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Thursday, July 29, 2010

The A-Team movie (2010): A quick review

I've just got back from seeing the new A-Team movie at the Odeon cinema in Leicester. I'll try not to give too much away, but be warned that there may be one or two spoilers contained below...

The short review
It was awesome.


The longer review
I can't remember the last time I saw a movie at the cinema in its first week, let alone its first day, but I've been looking forward to this one for a while. I turned up at the cinema to find the longest queue I have ever seen at any cinema, and quickly decided that the best thing to do would be to book tickets online (using my mobile), bypassing the queue entirely. This meant that I couldn't use my Orange Wednesday ticket, but hey, this is the A-Team. How often does an A-Team movie come out? Anyway...

The premise...
The first few scenes introduced the characters wonderfully, and I found the premise behind these scenes to be interesting: rather than being set after the TV series, or before it as a prequel, the movie reinvents the concept in a modern setting. The very beginning shows Hannibal and Face, who are already friends and comrades, meeting B.A. and Murdock for the first time. Cut to 8 years later, and the team are a unit of American soldiers towards the end of the war in Iraq. They are sent on a covert mission and... stuff happens. I won't detail what, but it's a good modern analogue of the Hanoi bank job that is the back story for the original series.

The characters...
Hannibal, Face, B.A. and Murdock are all very definitely the characters from the TV series, but modernised. This is a good thing, though: played absolutely faithfully, many of the team's original characteristics would jar against our expectations in a world that's moved on 18 years since the series first started: changed attitudes would have us not liking certain characters as much as we should (Face's misogyny, for example, has been toned down, but he's still the womanising conman we all love). Lynch is in the movie, but the only thing lifted from the original is his name: he's not even an army colonel. Having said that, the Lynch character is intriguing, entertaining and a worthy adversary for the boys.

The plot and action...
Ludicrous plans, over-the-top action scenes, generally unbelievable plot devices. In short: perfect. There are a couple of scenes that pay decent homage to the B.A-welding, Murdock-being-crazy, build-stuff-out-of-whatever's-lying-around montages from the series, and the original A-Team theme tune makes a brief appearance on a couple of occasions (but not enough for my liking!)

The verdict...
I loved it. I thought it was an excellent tribute to one of my favourite television shows. It brought the concept up to date, changed all the bits that needed changing and kept most of what made it brilliant the first time around. I'd love to see a new TV series resulting from this, but I can't see it happening.
Will you like it? If you want it to be exactly the same as the TV series, then no. But if you ever truly thought that it would be, you're kidding yourself. If you want to see a decent tribute, but are open minded to having a few things changed to make it suitable for a 2010 audience (some of whom have never seen the original series, remember), then you'll love it!

Some almost-spoilers...

  • Stick around until the end. The very, absolute end.
  • The van! There needs to be a sequel to put that right.
  • I love it when a movie gets all self-referential.