Saturday, 31 July 2010

The A Team

The A Team is the kind of popcorn fodder that puts the viewer in a quandary. Perfectly serviceable, giddily entertaining on its own terms as noisy, big budget junk, comparisons to the fondly regarded TV series will invariably get in the way. Its identity is therefore suspect; those not familiar with its TV inspiration (as with this reviewer) may mistake it for something its not, while the fans of course will be riled up by differences brought about by the star power and effects.

For the purposes of this review, it's best enjoyed simply as the slickest, stupidest kind of summer blockbuster, rather than a direct extension of the TV series. Indeed, the disparaging comments from Mr T himself have put paid to that. As brainless, but still witty, fodder, its acceptable and busy, succeeding largely on the fine chemistry between the four leads who, again, may or may not be doing a good impression of 80s favourites (is this getting dull, yet?)

Regardless, Liam Neeson is as an authoritative a presence as ever, taking over from George Peppard as Col. 'Hannibal Smith', leader of that elite military outfit, The A Team, a man who loves it 'when a plan comes together'. Together with Bradley Cooper's 'Face' Peck, Quinton Jackson's B. A. Baracus and Sharlto Copley's Murdock, they're thrown together on some paper thin gubbins including the old being-sent-to-prison-wrongfully gambit and a largely incoherent thread involving US treasury plates.

Truthfully, director Joe Carnahan is more interested in propelling the audience through a series of awesomely ludicrous set-pieces, all shot at that break-neck speed familiar from the opening of his well-regarded 'Narc'. Thought Inception was a leap of faith? Well, at least that had an internal logic of its own. Wait until you see the flying tank scene in this. It would feel like a heartless, textbook exercise in mega-budget stupidity if it weren't for the talented performers holding it together. Neeson does the pater-familias with guns schtick solidly; Cooper for once is likeable rather than smug while Jackson gets likely the toughest job of the whole production putting a new, less manic face on the series' most iconic character.

He copes well but the scene is rightly stolen by the wonderfully demented Copley as Murdock, crooning You Spin Me Round while dangling on rotor blades and escaping a prison in 3D glasses. Copley can be credited for providing much, if not all, of the demented humour and drive of the film, and seems to get the rest of the cast on their A-game too, forging some wonderful chemistry with his more famous co-stars. Elsewhere Jessica Biel struggles to make an impression in the boys' game as the DOD agent in pursuit, although Patrick Wilson's weaselly villain is good value.

As for Mike Post's iconic theme tune, well, that's barely deployed by Alan Silvestri in his serviceable underscore (a curious quirk of the production - is it going to be doled out more later on in what is clearly hoped will be a new franchise?) But, while clearly there's an identity crisis going on, take it on its own terms and there's fun to be had. Just pity the fool who takes it too seriously!


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  2. 成功多屬於那些很快做出決定,卻又不輕易變更的人。而失敗也經常屬於那些很難做出決定,卻又經常變更的人............................................................