Monday, August 9, 2010

Movie Review:: The A-Team

Four Army Rangers form a crack team of special operators, running 80 successful operations over 8 years.  This is the kind of success and off-the-books team the CIA needs for a Top Secret op that involves as much money as you can print with your own private U.S. Mint and as much protection as the worst of Iraq's underworld can muster.  Too bad it blew up in their face.  Now they must get the bad guys and clear their names.

If that sounded vaguely familiar, chances are you were thinking more along the lines of this summers hit The Losers than the 80's iconic TV Show.  In fact these movies have a lot in common, maybe too much, to the detriment of this A-Team reboot.  While the movie ditches the main premise of the majority of seasons of the TV show in favour of a palatable 3-act introduction to these characters, replete with massive action set pieces, it does manage somehow to sneak in the 'feel' of these characters we know and love.  That said, this remake lacks the heart the TV show had.

In the 80's this show was a child of the times, it was after Vietnam, America was a lot of things and confused might have been one of them.  Enter four Desparados, wrongly convicted men, who travel the country and risk their lives to help the innocent, the downtrodden, and the oppressed.  Often for a pittance, fashioning what they would need for their cunning plans out of the vehicles and farm equipment so often at hand.

Fast-forward to 2010 and we have Iraq-vets trying only to help themselves in a tongue-in-cheek Bourne style war with the CIA.  Leave that to The Losers, in a lot of ways, they did it better.  Don't get me wrong The A-Team is a funny movie, and the action scenes are memorable.  The key was the casting, all the characters came out on screen and I enjoyed watching the interplay.  I was impressed to learn B.A. Baracus is actually played by a UFC fighter, I had no idea this guy was not a character actor.  All said, I would have traded in Liam Neeson for another actor, but maybe I just never got over Star Wars.

As with so many of these reboots what we got was a script written as a revisionist back-story introduction to the characters we used to know and in so doing, we rob them of the setting and actions that made us love them.  If Hollywood's plan was to cash in on yet another 80's memory with no clear understanding of what made it a phenomenon, well, I guess they must love it when a plan comes together.

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