Just like synthesisers, leg warmers and mullets, all tacky fads come into our lives on a wave of cool but quickly outstay their welcome, only to return years later under the new, socially acceptable guise of ‘retro’. After recent successful rehashes of Starsky and Hutch, Charlie’s Angels and Knightrider it was down to internet bloggers and forum aficionados the world over to debate what the next revival would be, and for this year we have Joe Carnahan’s The A-Team, which hits UK cinemas next week. Though the original television series was never quite as popular in England, the chance of a contemporary movie version provided a brilliant opportunity to introduce the franchise to a whole new generation, creating a cheeky cult hit in the process.
The new cast features Liam Neeson as Col. John ‘Hannibal’ Smith, Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson as Cpl. Bosco ‘B.A.’ Baracus, Bradley Cooper as Lt. Templeton ‘Faceman’ Peck and Sharlto Copley as Capt. ‘Howling Mad’ Murdock, who even gets the chance to reprise his District 9 South African accent early on in the movie: and it’s a movie so ridiculous that a heavily armed prawn making a cameo appearance midway through wouldn’t look an inch out of place.
In the twenty minutes running up to the opening titles our heroes have already found themselves in several easily-escapable elaborate execution attempts, have formed an alliance through some of the most careless and thrown together story telling in action-cinema history, and the trademark van has been destroyed before the adventure has even begun. As though that weren’t enough B.A. has already pitied several fools, deemed various incidents as ‘bulllll-shit’ and developed a phobia of flying at the hands of Murdock, all before Col. Smith has had chance to inform us of his unwavering affection for successfully formulated plans.
The main problem with the film is that, whereas most movies rely on the use of a script for direction and plot, The A-Team seems to have been recorded directly from the vivid imaginations of two eight year old boys who have been filled with sugar, given a bucket of Action Men, and taught the meaning of the word ‘shit’; and it makes for nothing more than a whole mess of noise, extravagant automobiles and explosions. Lots of explosions. The direction lacks any subtlety or grace and every plan or rescue mission is plotted and executed in two minutes of jumbled fast-paced editing, beneath a dramatic score that doesn’t stop from the opening scene to the last.
Okay. It’s fair to say that anyone going into The A-Team expecting an Oscar-worthy masterpiece that will reshape the face of cinema would be out of their optimistic mind. The movie is supposed to be nothing more than a whole heap of summer-time fun, 153 minutes of nonsense to provide enough time to pluck up the courage to kiss your date in the darkness of the cinema. But the movie is so ridiculous, so intellectually devoid, so incredibly outrageous that it goes far beyond some lighthearted cigar-chomping fun and leaves you pitying the fools that have paid to receive this slap in the face from Hollywood.
The A-Team is out 28/07/10 on general release across all UK cinemas. For more info about the film, click here.