Being forced to hum the incredibly catchy theme tune for hours after this film, is just one of the consequences of watching the big screen version of 80s TV show, The A-Team. Running from 1983 to 1986, the campy show followed a group of American rangers who worked as soldiers of fortune after being accused of a crime they didn’t commit. Travelling America, the A-Team helped out the everyman with problems he couldn’t fix alone.
Fortunately, director Joe Carnahan (Smokin’ Aces) has by-passed any serious reading of the source material and has taken a tongue-in-cheek approach, updating the story to fit in with America’s current military exploits. The familiar characters are back, adhering as closely as possible to the originals: John ‘Hannibal’ Smith (Liam Neeson, Taken) is the group’s leader and the brains of the operation; Templeton ‘Face’ Peck (Bradley Cooper, Valentine’s Day) is the ladies man, with a penchant for tanning; B.A. Baracus (wrestler-Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson) is a mohawked muscle man with a fear of flying and finishing off the quartet is ‘Howling Mad’ Murdock (Sharlto Copley, District 9), the certifiable ace pilot.
Straight off the bat, it has to be said that The A-Team is a truly awful film, both script-wise and visually- but if you go in knowing this, the experience is almost fun. Whether it is pure nostalgia or a lack of expectations, there is plenty of mindless entertainment to be had.
While it is certainly Copley who stands out amongst the A-Team’s filmic members, it is the new villains of the piece who give the best performances. Patrick Wilson (Watchmen) as Lynch and Brian Bloom (G.I. Joe) as Pike get all the best lines and do the most with their characters. The inclusion of Jessica Biel’s (Easy Virtue) Charisa Sosa, is a little less successful as you have to seriously dispel belief for her character to make any logical sense- which isn’t really that hard given the film’s whole premise is pretty absurd.
If you have no experience of the original TV series, this film will probably prove unbearable. For us older gen-Yers the A-Team is a bit of ridiculous escapism, devoid of artistic merit, but a guilty pleasure nonetheless.
A-Team is released nationally on 10th June
Director: Joe Carnahan
Cast: Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Quinton Jackson, Sharlto Copley, Jessica Biel, Patrick Wilson, Brian Bloom, Gerald McRaney