Joe Carnahan takes on an 80s childhood favourite and pulls it off - just, writes DAVID WATERHOUSE
THE A-Team is like Mr T himself: It may look and sound ridiculous, but it just works - sort of.
Believe me, I really did not want director Joe Carnahan's (Smokin' Aces, NARC) movie revamp of the popular 80s TV show to work. It is an awful thing to admit, but I was looking forward to saying some nasty things about it.
That's because to me The A-Team is more than just a rubbish children's show from the 80s - it was a childhood obsession. Messing with The A-Team is messing with my childhood.
They were the 80s equivalent of the Fab Four. Every boy my age dreamt of being a Hannibal, a BA Baracus, a Face or a Murdock.
Why I wanted to be a mental patient, I am not entirely sure, but you get the idea.
I am also sick of this obsession with the 1980s. In the Decades family, the 80s is the brash middle brother no one talks to at functions because he's obsessed with money, carries a phone the size of a house brick and has hair like an Australian cricketer. I was there, and believe me, the 80s weren't that good.
But despite my prejudices, I cannot deny I enjoyed this 2010 version. Don't get me wrong, it is no Citizen Kane. It is not even a good film.
The plot, in which the eponymous quartet of Special Forces soldiers try to clear their names after being framed for a disastrous undercover military mission, is ludicrous, and some of the dialogue (the bits you can understand at least) is as dodgy as Mr T's bling.
The A-Team's van and famous theme tune, along with love interest Captain Charisa Sosa (Jessica Biel), are criminally underused, while Liam Neeson and Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson are unconvincing as team leader Hannibal and BA respectively.
But, just like when the A-Team used to somehow get trapped in a shed full of rusty spanners and a broken fridge and escape by turning it into a combine harvester with flame-throwers and a nail gun, it shouldn't work but it does.
The first fast-paced 30 minutes are by themselves worth the price of admission, as the four members of the team first meet amid a backdrop of explosions and really poor dialogue.
The action only gets bigger and sillier. People rappel down skyscrapers while firing guns. They drop a parachute-equipped tank from a plane and shoot it either way to guide it into a lake.
They execute ridiculous missions that involve knowing exactly where the enemy will be at exactly what time, down to the very millisecond.
But that actually adds to the charm. The ATeam was never supposed to be serious.
And as much as it hurts me to say it, Sharlto Copley, otherwise known as the bloke from the brilliant District 9, is pretty good as 'Howlin' Mad' Murdock. Although, I have no idea which accent the South African star is aiming for.
But the real star of the show is Bradley Cooper, otherwise known as the good-looking one from another of last year's brilliant movies, The Hangover.
Cooper, who plays the group's ladies man, Templeton 'Faceman' Peck, is destined to be a bigger star. He drives the film and covers up the cracks left by the miscasting of Neeson.
Plus there are even some memorable quotes among the dross. My favourite is 'D.O.D? I don't care if she is G.O.D.'
So essentially, it isn't awful, but it does beg the question whether it would have worked if it wasn't called The A-Team. The answer is, probably not.
Despite every instinct in my body, I enjoyed myself. There are worse ways to spend an evening.
Sometimes I really hate it when a plan comes together.