“This Is Bat-Shit Insane! It’s Perfect!” The A-Team (2010)
*CAUTION! Here may be spoilers, and ‘I love yous’ blown in the direction of Stephen J. Cannell on the sweet cigar smoke of Hannibal Smith*
Yes, BA, I can’t believe they totalled your van so early either. Damn shame. DAMN shame. Ah well. Out with the old, and in with the new.
Come on and deliver the goods! Bring me gunfire, bring me carnage, bring me plans, cigars, black leather gloves and a Mohawk. Bring me destruction on an epic scale, and bring me death, Carnahan, DEATH! Shit. Its 12A isn’t it? Fuck.
It takes 30 seconds of internally chanting ‘shoot the dogs, shoot the dogs’ for me to remember the rating and watch those pooches yelp off handcuffed together by their collars. What the hell was I thinking? This is the A-Team. Hannibal doesn’t shoot dogs. Hannibal doesn’t shoot anyone. He just aims slightly above their heads to freak them out a little, or hits the leg so they go down alive. No visible fatalities. That is what these guys are about. The eighties seems like light years away now – I just wonder if the previous standard strategy will work in this day and age…
Well, it does, and it doesn’t. That is to say while there are multiple non-visible deaths, we also get to see a bad guy have his neck broken by being slammed head-first into the ground. Low visible death count overall, buts it’s a compromise I’m okay with – mainly due to the fact that this remains consistent with the original TV series, but probably more in part to the number of explosions on show. I lost count of the times something blew up, or our lads encountered flames. This can only be a good thing. I paid to see the ridiculous, and I got the ridiculous. HELL YES!
Thankfully, the A-Team didn’t flash me the full ‘up-skirt shot’ with the trailers – that flying tank ain’t everything. There’s a hell of a lot more mayhem. Namely involving a tanker, a shit-load of storage containers, some shenanigans with a crane, and the obligatory big screen fireworks. Something can always be made out of what would appear to be nothing and these guys can actually defy all laws of science and probability. Their timing is impeccable, and not only can they cheat death, Hannibal Smith can outrun a fucking van! Beat that. A plan exists at all times, and there is always someone ready to explain it via the medium of small plastic toys and empty paper cups.
So what is there to make of this new and improved A-Team?
Well, we’ve established that Hannibal can reach speeds that would put the bionic man to shame, but what else? No fancy dress on this trip. Liam Neeson’s John Smith is a gruffer, more grizzled and battle-weary version than George Peppard’s eternal joker. At his best when enveloped in smoke, this Hannibal doesn’t always get the last word, but then this one probably doesn’t need to. He’s more of the strong and silent type. He also believes in the power of synchronicity – “Remember boys, no matter how random things may appear, there’s always a plan.” Fuck yeah, Hannibal! Everything DOES happen for a reason. I like your style. You’re up there now with Carl Jung, Robert Anton Wilson and Agent Cooper as one of my heroes of the theory!
I’m also betting that Neeson wasn’t as much of a diva on set as Peppard, hence the fair sharing of dialogue and screen time.
I’d liked to have seen more of Quintin Jackson’s ‘rampage’ and fury being unleashed, but then this particular Bosco Baracus is dealing with a crisis of conscience. Nothing that a quick pep-talk from Hannibal and a hit of Ghandi can’t cure though, eh? I’m hoping for another instalment so we can see more of the introductory ass-kicking dished out. On the plus side, an explanation for why a soldier of his calibre has a fear of flying is given, and – as standard – he does get knocked out.
The new and improved Templeton Peck? Bradley Cooper fits the role of the vain, suave-fuck fixer perfectly. I have no timeline or point of reference in my brain for when, or how, he went from “that guy who was in Alias” to – quoting my friend, Benzine Daggers – “looking like a cheap male prostitute from a Michael Mann movie” but for some reason, it seems to be working out quite well for him. Someone should just follow the bastard around with a couple of neon lights and give him that red/blue shading thing. Have I lost you there? Just think Miami Vice nightclub and fill in the blanks. I quite like it actually. God help me, I shouldn’t, but I do. He gets some mouth to mouth action, cops a few quick feels, and loves himself. Apparently he’s been hurt by a lady, but this is of no relevance when the Face always was, and always will be, a one dimensional cad.
Howlin’ Mad Murdock? Well, if I’m totally honest, I had higher hopes. Gone is the wit and charm of a hyper-intelligent crazy-man, to be replaced by what appears to be nothing more than a daft annoyance who can fly. Again though, there lies another avenue for further examination should a sequel appear.
And the villains? Those stereotypical Mexicans of old make an early appearance, the darker side of special ops, the CIA, and – as expected – the odd not-so-innocent that’s been fucked over by The Face. The lads are set up for a crime they didn’t commit, and what would the whole gig be without a Lynch? Well, technically there is more than one of him, but what does it matter? Turns out the name itself is just a code for “right shady bastard”…
With all the improbable events kicking around, there is only one thing that strikes the duff note with me: the A-Team being up against such a thick CIA agent. Wait, your guys don’t even know how to work their guns? This doesn’t bode well for you Nite Owl Lynch. Sorry.
So individually there may have been the odd weakness, but as a team these guys deliver exactly as expected. As a fan of the original series for nearly 25 years, I bloody loved it.
You did good, Carnahan.
Just know that in an alternate dimension, Hannibal blasted those bloodthirsty dogs to pieces. Somewhere, a whole other A-Team exists.