Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The A-Team

The A-Team was frankly screaming out for a Hollywood remake. Big, bold OTT characters, stunts, explosions, a simple plot premise and unlikely yet clever gadgets, it has blockbuster written all over it. What a shame, then, that the actual Hollywood version of The A-Team was this.

On almost every level, the film fails to be what it should be. All of the characters are just slightly wrong. Take B. A. Baracus; in the original, he was a hard-as-nails strongman who could reveal a slightly more benign side in the right circumstances. In the film, he's a bit of a wuss whose character development - such as it is - mainly revolves around him getting his trademark haircut. Then you have the violence. The violence on the TV series was cartoonish to say the least, with no-one ever dying despite the outrageous stunts and massive explosions. People die in the film, and there is a level of violence (like the threatened necklacing) that you just wouldn't see in the TV series. And finally, there's the plot. Sure, the TV series had quite repetitive plots, but that was part of its charm. Unfortunately, the film launches into a plot that is both hideously complicated (for a Hollywood flick) and misses the point of the original. In the TV series, the A-Team helped others who couldn't help themselves. In this version, they are either helping Uncle Sam or helping themselves.

That's not to say this is a bad film - it isn't an insult to the original, as say the film version of The Avengers was. Indeed, in the scene when the A-Team rescue Murdoch from a mental hospital, it approaches a level that is almost genius. The point is, though, that it never manages to be The A-Team. Rather, it all feels like a Pierce Brosnan Bond movie; the whole thing is a bit like a remake of Die Another Day (albeit without the arsing about in an ice palace at the end). Which is all well and good, but does rather beg the question of why they felt the need to make this an A-Team film when they very clearly wanted to make an action-espionage movie instead.

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