I have just finished watching this minutes ago and I couldn't rush to the computer quick enough!
I will start by saying that I am an enormous fan of the original series and believe it to be amongst some of the best TV ever written. It has incredible actors, a kick ass, unforgettable soundtrack, well drawn characters and some truly inventive set pieces in it. People who look at it and say things like 'well that could never happen', 'it's the same every week' or 'they never kill anyone but they shoot a lot of guns' are missing the point entirely, ignoring the genuinely well written scripts, I would say have probably never watched more than a handful of episodes and should be strung up in an uncomfortable harness and have the stuffing beaten out of them with a sock full of pennies.
When they started to rerelease my childhood Saturday evening viewing on VHS and then on DVD (Dukes of Hazard, Knight Rider, The Hulk etc.) I bought them all and the only one that could be viewed as an adult, still held up remarkably well, was charming as anything, needed no rosy tint of nostalgia and still delivered one hell of a rush was The A Team, everything else paled in comparison.
When the rumour mill threw around the idea of a movie over the last 10 years, I have to say I wasn't in the least bit interested, without that legendary cast and the fantastic writing they were never going to get it right. When they finally got a director and a cast together, most of whom freely admitted to either never watching the original or, actually downright knocking it in an annoyingly postmodern, I want to kick them hard in the danglies, smug faced, self satisfied way (I am looking at you Joe Carnahan you potato headed, incompetent hack!) my heart sank and my head screamed WHY?!?! repeatedly until I started to bleed from my ears. Then, finally, when I saw the trailer it honestly felt like the makers of the film had all lined up in a circle and taken it in turns to sock me in the gut with a rusty pipe. It was for this reason that I waited till it was on demand on my cable box before I braved what I suspected was going to be a bumpy and possibly sick inducing ride.
However, I was really willing to give it a smidgen of a chance, most of the actors I like, some of the cliched elements seemed to be there (the cigars, the van, BA's hair) and if it could keep the right balance between silly fun and high adventure, I was expecting to muddle through mostly ok.
I knew I down right loathed this film from ten minutes in when there seemed to be a preponderance of bad, ham-fisted, dialogue, inexcusably terrible editing and rap music and during the rest of the film, as the hope of it ever redeeming itself dwindled into a catastrophically bad CGI mess before my very eyes, I grew more and more tense and angry, shifting a myriad of criticisms around in my brain wandering which one would spew forth first. If I didn't have neighbours and if I wasn't conscientious you would've been able to have heard my screams, shouts and bellows from space. If it wasn't chemically impossible I would hunt down the director Joe Carnahan, who has possibly the most punchable face in movies this side of McG and Justin Timberlake, stand in front of him and literally explode coating his smug as tits, shit eating grin covered face in my bile, vomit, blood and fleshy chunks of my physically manifested hatred.
Ok, so as I can't order the following rants into which one annoyed me more I will just go for it and you can all try and keep up because trying to contain my sheer knuckle chewing distain for this film is like trying to ask a really heavy bowel movement to crawl back inside you and wait its turn.
Firstly, how do you make an A-Team movie and never use the Theme tune? How do you do that? Honestly! Christ on a jet-ski! Stop. Think about it, maybe download the theme tune, listen to it and then realise, quite sanely, that you would have to be a baboon eared lover of being anally fisted to the sounds of kittens screaming to make an A Team film without ever using what is one of the finest action scores in television history and possibly second only to the James Bond theme in terms of iconic air-punching, adrenaline increasing and joyously manchild type tunage. Now, ok, yes they play a section of it over the end credits, there is a little orchestral nod to it during the tedious and stinky finale when BA takes off his wooly hat and it is almost played in full, quite bizarrely and out of place during a scene in a mental institutions television room as if it is the soundtrack to an unnamed 3-D film that's being projected on a sheet in the background but apart from that the rest of the action, and I would use that term heavily in air quotes if it wouldn't make you all want to castrate me, plays out against either no music or an incredibly underwhelming, uncatchy, unremarkable, patchy and muted score by the once legendary Alan Silvestri. How is this possible!?
(insert shots of me slapping my head and screaming expletives at the moon here)
Get an old cassette recorder with a beat up microphone on it, put it next to the television while an old VHS copy of the original show's credit sequence plays and then take the new movie, turn the sound off and just play the old theme song over the top of it - hey presto! already it's a better movie.
Second, I am sorry to constantly be getting on the back of idiot monkey boy Carnahan and pummeling his worthless head in but he couldn't direct a decent action sequence if you strapped him naked to a hard wooden chair, waved a flaming baseball bat around and threatened him with some violent orifice intrusion, mainly because he'd probably enjoy that, the little fiend, but also because he is no damn good. In the original TV show, with it's ludicrous slow motion and some fairly dodgy stunt doubles, the action was filmed mainly in a medium or wide shot, you could always tell what was going on and it was always damn entertaining. Now while I am not advocating for a modern A Team film featuring early 80s TV style fight scenes (because even though I would thoroughly love that, I am not stupid enough to imagine any mainstream audience putting up with it for more than 2 minutes), when will these hack, hunch backed, imbecile directors learn that lots of blurry, close up, quickly and badly cut shots of various actors' shoulders, knees or wavy arms does not an action sequence make! Also, filming some actors grimacing on a green screen then drawing a bunch of unimpressive crap in afterwards is also not a substitute for some genuinely impressive real-life stunts.
The only way to have done this film correctly would've been in the vein of a License to Kill style Bond film. In other words some fairly realistic, hard nosed action with an occasionally lighthearted mood and tons of actually achieved, jaw dropping set pieces all played against an awesome and iconic soundtrack. The words hideous, faltering, flabby mess don't even begin to describe how slapdash, disappointing, woefully inept and mind-bogglingly awful this whole film was.
The original show had more fun, excitement and character in the voice over that preceded the show than this entire movie manages to muster in an inflated two hour running time.
Now before I go on, if anyone reading this starts to whinge and whine that I should stop comparing the movie to the sheer simplistic brilliance of the original TV show and I should watch it as a stand alone thing, I have this to say:
"you are a moron and you should probably go and sit in that corner before I phlegm on you in sheer disgust" because if you are going to call a film The A Team and have characters in it called Hannibal, Face, BA and Murdoch then expect people to compare it to a similarly set-up and much beloved TV show from the 1980s. If original integrity is your game and you wish to be critiqued based on your individual merits then A) Don't remake a TV show from the 1980s you bulbous half-wit! and B) this film would still fail miserably in my estimation because even as a 'get the gang together to get the bad guy' action movie it is shockingly feeble, relies way to heavily on really rather poor and shoddy computer graphics and has all the charm of skunk fart.
The whole catastrophic waste of time can be summed up in one image from the film and that's when, escaping from the hospital, the helicopter hits an air con unit down off the roof and right on to and totally destroying the A-Team van, right before your very eyes and not only that, then makes a joke about it! It's like seeing Jennifer Connelly in Requiem for a Dream doing a double anal dildo sequence in the hope to get money for smack when all you know her from previously is as an innocent in Labyrinth, or, to put it another way, it's like tuning into Sesame Street one day and Joe Carnahan suddenly walks on screen and urinates all over big bird, laughing manically. God, watching this thing was stunningly depressing in one way and vindication, in another way, that the original will always be the formula that can't be followed, played with or repeated.
Not even the cast can save this 'I have run out of ways to say utterly worthless' movie and some of them, at least, try really hard. Patrick Wilson steals the show because, despite some appalling dialogue, he comes across as a genuinely morally dubious, greed fuelled, slightly sociopathic and self satisfied villain, this is obviously what he should be doing with his career instead of playing nervous, twitchy, mumbling nice guys and Liam Neeson, although out of his depth completely and staggeringly miscast, is as watchable as ever. The tragedy here is that the usually great, yes, we know you're really brilliant and we aren't blaming you at all, Sharlto Copley, who, not only was one of the few fans of the TV show on set but could've been this film's saving grace as Murdoch, is really given nothing to do, struggles terribly with an American accent and is generally rather difficult to hear under all the horribly sound mixed effects. Bradley Cooper as Face could've been good too but the script is just so damn flat and the film edited like an ADD patient on amphetamines that it's all lost in the shakey, blurry wank of it all. The rest of the cast are uniformly bland and awful, especially Jessica Biel who wanders around spouting utter crap looking ugly and pale like the face of the woman in the film Brazil who is having it stretched out by Jim Broadbent, also in one scene I was completely distracted by the fact that she is wearing a very obviously un-ironed shirt, not unusual in life or the grand scheme of things but distracting in a film.
Lastly, and weirdly there were just a couple of minor plus points to the film.
One, they do throw enough of the original A Team stuff in there to keep recognisable. Things like names, little wardrobe choices, the odd prop including a style of machine gun that they use in the TV show that Hannibal uses in the early 'rescue Face' scene also, there's a little bit of an explanation as to why Murdoch and BA would have a fractious relationship and why the latter would be afraid of flying that isn't as shonky as it could've been.
Then there's the whole subject of the plot, which actually, isn't half bad, not only does it keep it in line with some of the themes explored in the TV Show (where they are convicted of robbing the Hanoi bank on the orders of General Morrison which is very similar to the film) but it does a good job of updating characters like Lynch, exploring them further and actually making the whole thing a little more believable, the moving of the action to present times doesn't jar either and feels just fine.
I think this may have something to do with original creator, the late great pipe smoking beardy, Stephen J Cannell shopping this idea around for ages before hand, they seem to have nailed the plot but completely failed horribly with the script.
Little pet peeve inserted here: I don't need to hear The A Team swear, makes little to no sense and has no place in the film and it's like watching James Bond orgasm in The World is Not Enough, it's just gratuitous and wrong.
All in all though, the plot not withstanding, this is a rancid, heap of steaming effluent that needed someone a million times more talented behind the camera and a little more of an inventive and unexpected cast, Dan Aykroyd as Hannibal for example (think of his character in Grosse Pointe Blank meets Ghostbusters 2 where he is seen with a cigar in his mouth at one point doing a perfect Hannibal 'beautiful!') and while I appreciate I may lose some of you there, at least I have thought about it, can picture it and it would certainly shake it all up a bit.
One of the biggest crimes, though, that our resident arse demon, Carnahan commits is leaving the cameos, from the genuine legends Dirk Benedict and Dwight Schultz, practically on the cutting room floor, sticking them, as he does, at the end of the credits. Very appropriate that when Bradley Cooper asks Dirk Benedict what do you do about the face? and he replies "Don't mess with it kid"
Leave it to a member of the original cast to sum up so clearly what I felt about the film. I absolutely hate and abhor this current Hollywood that rapes our memories and then coughs up these poorly made, rotten CGI filled, modern counterparts all over us. Next time they think about doing it, a big floating Dirk Bendeict head should appear to them in their boardrooms with a big booming voice and say "Don't mess with it!"
1 out of 10 nose blows into a filthy rag