Thursday, June 17, 2010

THE A TEAM ...yes, The A-Team

Okay, now you think I'm crazy ...hear me out.
The 2010 update of the 80's TV show The A-Team could easily be viewed as just another of the infinite # of remakes and sequels that Hollywood continues to churn out ..except for a few valid points.
What is the truest purpose of re-doing something? I believe the answer is "to do it better".
Seems simple right? Wrong, as we all know ...
So here's the catch ...this movie is better than the show ever was. My friend Travelin' Dave summed it up perfectly in noting that GIJoe did not succeed in making us feel that rush that the show gave us as kids ...The A-Team did. But we're not kids anymore so how does it work?
Give us what we want as adult filmgoers:
From the adrenaline fueled opening culminating in Hannibal Smith's classic line to the very end of the film when we get the iconic "If you have a problem..." AWESOME. Joe Carnahan and his team have such a genuine and obvious love for the original concept that a pervasive sense of pleasure threads the whole movie. Even the bad guys shine with great performances, nuanced dialogue, and actors who seem to be having at least as much fun as we are.
Noteworthy here is that Smokin Aces by the same director distinctly felt as though it's makers enjoyed the process far more than we did.

The film is fun's that simple. The plot is neither complex nor insulting, providing a non-stop ride and plenty of time for every actor here to playaround, and even evolve a little. Watching Liam Neeson do George Peppard's Hannibal Smith is almost as fun as Chris Pine's Captain Kirk - reverence and reinvention abound. Bradley Cooper is charming beyond, and Rampage Jackson pays absolute tribute to Mr.T's BA Baracus ...buuuut Murdock was my guy.
I was a teen when the show debuted so I found it a little young even then, but Dwight Shultz's Murdock was a guaranteed laugh. Sharlto Copley(of District 9) has so much fun with this role, I'd see it again for him ...he is just so funny. Our introduction to "Howlin' Mad"(*spoilers*) has him stitching a thunderbolt into BA's wound and lighting Face on fire ...I missed dialogue because I was laughing ...great, again - good reason to go back to the theatre. Only last years Star Trek impressed me this much(in the realm of the reboot) and though I believe that to be a superior film to The A-Team, it actually accomplishes slightly less: Star Trek was a fantastic show that needed some help in recapturing the magic again... The A-Team was never a fantastic show, but one that resided firmly within camp & nostalgia ...and how to make it work as a film ...easy, make it really entertaining - take everything we liked about the show and inject it with steroids ...perfecto. In other words, do exactly what every filmmaker should set out to do - entertain us.
I guess I'm one of the few guys around who loves sequels and remakes ...these are our stories ...our youth, retold and rebooted and repackaged ...and every once in a while you get to hear a story you know you've heard before, but the guy telling it is telling it even better.