The A-Team

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(2010) ★★

Channel 4: Saturday 8 August, 9pm

Let’s hear it for The A-Team, those rogue Rangers long lost to TV syndication since debuting to general bemusement in the 1980s. Everything got blown up, no one ever got hurt. Now Liam Neeson is gruff Hannibal Smith, Bradley Cooper is smug Face, Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson is big bad Bosco Baracus and, in the niftiest piece of casting, District 9’s Sharlto Copley is mad Murdock. The other three are basically playing to type (Neeson’s even greyed his hair to look that little bit more like George Peppard), while Copley’s the unpredictable one, both as character and actor. The opening titles, spread over 20 minutes, show how the quartet got together in Mexico. They keep going on and on about ‘the plan’ but these guys don’t even play by the rules of physics. That’s the wonder of CGI. You’ll believe a tank can fly. Crash! Crash-bash! Crash-bash-smash! Hollywood is so bankrupt of ideas it keeps sanctioning remakes of ropey old TV shows (Mod Squad, Charlie’s Angels, SWAT, Dukes of Hazzard, etc) because – like the toy lines and computer games they also plunder – it’s easy to market this stuff. They’re ‘brands’. And now they’re in 3D! “Overkill is underrated, my friend,” says Neeson. Not in Hollywood, it isn’t. Never was. Trouble is, now they make the action scenes violent enough to give Tom & Jerry pause while filling the speech-bubble dialogue with potty-mouth phrases so that these films are obliged to be slapped with a ‘12’ rating (PG-13 in the US) when you’d need to be at least half that age to get the most out of them. You’d have imagined that Tropic Thunder and South Park’s Team America might have made gung-ho nonsense like this redundant but, still, it’s colourful, competently done, lively and loud, although nowhere near as amusing as Face imagines. And, oh dear God, no… that’s going too far. Hannibal still smokes cigars.

Certificate: 12

Duration: 114min

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