolute riot. No its not any kind of a perfect film or is it all that good past its surface level, but its hard not to be smiling and rooting for these men as they leap from one ridiculous situation to the next. It's an infectious chemistry that this film really embraces only for its benefit. 

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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