After a decade of rumours the A-Team finally arrive on the big screen with a new cast, headed by Liam Neeson as Hannibal, taking the mantle of the soldiers of fortune wronged by the US military.
The film starts in Mexico where, for reasons it doesn’t seem to bother explaining, Hannibal and Face (Bradley Cooper) are both captured while on a mission.
Escaping, Hannibal randomly meets ex-Ranger B.A. Baracus (Quinton Jackson) who he persuades to help rescue Face, doing so they arrive at a US Army hospital where they meet Murdock (Sharlto Copley) who flies them back to the US.
This is probably the most incomprehensible and weakest opening of any recent film but the good news is you’ll soon forget the messy start when the film jumps 8 years and “80 successful missions” later to modern day Iraq where the now highly respected A-Team are serving.
Visited by CIA Agent Lynch the A-Team embark on a mission to steal printing plates which are being used to counterfeit U.S currency and the fake notes themselves. This secret mission is sanctioned by General Morrison against standing instructions that no-one is to enter Baghdad. After a successful mission the money is destroyed by men from a private security firm and Morrison killed – unable to prove they were acting under orders, the A-Team are tried and imprisoned for 10 years.
After the inevitable escape the team set out to prove their innocence in a story which feels like it was borrowed from a Jason Bourne movie. It’s all fairly formulaic stuff, there are chases, explosions and a ‘surprise’ betrayal which the audience will likely see coming long before the big reveal.
There are some strange omissions – one scene ends with Face setting off to find a way for the team to escape their situation, the next time we see them they have a fairly impressive speedboat but we don’t get to see how he acquires the boat. Surely an audience going to see an A-Team movie will want to see Face doing his conman routine?
The cast do decent jobs but they’re often required to do little more than ape the broad outlines of the original series portrayals and there’s little danger of them overshadowing their 1980’s counterparts.
Forget any talk of cameos by original stars Dwight Schultz and Dirk Benedict – these have been relegated to post-end credits status rather being incorporated into the film itself. A bit of a cheat but then, as they’re one of the most enjoyable parts of the movie, it may be a wise decision on the part of the producers to have them serve as the audience’s final impression of the film.
A fun summer film with lots of action and explosions, just don’t go along expecting too much depth or meaning and you’re unlikely to be disappointed.
The A-Team hits UK cinemas July 28th