Monday, 26 December 2011

The A Team

You'd think the makers of this film had pulled their trousers down and taken a dump over the faces carved into Mount Rushmore, such is the opprobrium heaped on The A Team (2010).

Now I loved The A Team tv series when I was a kid. But that doesn't mean that nearly 30 years later I can't recognise it's flaws. It was formulaic and often silly to the point of farce. But to criticise the suspension of reality in this reboot is to pretend the tv series was something it never was.

Yes, the laws of physics do seem to be temporarily suspended in this film. Flying a parachuting tank is clearly ridiculous. But it's no more ridiculous than firing thousands of rounds of ammunition without killing anyone. Or being conveniently imprisoned in a warehouse with a old car and a welding torch. Not once, but every single week.

Don't get me wrong I am not about to launch a full scale defence of this film. The plot is a confusing, unengaging mess, but the idea that the film is some act of sacrilegious act of desecration is to assign an utterly undeserved status to the source material.

The film signals it's intent right at the start and you either buy in then or it's best to just abort. Interestingly for us the sequence is the key one for us as it includes a helicopter explosion.

The newly assembled A Team having requisitioned an old chopper from a hospital to affect their escape from Mexico. They're pursued by some corrupt Mexican army officers in another helicopter.

Unfortunately, the old air ambulance the A Team are in has no weapons so all they can do is take evasive action. This involves an aerodynamically impossible 360 roll along with an equally implausible deliberate stall to avoid some missiles.

Having used up all their tricks it looks like the A Team's chopper is about to be picked off out the sky. But unbeknownst to the Mexicans pursuing them they've now crossed into US airspace. A jet fighter appears out of nowhere and blows the pursuing helicopter to smithereens.



Artistic merit

I enjoyed the helicopter chase sequence even if it borrowed it's aeronautic acrobatics from Blue Thunder and Die Another Day.

The explosion was well executed but it's incredibly brief and director Joe Carnahan cuts straight to the whooping reactions of the A Team in the other helicopter.

Exploding helicopter innovation

While the fighter plane's missiles are the direct responsible for the helicopter's destruction, the ultimate cause was clever use of international airspace. First known usage as far as I can tell.

Number of exploding helicopters

One.

Do passengers survive?

No. If we were talking about the tv series the answer would obviously be, 'but of course'. However, unfortunately for everyone in the chopper we're no longer in the 80s.

Positives

I'll admit I'm struggling with this one. All told this is a pretty derivative actioner. Nothing's too great, nothing's too bad.

Negatives

Liam Neeson. Does the man ever enjoy himself? He always looks pained in everything he appears in. Every time he smiles it looks like he's been cued to do it by someone shoving a hand up his backside.

Favourite quote

"Overkill is underrated."

Interesting fact

Bruce Willis was originally considered for the role of Hannibal Smith. I reckon he could have done a George Peppard impression in his sleep. Hitting that tone between levity and seriousness, much more easily than the taciturn Neeson.

The script for The A Team was written by Skip Woods who is quickly carving out a reputation as a guarantee of exploding helicopter action. He also wrote the screenplays for X Men Origins: Wolverine and Swordfish which both feature helicopter explosions and chopper sequences.

Review by: Jafo

5 comments:

  1. Your tagline should be

    "I watch these films so you don't have to"

    If you play your cards right you might be eligible for a government grant for services to the community.

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  2. this turned out way better than i expected.

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  3. I'd agree. This ain't no classic, but I have seen far worse.

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  4. I've been meaning to check this out, but some of my friends and I had planned to see it together, because we all watched the show growing up. I have a feeling it'll be hard to detach myself from the nostalgia and give this a fair shake, but I'll give it a try.

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  5. I reckon they did a good job with the casting for this. My one problem though it with Liam Neeson. Somehow George Peppard had the right blend of astute thinker and crazy maverick to believably be in charge of such a random group. Neeson's too straight and why he'd take to Murdoch so readily in the film is a definite false note. Still with a few friends and a few beers you should still have a good evening.

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