The A-Team

2010-08-19 15:48
 
The A-Team

What it's about:

A crack Army Rangers unit is framed for the theft of plates used in money production. Determined to clear their names, they plot an escape from military incarceration and hatch a plan to bring the real perpetrators down.

What we thought:

The A-Team is one of the most lovingly remembered TV series from the 80s, surpassing even MacGyver and Magnum P.I. in that regard. It was one of the biggest-budget series commissioned at the time, but it also had its tongue quite firmly in cheek for most of its admittedly hokely-premised (and now badly dated) episodes.

Still, it's a big ask to bring all that into cinema some 20-odd years later. Do you go for a nostalgia trip, or do you try to bring new audiences to your "franchise"? Director Joe Carnahan (Smokin' Aces) does the clearly insane and attempts to go both ways at once.

The A-Team is not going to open new avenues of cinematic insight. But in a cinema age where directors with gigantic budgets can produce action crap-taculars like Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen or Knight and Day, you really have to love an action movie that can at least make you feel good about most of what it offers.

You almost won't mind the occasionally dodgy CGI, or the hilariously unlikely action scenes. Or even the endless montage-esque editing style (it's like the whole movie is a build-shit-out-of-spare-dialogue sequence).

Nope you won't mind at all, because the actors seem to be having an illegal amount of fun hamming up the action and mugging for the camera, and nobody else in the cast really needs to do much more than let the movie happen around them - which, in the case of The A-Team, works like a charm. It's a chuckle-a-minute nod to old quirks and idiosyncrasies, and it's a bullet train of high-octane action, speed-of-light editing and big explosions.

South Africans will especially love a brief scene in which local boy done very good Sharlto Copley channels The Sweetie Man, and Neeson is surprisingly watchable in the late George Peppard's signature role. Also, original A-Teamers Dwight Schultz (Murdock) and Dirk Benedict (Face) have cameos so brief, you'll likely blink at the wrong moment and miss them completely. 

Though your experience of the movie will vary widely, depending on where you are in the world and probably how old you are, South Africans are not going to find a more fun two hours at the cinema this winter season. And much of that is due to Copley who injects a wild, infectiously charming air of insanity to it all. Unlike his more established co-stars, Copley is bound to benefit infinitely from his work here. He is a scene-stealer, and this is only his second film role.

So just like its protagonists, despite the odds stacked against it and the clear opportunities for dismal failure, The A-Team is a miraculous winner. The plan, it seems, has indeed come together.
 
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Thanks to Sharlto Copley, South Africans are not going to find a more enjoyable two hours at the cinema this winter season.

A TEAM FAN 2010/08/20 8:54 AM
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Anton - what a well written article!! I loved the way you tucked it into bed with the "plan that always comes together"
A TEAM RULES 2010/08/20 9:47 AM
This looks to be a fun two hours, cant wait and wont take things to seriously. Well done Sharlto!!
preshen govender 2010/08/20 3:04 PM
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watched it two weeks ago,loved it great story and action
Darryn 2010/08/22 11:37 AM
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went and saw it on friday so proud of our sa boy well done
Riaan 2010/08/23 7:08 AM
Saw it over the weekend. A whole lot of fun! Sharlto owned the role of Murdock!
Disagree 2010/08/23 10:37 AM
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I was a fan of A Team when I was young, had BA's toy van etc. I have to disagree with the review. This was probably Liam Neeson's worse role ever, do a serious comparison to his acting in Taken. The over use of the word 'Plan' made me sick. Did anybody do a count of how many times the word 'Plan' was used in the movie. Rampage Jackson was terrible or maybe the BA character is more appealing to younger crowds. Bradely Cooper was decent. There was so much potential for this movie and other '80s movies like Transformers which was ruined by Michael Bay. The A Team's action sequences were rubbish. Take a look at how akward the first action scene was with Liam shooting from back of BA's van. The last action scene I fell asleep, absolutely boring. On the whole the movie was rubbish. The only reason why I got through watching this movie was cos of the SA boy who nailed Murdock's role better than the original. Sharlto's performance would be the only reason to watch this movie. There are no negative stars to rate this movie so I'm forced to give the movie a 1 star, but Sharlto gets six stars.
Peter 2010/08/23 11:20 AM
Loads of fun, very tongue in cheek and cheesy! Well done Sharlto, looks like it must have been fun to make - hey it's got Jessica Biel in there, how bad could that be!? ;-)
IDIOTS 2010/08/23 11:58 AM
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You guys clearly do not know what you are talking about. The movie was average at best, not even close to being as good as the original series. As for Sharlto Copley, no offense but the guy can't act to save his life. Don't think someone is a brilliant actor just because they are South African. Charlize Theron is a brilliant SA actor. Sharlto Copley is not. Maybe given time he will improve, but as it stands now, I wouldn't watch anything with him in it. I give the movie 2 and a half stars...
IDIOTS 2010/08/23 11:58 AM
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You guys clearly do not know what you are talking about. The movie was average at best, not even close to being as good as the original series. As for Sharlto Copley, no offense but the guy can't act to save his life. Don't think someone is a brilliant actor just because they are South African. Charlize Theron is a brilliant SA actor. Sharlto Copley is not. Maybe given time he will improve, but as it stands now, I wouldn't watch anything with him in it. I give the movie 2 and a half stars...
lixard 2010/08/23 2:36 PM
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I watched the movie with a heavy babelas from the rugby - and thoroughly enjoyed it! It was sharp, witty ("over-the-top is underrated") and very tightly edited. Copley was good (it must have been such a jol to act that role!) and I liked the few SA-isms he chucked in, including a proper braai! Lotsa laughs.
NCT @ IDIOTS 2010/08/23 5:13 PM
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I stopped caring about your opinion the moment I read "Charlize Theron is a brilliant SA actor"...
Gareth 2010/08/23 5:48 PM
Great film that does what it says on the tin - entertain. Whats more the actors looked like they had a phat jol while shooting too. Loved the SA microhone jibe from Sharlto.
JacquesL 2010/08/24 1:46 PM
plse tell me that sharlto does not act as silly as johan van der walt's inbred cousin in the worst movie of all time, disctrict 9, and then i will go and see it.
Jet Heller 2010/08/25 4:14 PM
I think Hollywood is running out of ideas. That is why everything is copied or based on something that was a success years ago. The A-Team was not about CGI effects at all. All the stunts were done old school. That being said I don't think it is possible to do a remake at all. The younger generation that generate the box office sales can't remember it and the generation that can, will only see it as a huge ripoff.
testing 2010/08/30 2:47 PM
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