(M) Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Shalto Copley
While highly modernised, this is a thoroughly enjoyable romp which perfectly recaptures the tone of the ’80s hit TV show.
Like MacGyver and Quantum Leap, The A-Team TV series was legendary for its silliness and one liners that came into common usage — “I love it when a plan comes together” and “there is no plan B” were probably the best. The original TV series also made a bona fide star out of Mr T as the gold-chain wearing BA Baracus.
For the uninitiated, the A-Team was a group of framed Vietnam military specialists who turned mercenary to fund their rob-from-the-rich-give-to-the-poor lifestyle. They helped those who needed their help and didn’t ask for any payment in return for doing away with society’s bullies.
Each episode would normally end with them making an insane vehicle to fight the bad guys from bits of scrap metal and almost anything else they could find. The violence was bloodless and the one-liners came thick and fast.
Taking the now well-worn track of the origin story, this new take on the series is directed by Joe Carnahan — not generally known for his action comedies.
The film introduces us (with handy freeze frames and printed names) to military strategist Hannibal Smith (Liam Neeson), smooth talking ladies man Templeton “Face” Peck (Bradley Cooper), hard man B.A. Baracus (Quinton “Rampage” Jackson) and wild-eyed pilot “Howling Mad” Murdoch (Sharlto Copley).
After an initial prologue when the team get together, the film then skips eight years and 80 missions to Iraq (modern audience’s version of Vietnam) where the team is framed for reclaiming a haul of US currency plates after being doublecrossed by a superior officer.
The team are then court marshalled and placed in prison. CIA goon Det. Lynch (Patrick Wilson) now needs the A-Team out of prison to locate and secure the plates as they have mysteriously gone missing.
It’s not long before the team realises exactly who Lynch is actually working for so the team must spend the rest of the movie clearing their name.
Director Carnahan hits exactly the right mix of over-the-top stunts (a scene where a tank freefalls from an exploding Hercules aircraft has to be seen to be believed), comedy, action, mostly bloodless violence and the classic one-liners.
A very small sub plot involving an old flame of Face’s means Jessica Beil gets what almost amounts to a cameo in the film.
This is squarely aimed at fans of the original and the over 15 crowd for maximum bang for your buck. See it with tongue firmly planted in cheek and you will walk from the cinema suitably satisfied.
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