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Thursday, 5 August 2010

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - The A-Team




Hey, hey everyone, back again. I haven't been on a break by any means, but I've got a good few new movies to review on the way, and I’ve brought out the Klaus Schulze albums to get me through the task of these reviews, so let's hope we'll get through this together. Alright, first servings here is The A-Team, not related to the 1980's TV show. No really, of course it's related to the 1980's TV show or else it wouldn't have been remade. To get this review into context and also to act as filler so my review is not too short, I have never been a fan of the TV show. I don't dislike it by any means, but my viewing of the show has only been on the odd occasion, and I won't lie, it brought me the enjoyment of a sort of guilty pleasure. Also, The A-Team as a piece of pop culture is one of those things that I see in a way that it could only work once. Don't get me wrong, it is enjoyable, but it is enjoyable rubbish at that, and to remake it for me would be a step too far. So, if you get the idea, I wasn't really enthused going into the film. I just saw this as a grand marketing attempt to make money. However, let's not come to conclusions. I'll give the movie a chance and see how it goes. After an extended credit sequence introducing The A-Team, comprising of Colonel Hannibal Smith, Templeton "Face" Peck, Bosco "B.A" Baracas and H.M Murdock, played by Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Sharlto Copley respectively, we follow our band of brothers as they are accused of a crime they didn't commit, escape from jail and attempt to clear their name by finding those who really committed the crime. Right, nuff said, there's your plot, it's pretty self-explanatory, fill in your blanks. To start with the good, The A-Team themselves are enjoyable bunch to spend two hours with for the most part. Liam Neeson, although not stretching himself by any means, lends a suitable presence as the leadership figure of Hannibal. Also, Sharlto Copley, who brilliantly Wikus Van Der Merwe last year in District 9, is suitably mad and funny as Murdock. Furthermore, a thank you to "Rampage" Jackson for not just doing a Mr. T impersonation in his portrayal of "B.A" Baracas. Jackson plays Baracas really well, and to be fair gives the best acting performance of the central cast, although Sharlto Copley's performance comes a close second. Also, the larger action sequences, the ones with a strong sense of scope and scale, are executed with suitable weight and gravitas, even whenever they go on the line of borderline excess and ridiculous, which they do unashamedly go over at times. This brings me to my next point. The A-Team was always a very tongue in-cheek show, and this transplants really well to the movie. In a day and age in which big, excessive and over-indulgent blockbusters have their heads so far up "you know where", it is refreshing to see a film that understands and is aware of it's own ridiculousness. Furthermore, it does not go over the limit and end up in the realm of self-parody. This version of The A-Team is so unashamedly over-the-top that I cannot help but admire it, and it did bring a smile to my face and some laughs on a few occasions. Numerous lines of dialogue and a strong sense of irony help elevate The A-Team from the dregs of blockbuster self-importance such the Transformers series. However, that said, The A-Team is by no means a great film. Don't get me wrong, The A-Team isn't even really a good film, but you can the film-makers and actors probably had a blast making it. The script is no piece of chopped liver. It is the most base and predictable plot and structure to a script all year. Throughout the film, we can, ironically on the basis of Hannibal's own prophetic advice, "think three steps ahead" of the film. No attempts are made to make the film in any unpredictable, new, or overly exciting. It really is the kind of brain juice that marketing executives are wanting feed us: "we'll give them something enjoyable, but nothing they haven't already seen before or will make them want to think for themselves." Also, as mentioned, The A-Team are far the most part enjoyable to watch. Once again, Bradley Cooper who plays Face in this movie sullies the screen with his completely boring and lazy screen presence. I would like to see this guy give a good performance, because clearly he's the type marketing love to headline films, so no doubt we'll be seeing plenty of him over the next few years. Delivering exactly the same lazy and boring performance he did in The Hangover, Cooper fails to ignite the screen and is clearly the weak link in the central cast. Despite being his swaggering around the women, we are meant to Face endearing. However, we find him to be increasingly annoying, to the point where I wonder if Hannibal really is loyal to his men or if he has a crush on Cooper, who lobotomised women will of course fall in love with because he takes his top off and is buff and because well, you know, like Mista Bill Hicks says "Chicks Dig Jerks." Furthermore, there is an attempt to establish a sub-plot going on between Face and Sosa, played by Jessica Biel, that is completely out of place in the context of the film. I speak of the irony and tongue-in-cheek awareness of the film, but then as soon as there scenes involving the two or suggestions of their romance, that stupid Hollywood piano music of "feel the emotion" comes in. Not only do they have to make me feel jealous (no shame!) regarding Jessica Biel falling for Face/Jerk, they patronise me with that stupid music. Also, for a film with actors who can act like Liam Neeson, Sharlto Copley, Jessica Biel and Patrick Wilson, they certainly don't do much to let them stretch themselves. I won't lie though; Wilson does give a good enough performance for my liking, and probably the best overall performance in the film. Don't get me wrong, like I said, The A-Team is by no a great or good movie, but really it's enjoyable enough for what it is, and thankfully does not take itself too seriously. One really does have to admire that the film-makers have essentially done the unashamed filmic equivalent of walking around with your dick hanging out without saying "you know what, it ain't all about balls."

The Thin White Dude’s Prognosis – 5.9/10

The Thin White Dude’s Self-Diagnosis – Pretty amused

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