I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

The A-Team

tn_ateamMore like THE C+/B- TEAM if you ask me! Nah, I’m sure somebody beat me to that one, and they probly graded lower. THE A-TEAM is semi-enjoyable but not nearly as good as I wish it was and truly believe it could’ve been even if it’s an adaptation of a stupid ’80s TV show where everybody fires guns and nobody ever gets their head blown off. Directed by Joe Carnahan in a toned down version of his SMOKIN’ ACES hyperactive style, using a script he took over from an individual responsible for THURSDAY, SWORDFISH, HITMAN and WOLVERINE, it’s a movie that only partially earns its swagger. I kind of went back and forth on my feelings about these characters constantly laughing as they pull off ridiculous digitized feats in jets and choppers. It’s kind of relatable and endearing, kind of frat boy and smarmy. It’s the only action movie I can think of where after multiple action beats the characters yell “THAT WAS AWESOME!”

mp_ateamI’m sure THE A-TEAM TV show probly made it all around the world, but if you never heard of it here’s the premise: an elite special forces team is framed for war crimes, they bust the fuck out of the joint and travel around in a van using their skills to help people who’re in trouble, all the while being chased by military assholes and repeatedly failing to clear their name until the last episode. Each one has a specialty: Hannibal (George Peppard) is a colonel so he’s real smart and masterminds everything, also smokes cigars. B.A. (First name Mister, middle name period, last name T) is just a Bad-Ass so he grabs people and/or punches them. Face (Dirk Benedict from “Battlestar Galactica”) is a charming ladies man so he uses his smooth talking and powers of disguise to sneak into places. And Mad Murdoch (Dwight Schultz) is crazy, so he does crazy stuff. Also flies helicopters. Together they usually do some welding to build some sort of jerry-rigged cannon or some shit and there’s a montage where they pull off their plan and they’re all happy. Come to think of it it’s almost exactly like SCOOBY-DOO but with way less snacking.

For the movie of course they went the origin story route, so in this one they’re trying to clear their name after some combination of mercenaries, CIA and/or army got them blamed for the theft of some counterfeiting plates as they’re about to leave Iraq. The story is kind of a more smart-assed version of a MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE movie. The complicated tricks they play are very A-TEAM, but I’m not sure we need the DTV Seagal-style convoluted series of double-crosses. I guess they heard “special forces” and thought “overly complicated spy movie.”

(And my buddy Mr. Armageddon pointed out that it’s simply not believable that the A-Team was in Iraq. If they were then why did it take so long to find Saddam, and to know there weren’t weapons, and to get the fuck out of there? Just as 9-11 wouldn’t have happened in a world with a Superman, Iraq wouldn’t have happened in a world with the A-Team.)

But the cast is real good at recapturing these characters. Liam Neeson as Hannibal gets a great introduction where he escapes from being tied up to a chair (something Wesley Snipes has failed to do in three different movies, so maybe it’s best he didn’t get to play B.A.). Bradley Cooper (MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN) actually seems genetically engineered and trained for his entire life to play Face. It’s ridiculous how exactly his smugness matches Benedict’s.

UFC fighter (and MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN scene stealer) Quinton “Rampage” Jackson has the most difficult job – how the fuck do you replace Mr. T? You can’t just imitate him and you sure as hell can’t not be anything like him. It’s a delicate job and they did it with surprising grace. They keep the fear of flying, ditch the gold chains and feather earrings, give the mohawk a meaning. Rampage’s B.A. smiles more than T’s. He has a little more humor and sense of fun, is slightly less stubborn (he can be easily won over by Murdoch’s cooking) but sort of has the same lovable big teddy bear personality as T. He gets an enjoyably corny supblot about renouncing violence and mohawks, and he gets to whine when people make him want to shoot them.

The only thing I really didn’t like about B.A. was when he did a Li’l Jon/CHAPPELLE’S SHOW seven god damn years ago “yay-eahhh.” Might as well have a reference to the Macarena. But apparently Carnahan thought it was funny because he replayed the damn thing on the end credits.

DISTRICT 9’s Sharlto Copley is fine as Murdoch, but does not transcend the role of Murdoch. Like Schultz he’s funny some of the time, but trying to be funny all the time. I kind of liked him but I wish we could’ve seen John Singleton’s idea of Woody Harrelson as Murdoch. That might’ve been something.

It’s a good team, good chemistry, but something’s weird about the rhythm. Some of the jokes seem timed a little wrong, emphasizing the wrong beat or stepping on the funny lines. It felt to me like a funnier movie was right there, it was just mixed up a little. And Carnahan throws in alot of unneeded non-linear editing, jumping back and forth between planning and execution when simple straightforwardness would work better. He’s like a guitarist who takes three or four too many solos. For example they have Face playing a shell game with some cups as he explains a plan, then he’s doing the same moves with a crane and three shipping containers. And just as I’m enjoying the absurdity it cuts back to him moving the cups, as if we’re too stupid to remember that this is what was shown to us about 45 seconds ago and to realize that there is a connection between the two activities. Even though Face even said out loud “This was much easier with cups.” We didn’t need that and you think we need more than that? Thanks for the confidence, Joe.

Most of the action is middle of the road too. There’s a couple high speed nail biters, but most of it’s a little shakier and choppier than it should be. Definitely not as bad as the modern standard, but also not as good as it would once have been expected to be. Rampage only fights a couple of times and his MMA skills are not really taken advantage of. You would assume he was a WWE guy because he pretty much just does one body slam and a wire-assisted power kick.

Jessica Biel is getting hotter and pulling off tough better than she used to, so I liked her as the officer on their trail (and ex-girlfriend of Face). And I really liked Patrick Wilson as the douchey CIA agent who enjoys himself as much as the A-Team do.

I gotta admit, my favorite parts are all of the stupidest shit. I love that when Hannibal and B.A. meet they can bond over Army Rangers tattoos moments after Hannibal shot B.A. And that, since the screenwriters remember that Hannibal used to say “I love it when a plan comes together,” they have him constantly talking about the act of planning and what constitutes a plan and etc., like that’s his only interest. Plans. And I gotta give points to an expensive studio movie where the heroes playing a trick using ketchup as fake blood, like little kids would do. I’m not as sure about Hannibal quoting Gandhi to convince B.A. to renounce his renouncing of violence, but at least it brings the mohawk back.

One thing I don’t like about these types of movie adaptations is that they tell the beginning of the story and never get to the good part. To me the cool thing about the A-Team is not that they cleared their name in the last episode (SPOILER), it’s that before that they travelled around on the lam and were these legendary underground heroes, risking exposure to help people by using their elite skills. This movie isn’t doing too well at the box office, so I’m not holding my breath for episode 2. But I hope if they do one it’s about B.A. trying to stop the children’s center from getting shut down. And they damn well better get into his love of milk.

http://youtu.be/ofSAt9r2Gek

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 16th, 2010 at 1:46 am and is filed under Action, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

114 Responses to “The A-Team”

  1. The A-Team never got their name cleared. In the beginning of the last season (when the channel wanted to give the show a more serious tone), they were captured by the MP’s and about to be executed, but then Robert Vaughn offered Murdock to bust them out if they would work for him. So he teamed up with Frankie Santana, who did the FX on several of Hannibal’s films, and puts blanks in the guns that the team was about to be executed with. So while now everybody thinks they are dead, they have to work for Robert Vaughn as his personal black ops team. Then the series ends, without them being able to clear the name. They just keep working for Vaughn, while the rest of the world thinks they are dead.

    That said: I’m glad that the movie seems to be more fun than expected. Over the last 10 years I heard about some horrific scripts, that didn’t bear any resemblence with the show and even changed the personalities of the characters completely (A “favourite” of mine was the one, that apparently John Singleton wanted to use, in which Face betrays everybody in the beginning and the rest of the team wants to take revenge for this.). Unfortunately I have to wait till August till it hits here, which is a weird move from the distributor, considering how popular the show is over here (I think it’s running in an endless loop since the last 20 years over here.). Maybe they just didn’t want it to compete with the Soccer World Cup.

  2. I think Rampage does a very weak job, but Wicus and that new Face guy are pretty good. (Nerd mode on) 9/11 happened in Superman comic strips (nerd mode off).

  3. I was thinking the court martial was the last episode, but I guess it’s just the start of the last season, and you’re right, they don’t clear their name. Sorry about that. I’m positive I was right about B.A. enjoying milk, though.

  4. The milk was a convenient vehicle for drugging BA whenever they needed to get him on a plane.

  5. Sounds like this is on a par with The Losers, but with a better villain.

  6. OK so you mentioned Midnight Meat Train about 3 times and you haven’t reviewed it on the sight. Verry interested in what you thought of that. I thought it was like a cross between a lame torture porn movie and Dario Argento. So I’m pretty much balanced right on the fence like a tightrope walker.

  7. I like the homosexual undertones in Midnight Meat Train, and i´m not talking about the title.

  8. I thought it looked interesting, but decided to save my money and wait for blu ray, there’s a lot of other movies I’d like to see this summer

    like Toy Story 3!

  9. I thought MMT was really good except for a couple of plot contrivances and the very end, which kind of destroyed the uniqueness of Vinnie
    Jones’s character. And “torture porn” is a very lame expression and doesn’t do the film justice. No one gets tortured for the titilation of the audience. The very point is that Vinnie Jones’ butcher has to have killed and prepared his victims before the train reaches its destination.

  10. But Vern, the movie is set when the U.S. is pulling all forces out of Iraq, and it doesn’t seem to be in the future. So the A-Team must have had some effect on the war, because we know damn well that ain’t happening anytime soon without some serious plans coming the fuck together.

  11. With LOSERS and A-TEAM both getting a foot put in their ass in theatres, I wonder how nervous Stallone is about his EXPENDABLES.

  12. Jareth Cutestory

    June 16th, 2010 at 6:42 am

    I wish film classification warnings included the phrase “kind of frat boy and smarmy” alongside “violence,” “shocking violence,” “some nudity” and “adult situations.” I might have been spared WEDDING CRASHERS if it had such a warning.

  13. Jareth Cutestory

    June 16th, 2010 at 6:50 am

    RRA: I guess it could also be argued that Stallone would be worried if A-TEAM and/or LOSERS performed really well or were well reviewed: he’d have more to prove with his film.

    For some reason, the film I keep coupling EXPENDABLES with is MACHETE. I guess I figure Stallone won’t be indulging in the gran mal editing style of the younger directors.

  14. Well, another childhood favorite of mine about to be ruined by Hollywood. Sorry guys, I know this one looks decent, but it’s firmly on my “don’t bother” list, so don’t expect any fantastic insight on it from me any time soon. (Maybe when it is released for rental.) What the hell is it about nostalgia these days?

  15. I’ll never get the love for the tv show. Mr T is just…….fucking embarrassing to behold.

    I had a blast watching the film though(goofy editing aside). Lot of fun.

    I agree with you 100% Jareth, I couple Expendables with Machete as well.

  16. Should have given this one to Isaac Florentine.

  17. Isaac Florentine? Nah, this would have been the perfect opportunity to get Craig R. Baxley back doing what he does best.

  18. Jareth Cutestory – I think Sly would be more worried because I mean A-TEAM….shit A-TEAM, my pissings of the original TV show aside, its a recognizable brand name even to folks who never bothered with the program.

    Also you had two significant stars. Liam Neeson had that blockbuster sleeper hit TAKEN* last year and that Bradley Cooper dude from that Las Vegas drunk movie. Of course some would argue that EXPENDABLES with that all-star line up will draw in the action macho crowd much more because hey my generation (many on these boards I assume) are jizzing about it. And I don’t just mean that Sly/Arnold/Willis scene, which alone is worth the price of admission if you ask me.

    Interestingly, WB at one point (with reported high test scores) tried to release LOSERS in June and force Fox to move A-TEAM. Fox didn’t budget, WB with tail between legs had to release LOSERS in April without as much of a mouse’s fart in build-up. and A-TEAM solely occupying that team actioneer story in June still dies.

    Deadline Hollywood’s report about A-TEAM’s clusterfuck production history is hilarious. Like that executive who couldn’t decide whether to make A-TEAM more BOURNE-ish or 24-ish.

    Vern – I think you’re onto something. Imagine if A-TEAM started out as them already on the run and indeed underground legends? That would be more fun if you ask me.

    *=He’s doing that sequel, which I don’t know is a good idea. Much less a profitable one.

  19. I’m really surprised people wanted to see Will Smiths kid not do karate in a movie called The Karate Kid than the A-Team remake.

  20. Karate Kid is a kids movie. The kids are fresh out of school for the summer. Do the math.

  21. MikeOutWest, I would recommend this one over THE LOSERS. Especially if you are a fan THE A-TEAM. The movie has it’s flaws but they really get the characters right.

  22. I’m surprised people are bitching for MONTHS that there is no Karate in the new Karate Kid movie.
    Seriously, is “Karate Kid 2010 is doing Kung Fu” the new “The Star Wars prequels suck”?

  23. CJ – I think a more appropriate bitching is why a kids movie is 2 hours and 20 something minutes.

    I mean if Pixar pulled that shit, we would think they would have a good thematic reason. But fucking KARATE KID?

  24. Look, Big Willie promised his son a movie, and by God, he’s getting his money’s worth.

  25. Jareth Cutestory

    June 16th, 2010 at 9:20 am

    I wonder about the casting of Jackie Chan in the new KARATE KID. I like Chan and look forward to a good dramatic role for him, but the thing about Pat Morita in the mentor role is that it is surprising and very cool when an adorable little old man kicks some ass. With Chan, you know he can kick ass without thinking twice. Seems to me that a key element of the original is gone just with that casting choice. But maybe they address that well in the film.

    RRA: I don’t get the sense that they’re playing up the “team” aspect of EXPENDABLES in the trailers, or at least not in the trailers I’ve seen. They seem to go more for the “men on a mission” thing. But I could be wrong. Truth is, I haven’t seen a single second of A-TEAM or LOSERS footage. I’ll defer to your point, though, because you’ve obviously done more research than me on this one.

    But bear in mind, Stallone knows better than most how to go about to kicking Mr. T.’s ass.

  26. Someone pointed out that he rarely did any karate in original The Karate Kid anyway, it was a mixture of a few other martial arts. It was only ever called “The Karate Kid” ‘cos most westerners had little knowledge of martial arts or their names; karate was the most recognisable. “The flying mantis with northern xiao-lin style kid” doesn’t have the same ring to it.

    Not necessarily saying that excuses them still calling the new film the karate kid when it’s set in China rather than Japan, but lets not paint the original film as this hallmark of knowledge and sensitivity to other cultures. Especially when we all know that it’s only being called the karate kid because film financers are weird people and assume the success of Transformers was entirely due to nostalgia and will now be scratching their heads that The A-Team only did ok.

  27. Jareth Cutestory

    June 16th, 2010 at 9:33 am

    GoodBadGroovy: Your comment about film financers is just begging for a PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS joke.

  28. I wonder if anyone ever accused a director of raping their childhood and they meant that literally? Then court charges were brought up and so on…

    Sorry, not funny. I’ve had the experience where things i loved back in the day don’t really hold up all that much. If someone wants to spend a million dollars on something my son/daughter will see someday that resembles a show i watched, who cares? This is in no way reffering to a situation like Trannyformers, where i believe there’s a good story to be told and wasn’t either. Rape has nothing to do with it.

    If someone decides to take a show i loved blah blah and it looks like shite, then me and my seed will not be watching it. Thus, the rape is stopped before it’s started.

  29. You’re right, Baxley would’ve been a great director for this. He was actually the stunt coordinator for the show and directed an episode or two. It would’ve been really cool for him to come back to the characters and do the movie up STONE COLD style. But he seems to be more interested in supernatural tv movies these days.

  30. Everybody is being too literal with the Karate Kid remake. Does the kid have to do karate just because it’s in the title? That’s the magic of remakes, they can tweak and/or eviscerate the spirit of the original depending on what’s more marketable. I personally would like to see the remake of Blade Runner that isn’t set in the future and doesn’t have any of those artificially synthetic robot people in it. Maybe it could be about some devil-may-care horse thieves in the Wild West. They can appease the purists by throwing in some steam powered robot horses. It would be awesome! Come on, have you ever seen a movie with robot horses that wasn’t awesome? I’ll answer for you, no you haven’t. Unless there were some in one of those Transformer movies, I heard those were pretty bad.

  31. Something that bugged me about the tv show was that the people chasing the A-TEAM didn’t seem to find it odd that supposed murderous mercenaries were going around doing jobs for nice people against the mob and unscrupulous businessmen, and NOT killing anyone. You’d think that’d give more credibility to the A-Team’s claims of innocence.
    BTW, apparently Dwight Schultz was moved to tears when he saw Copley’s performance and told him “you ARE Murdoch”.

  32. Stu, Colonel Lynch once stated very clearly in one episode that he believes the A-Teams does all these things to either look good in the eye of the public (“Hey, look at what we do, we can’t be the bad guys, can we?”) or because they wanna wash the guilt off them. Either way he didn’t believe them and also said that he is not the judge, but the guy whose mission it is to capture them doesn’t matter how many good things they do.

  33. They produce all the adaptations of old tv shows, comics and toy lines because many people know the brand name, the characters and the story. Then they use way to much running time of their expensive movies to tell a origin story we already know. Why? It’s so boring. And most of the time the origin story doesn’t capture what the tv show/comic/toy line was about.

  34. Andreas – True to a degree, but then you have oh I don’t know, BATMAN BEGINS. Told an origin most folks know even those that maybe never read a single Batman comic book, yet fleshed with some new elements (or different touches from numerous books over the years) to which even if you know it, its fresh all over again. Like a kickass cover of a great song. Think Stevie Wonder’s take on “We Can Work it Out.”

  35. I don’t mind origin movies, particularly for movies, but I do think in some cases they could streamline them more, like how the Incredible Hulk just puts a montage in the credits that tells you all you need to know.
    Since we’re on the topic of Liam Neeson with this review though, hear about him and Besson trying to come up with ideas for a TAKEN sequel?
    http://moviesblog.mtv.com/2010/06/10/exclusive-liam-neeson-meeting-luc-besson-later-this-month-to-discuss-possible-taken-sequel/

  36. I wonder if anyone ever accused a director of raping their childhood and they meant that literally? Then court charges were brought up and so on…

    Um, Roman Polanski…

  37. Stu – Personally I would pitch the TAKEN sequel to be Liam’s character going to Colombia and that whole rather profitable kidnapping industry, probably being paid off to rescue such a hostage….only for your usual twists and turns and all that stuff.

    It continues the justification of the title without being too repetitive. Maybe too PROOF OF LIFE, but hey why not?

  38. Holy shit!!!! Nice work, Vern!!

    http://tinyurl.com/2euunfz

  39. Great, now we can have all of the loudmouth dipshits that clog up Drew’s message boards parading around here. Yay, fun.

  40. The last few years, they’ve been remaking stuff I just don’t care about. The toy robots, various video games and now this. I’m pretty sure I’ve never sat through an episode of this show start-to-finish, and I know I’ve never seen KARATE KID, because I generally think sports competition movies are dumb. (Somebody wins! Somebody loses! And then they go home.*) Which means I’m unlikely to get incensed at the desecration, but am even less likely to care at all.

    But as long as Vern covers the stuff, I guess I can get some entertainment value indirectly. His review of GOLDEN GIRLS (Penelope Spheeris, 2013) starring Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Faye Dunaway and Mary Tyler Moore will be a riot, even if I won’t know the names of the characters.

    * Of course, RAGING BULL is great, and I like the first ROCKY. And to bring it back home, the one with Mr. T is cheesy, cartoon fun.

  41. Congrats on the nice review though Vern, McWeeny always did love your stuff. Why were you talking to him in 1995?

  42. Vern, I hope this gets you some cool recognition! I saw the post first on the imdb news page! That’s great!

  43. Moriarty liking the book doesn’t surprise me. Glad that he’s thrown his weight around it.

  44. Yo Booth, you may not enjoy sports movies but I highly suggest you see The Karate Kid (the original). Its directed by the same guy who directed the first Rocky (John G. Avildsen) and its very similar to Rocky. Actually the movie is really not about Karate at all. It’s really a coming of age story about a dorky kid who learns to stuck up for himself and not let fear dominate his life. If you you’re not emotionally involved by the time the last fight takes place, then you have no soul lol. At least see it for Pat Morita’s oscar nominated performance.

  45. KARATE KID was a charming little movie which by good timing became a monster hit. Not exactly science, but it worked.

    The sequels though were just…well, do I have to say it? #3 was especially painfully pointless if I remember right as a kid. Yes turn on your mentor because….you need a plot for another sequel? Suckage aside, coming out in summer 1989 didn’t help either.

    Man summer 1989 was insane. Remember that guys? Look at the shit which came out that season besides KK3:

    Parenthood, Ghostbusters 2, Indy Jones & Last Crusade, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, UHF, Batman, Lethal Weapon 2, When Harry Met Sally, Turner & Hooch, Field of Dreams, Pet Semetary, Star Trek V, See No Evil Hear No Evil, K-9, License to Kill*, Weekend at Bernie’s, Do the Right Thing, Sex Lies Videotape, Nightmare on Elm Street V, Lock Up.

    *=Vern I know you’re not a 007 fan, but you should review LICENSE TO KILL. I mean with your fetish for 80s ridiculous (non-calculated) action cinema, you might like that. young Del Toro crushed by Coke Grinder, guy’s legs fed to sharks, cool airplane-kidnapping-airplane stunt, Tim Dalton megaacting, nice baddie demise, redneck bar brawl, etc.

    And the villain is ROBERT DAVI.

    Yeah you hear that? Robert FUCKING Davi. You have no excuse now for avoiding it. This is your subpeona.

  46. and was Benicio Del Toro’s first US movie.

    Thanks for the heads up Charles. I kind of enjoyed The Losers, but really hated Jason Patric and the way the computer guy kept giving a running commentary on what he was doing on his laptop (“…interfacing the server….Now! (cue dramatic tap of the keyboard).

    Considering how well known the A-Team tv series is, you do have to wonder why they bothered with an origins story-line. Surely they could have just run with a take on the original voice-over to bring everyone up to speed.

  47. MikeOutWest – I think Fox fully thought they had a blockbuster franchise on their hands, so they went by the book.

    I do wonder how that Nolan-produced SUPERMAN movie will go, having SUPERMAN RETURNS fucking albatross on its neck. Apparently they just won’t bother with an origin.

    Then again, neither did SUPERMAN RETURNS.

  48. To quote McBain…”Bye, book!”

    Whatever you may feel about the movies themselves, Speed Racer and The Incredible Hulk both did excellent intros to their characters and back-stories over the opening credits, so even newbies to both were up to speed when the movie got going.

  49. RRA – I never liked BATMAN BEGINS that much. It was better than expected, but also extremely predictable and sometimes boring. A great example for a completely needless origin story.
    Fresh? CASINO ROYALE was a fresh and surprising way to introduce you to a character your already knew. It avoids most of the problems of these origin stories because it throws you in a great story that captures what the characters and the bond movies are about.
    BATMAN BEGINS had most of the problems of a origin story. »You knew this would happen, right? But did you think it would happen– THIS WAY?« Ah, because of this he becomes BATMAN, not because of that from the other movie. Ah, here he trained his martials art skills, not there. Oh, that guy has now another more realistic behaviour.
    Most of the time the basics of the origin story are common knowledge. Like STU said: if you think you must do it, do it in a streamlined way and don’t make a movie were the story starts AT THE END.
    Rewrite one or two scenes from THE DARK KNIGHT and you won’t miss BATMAN BEGINS.

  50. Ah yes, Karate kid with Pat Morita from Hawaii’s North Shore. Anyway I digress. I’m in two minds as to whether the remaking of such ‘classic’ ’80s series’ such as ‘Automan’ (let’s seem how many people remember that one, and yes I thought it was great at the time), ‘Streethawk’ or even the too good to be be continued on for a second season ‘Manimal’ will actually be the raping of my childhood or just a really stupid idea.

  51. …or just about anything produced by Glen A Larson.

  52. Flash Harry – A AUTOMAN movie is a great idea. With a decent budget of 220 million dollar they could finally do it right. A dark and gritty take on the familiar story, with Robert Pattison as alcoholic ex-cop/computer programmer, Brandon Routh as Automan and Sir Michael Gambon as Cursor.

  53. ..and TJ Hooker? I just watched Automan on youtube and realized how much my cognition of shit has changed. It was very, very crap. I think the fall guy might have some legs though….

    No. really, stop with the remake’s,reimaginings, reboots, recolonoctomy’s. stop. for the love of god STOP!

  54. You would think they would run out of IP’s eventually, but the board game movies haven’t come out yet and anime remakes have been predicted for years and could become a reality soon.

  55. SPOILER FOR AFTER CREDITS IN A-TEAM

    I forgot to mention that Dirk Benedict and Dwight Schultz both have cameos in a little scene after the credits. I remember reading a while back, I think it was on Latino Review, that Mr. T turned down the offer to have a cameo in the movie because he thought it would be stupid. As usual, Mr. T was right.

  56. And after he watched the movie, Dirk Benedict called it disrespectful. Apparently the cameo was supposed to be much longer, but most of it ended on the cutting room floor.

  57. Has anybody seen this? http://www.deadline.com/2010/06/a-team-helmer-joe-carnahan-hates-me/
    I love Joe Carnahan and he’s a funny motherfucker.
    Also, his next script THE GREY is about wolves hunting ex-cons oil drillers after the plane crash in Alaska and yes, it is as awesome and crazy as you’d imagine.

  58. Maybe seeing as this has underperformed, they could do a remake of T. AND T. instead of an A-TEAM sequel? Or a live action version of the Mr. T cartoon, which was called MR. T

  59. I’m glad I missed that cameo at the end. That’s got Starsky and Hutch: The Movie written all over it.

    Carnahan doesn’t need the original stars approval for a goddamn thing.

  60. The cameos were pretty goddamn embarrassing for everyone involved, you ask me. At least they were after the credits and not in the movie proper.

  61. When do such wink wink cameos actually work?

  62. I don’t know if we’re only talking about cameos by the original stars in remakes, but I liked it when Arnold passed the torch to The Rock in THE RUNDOWN.

    Too bad The Rock then proceeded to drop the torch in the fucking dirt and let it go out.

  63. Jareth Cutestory

    June 17th, 2010 at 10:35 am

    I like the kind-of passing the torch cameo Tony Jaa did with fake Jackie Chan in TOM YUM GOONG. Too bad Tony then ran away with the torch into the jungle, shrieking and sobbing.

  64. Yeah, but it’s not really passing the torch if the guy who had the torch in the first place isn’t actually there passing it on. It’s like hiring a guy to impersonate your dad so he can sign over his business to you. You might get away with it for a while, but you’ll always know in your heart of hearts that you acquired your torch under fraudulent circumstances.

  65. Jareth Cutestory

    June 17th, 2010 at 10:54 am

    Damn it, Majestyk, Fake Jackie Chan’s plan would have worked if it wasn’t for you meddling kids!

  66. Do not fuck with me after I get a few Majestyk Snacks in me.

  67. Jareth Cutestroy

    June 17th, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Also, I guess a case could be made that since Chan claimed to have the right to carry the torch despite making films like THE TUXEDO, Jaa was justified in staging a mock takeover in order to shame Chan into abdicating.

    There’s a Leno/O’Brien or Davis/Schwartzenegger analogy to be made, but I’m too lazy to bother.

  68. Jaa should have ambushed him Borat-style. Jackie would be like, “The fuck just happened? Hey, anybody seen my torch?”

  69. The conversation is funny, but I don’t believe in the passing the torch metaphor. No one gave Jackie Chan or Arnold a torch in the first place and no one needs to wait around for them to hand it off, just make good movies. I think cameos need to die, they are always breaking the fourth wall, forcing the audience out of the story and world the movie is creating just to make you go “Hey, I know that guy!”. OK for comedies I guess.

  70. Jareth Cutestory

    June 17th, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    The real complaint about torches and their passing should come from Stallone and Jet Li. Did they even get to touch the torch, if only for a few minutes while Scwartzenegger and Chan were tying their shoelaces?

  71. I thought Stallone and Li each already had their own torches? I heard they had to have a torch wrangler on the set of THE EXPENDABLES to ensure the two torches would never touch for fear that the resulting fireball of badassness would destroy the entire crew and most of the cast. I’m pretty sure I remember reading that the insurance company wouldn’t underwrite it otherwise.

  72. “STU said: if you think you must do it, do it in a streamlined way and don’t make a movie were the story starts AT THE END.”
    Well not exactly. I still think with the Superhero ones dealing with characters the general public aren’t so familiar with they’re necessary, but with Hulk and Superman and the like they’re not needed so much, though you do need something of a starting point to have the character get somewhere and explain their motivations. And with BATMAN BEGINS, they weren’t actually retelling an origin story so much, as the previous live action efforts weren’t any more detailed than “his parents were killed, so he became a crimefighter dressed like a bat”, without really explaining the hows. And I think travelling the world to become a badass is worth showing. For all we know Michael Keaton’s Batman just stayed in Gotham and learned Karate at the YMCA before getting his costume made up. I think the problem’s really more with the sameyness of origin stories than the quantity sometimes.
    That Dirk Benedic thing…he did the same with the Battlestar Galactica remake. Appeared in a documentary about the making of the new show, hanging out with Katee Sackhoff, playing the new version of his character, and passed the torch (by which I mean Cigar), then later inexplicably blasted the show and said he had no interest in getting a role in it like Richard Hatch did.

  73. Then Statham demanded a torch of his own, so he had the prop department make him one out of cardboard and gold spraypaint. Then EVERYBODY wanted one and it was a whole big thing, so then Stallone gave everyone a timeout, confiscated their torches, and said they could have them back at the end of the shoot. But then Stone Cold mouthed off so Sly gave him detention, and everyone was like “Oooooooh!!!” until Sly told them all to settle down before he called their parents.

    Honestly, they needed to cool it on all the sugary beverages on that set. They got everybody overstimulated.

  74. But in Dirk Benedict’s defense: The BSG remake was the worst piece of shit that last decade’s “gritty realism” trend has created.

  75. CJ – BSG is gold compared to the “new” PHANTOM.

  76. I fucking love the new Battlestar Galactica.

  77. I loved the new BSG until they pulled the “actually we’ve been making it up as we go along, so um… howabout… GOD!” ending.

    So yeah I thought maybe the Lost fans should have seen that one coming…

    (aaaaand now I don my flame suit yet again)

  78. Anaru- See man, I think that was the one aspect of the show they weren’t making up as they went along. The stuff with the cylons and the resurections and the what-have-you’s that stuff seemed like Moore and his team scrambling, but God and how he figures into the lives of these characters is one of the strongest through-lines of the series, and right from the beginning, with Six and Baltus discussing her faith, it’s clear that Moore was using the show to explore concepts of faith and religion. I think the show is much, much deeper and stronger because Moore had the balls to stick with his conclusion and to incorporate religous ideas into his sci-fi show and to not even blink. The payoff to Starbuck typing in the numbers that she attached to the notes of “All Along the Watchtower” has to be one of my favorite moments in television history. I understand why other people hate the finale, I just don’t agree with them.

  79. Yeah, I liked that they had God actually be God and have a plan, as opposed to the more common Sci Fi approach of “God doesn’t exist/is an asshole/people who believe in him are psychotic zealots”

  80. New Battlestar is probably my favorite TV show of the last decade……for the first 2.5 seasons…then it got…not so good. Nothing else I’ve seen even comes close to the first 2.5 though.

  81. I heard The Wire was supposed to be pretty good

  82. Oh yeah. Forgot about The Wire. Also there were comedy shows like Arrested Development and Curb that I hold in hire esteem…but they don’t count. Okay so best sci-fi show of the past decade then.

  83. THE WIRE is far and away the best TV show ever made by anybody ever about anything, but having said that, I can’t honestly call it my favorite because the emotional toll of the series is so great, it’s like getting kicked in the balls for a couple hundred hours. But y’know, well directed kicks to the ball. That metaphor doesn’t really work I apologize.

    So yeah, THE WIRE deserves all the acclaim it gets and should be taught and watched by everybody, but I’d much much much rather watch an episode of Arrested Development or Firefly or BSG. Or Venture Bros. Probably Venture Bros. Yeah, love that show.

  84. Nothing against Arrested Development itself, but…why do Firefly fans get such a bad rap for complaining about their show getting cancelled half a season in, after much fucking with it by the executives, including having the episodes shown got done so in the wrong order, while Arrested Development fans complained that their show, which got 3 seasons despite never getting very good ratings, got cancelled and then spent all that time after harping about the possibility of a movie getting made? It’s a Sci-Fi/Sit-Com double standard!
    DEXTER deserves a mention for great TV shows of the last decade.

  85. Dexter is great. Haven’t seen the new season yet but I’ve been salivating ever since Jonh Lithgows involvement was announced. The show is fantastic but I still think the BG edges it out. Either way they are in different categories.

  86. Also Firefly fans are just fucking obnoxious. Around the time Serenity was coming out they would constantly spam different boards screaming that people had to see the movie so that the show would be brought back. It got so bad I started actively hoping and praying the movie failed and to this day haven’t seen an episode of the show. We AD fans don’t really act like that. We might have been pissed when the show was originally cancelled but most of us have found peace. We’re thankful for what we have. If the movie happens cool…if not also cool. Who knows if it’d be good anyway?

  87. Please don’t hold those overzealous fans against Firefly/Serenity. The reason they got so obnoxious is because the show and the movie were so funny/sexy/sad/badass/everything you want that they went overboard. It’s hot chicks and awesome guys flying weird spaceships, slinging strange slang, and shooting each other when you least expect it. It’s a good thing.

  88. I’d like to apologise for said Firefly fans. I can understand WHY they did it, and even I kinda heckled one (just ONE, mind) friend to see the movie, but more for the fact I knew he’d like it than for getting the gross up. There’s just a lot of frustration about Firefly’s cancellation because it really was something special for those who watched it that got cut down before it had a chance to really shine, largely because as I said, the suits reportedly couldn’t lay off and let it just be itself. I just reread Vern’s review of the movie, and it’s a shame the experience of seeing it surrounded by all those fans seems to have tained his view of it a bit, despite still giving it a good review. I don’t think the film was really held up much as a chance to bring back the show by the people involved, more the fans. The film’s more a last big hurrah, as it resolves a bunch of stuff from the show and leaves things in a way that’s pretty satisfying.

  89. Browncoats are to science fiction fans what pedophiles are to Catholics.

  90. I just saw The A Team today and was surprised at how much I liked it. It does have a bit of frat boy vibe, for sure, but I’ll take that over watered-down CGI anime, or two and half hours of a kid being sadistically bullied, or Robert Downey junior’s slightly nauseating, Vince Vaughn-esque, “Finish-your-sentences-for-you” actory bullshit. (And, I’m saying that as someone who liked Iron Man 2).

  91. Jareth Cutestory

    June 17th, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT didn’t really have three full seasons; the second was shortened, and the third was almost entirely aborted, leaving them scrambling to resolve the plot.

    I was going to write something about how much I dislike the SERENITY movie, but in the spirit of building bridges between the two shows, I’ll point out that the guy who played Anne Veal’s father on AD was one of the things I liked about SERENITY. That guy needs more work.

    And as a fan of CARNIVALE, I can feel the pain that Stu articulated so well about something special being cancelled too soon.

  92. When was AUTOMAN on? I just watched the intro on Youtube and I have no recollection of this show — except I once saw a movie with Jeff Bridges that looked just like it.

    I do remember Manimal, though. An entire show created around advancements in air bladder technology. Pretty impressive when you think about it.

  93. Also: why is there a martial arts movie named after soup?

  94. I don’t really see what the point would be in Vern watching the Wire. No glaring flaws to be sarcastic about, and no detractors to defend it against.

    Sure Vern might ENJOY it but we aren’t about to get a classic Vern review out of it!

  95. Jareth- Yeah, Alan Tudyk is always reliable to be funny and likable and is frequently the best part of whatever he’s in coughcoughIrobotcoughcough.

  96. Jareth Cutestory

    June 18th, 2010 at 6:43 am

    Anaru: It is my opinion that Vern’s Badass Scholarship will not be complete until he’s spent some time with Omar. The Spirit of Charles Bronson won’t let him out of the dojo until he’s watched THE WIRE. It’s like saying you know revenge films without seeing KILL BILL.

    frankbooth: Vern proposes a theory for your soup question in his review of CHOCOLATE.

    Brendan: Tudyk was so awesome as Anne’s father. It was the first fresh take on a pastor character that I’ve seen on t.v. in ages. It was genius the way he said the line: “Did you want us to go down to the liquor store and get you some liquor?”

  97. About the BSG remake: Let’s say the only thing I didn’t hate was Edward James Olmos and the subplot in Season 1, about the guy who was left behind at Caprica. To be honest, that story was pretty much the only reason why I kept watching (This and my “give it at least 1 season”-rule.) But everything in it pissed me off. The wooden actors, the unbearable shaky cam (seriously, since “In The Cut” I haven’t seen such a bad use of that device!), the religious mumbo-jumbo about god’s plan and prophecies (I didn’t hate it because they tried to put religion in a SciFi show, I hated it because every 2nd spoken line in that show was about God! When the Cylons spoke, it was even EVERY line!), the unbelievable characters (Seriously, people accuse Lost of having unrealistic characters but ignore the 10 times worse character motivations in BSG?), how the producers thought it was sooooo clever to make a 9/11 show in space, the boring scripts in which often seriously nothing happened, apart from letting the characters mumble bad dialogue about how fucked the situation is they are stuck in and so on. Seriously, I could spend all day long with writing about what I hate about the first 1 1/2 seasons of BSG, but I just tell you what seriously made me stop watching it. It was the episode where the prsident was finally about to die from her cancer, until IN THE LAST SECOND they find out that Cylon blood can cure her! Seriously, that was a plot device, that would even make the writers of Star Trek: Voyager feel ashamed.

  98. Jareth- Tudyk rules. He was also really good on Whedon’s most recent cancelled show Dollhouse, and showed a great range of funny to terrifying.
    Also pretty hilarious in this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njAC38WnQo0

  99. Jareth Cutestory

    June 18th, 2010 at 8:08 am

    CJ Holden: I saw a screening of REC 2 last night: the shaky cam in that film made BATTLESTAR GALACTICA look like it was shot by David Lean. Which is good because if the REC 2 guys shot BSG you’d never get a clear shot of Grace Park’s face. Which would be very wrong.

    Stu: Is it possible for you to give me an idea of what the premise of DOLLHOUSE is? I’m going to assume that it isn’t a weekly horror anthology show hosted by Chucky.

  100. But the difference between a movie like [Rec] and BSG is that the first is supposed to look like something accidently captured on film, but there is no reason for the last one to look like that. At least [Rec] and Co. act like home videos, so it’s (kinda) okay for them to look blurry and shaky. But I just got no fucking idea why something, that doesn’t even try to trick you into thinking it’s a documentary like BSG needs to show me an out of focus close up of a man, who is talking to someone else who we can’t see, because the camera shakes too much.

    Anyway, to say something nice about BSG: I saw a few actors on a convention a while ago and Aaron Douglas is a funny guy who loves to party till 3am with his fans and Kandyse McClure is one charming and good looking woman. (Who also loves to party with her fans, but not till 3am.)

  101. The Dollhouse is an organization that wipes its employees minds clean so that they can be imprinted with different personalities, depending on what their clients require, whether it’s simple sex work, a reunion with a deceased spouse, a hostage negotiator, a spy, a safecracker, etc. Sounds like a decent premise for eighties-style caper-of-the-week action, but the mythology quickly expands into something much weirder and deeper. It’s not 100% successful (and I haven’t seen the second season yet) but there are some stunning twists along the way as the mystery of who these “dolls” were before they came to the Dollhouse unfolds, not to mention the dangers that the mind-wiping technology entails. I don’t want to give anything away, but there’s one flash-forward episode that makes puts the whole show in a different light.

    Also, Eliza Dushku is ridiculously hot in whatever outfit they feel like dressing her up in.

  102. Jareth Cutestory

    June 18th, 2010 at 8:39 am

    Majestyk: In my student days I worked for a famous international retail chain that trained its employees in pretty much the manner described in your first sentence.

    But your description of the show makes it sound really cool. Did they resolve the plot before the show was axed, or is the story left hanging?

    CJ Holden: I’m not a big BATTLESTAR GALACTICA fan, and I can see the sense in all the points you made. I watched the show on video, and I think it probably played way better in weekly installments. When you see three or four episodes in a row, the melodrama becomes laughable.

    I don’t think it made a particularly profound enough impression on me to have bothered formulating much of an opinion. I guess it was nice to see Dean Stockwell get some work.

    If it’s any consolation to you, the cancer came back for the president with a vengence.

  103. Jareth- They do resolve the story for the most part, though to do it there’s a rush of things that were probably planned out to happen over a longer period of time. The flaw with the show was that the premise is cool, but wasn’t always pulled off that well, and was never as good as when it became about what the reason was for all this and the implications of it. Whedon was moving at his own pace, so we didn’t get a whole lot of that to begin, and got a number of flawed standalone episodes focussing on the jobs. The second episode for instance was just another “The Deadliest Game” take off. It’s good overall, but I’d say most of what we got in the show was stepping stones to the better stuff.

  104. Jareth Cutestory

    June 18th, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Thanks Stu. Did you like the FIREFLY show more than the movie, or do you think that someone who didn’t much like the movie (ie. me) should avoid the show?

  105. I think you might like the movie better if you saw the show. I think the movie works pretty well on its own (Cool fights, a fantastic villain, and how many sci-fi movies have a Braveheart speech as inspiring as the “I am to misbehave” scene) but getting to know the characters better would certainly make you feel it more when all those exceedingly bad things start happening to them. They make such a cute family unit on the show that it’s pretty brutal what Whedon puts them through in the movie. It’s all the better for it, though. Sometimes it means more when it hurts.

  106. *aim to misbehave* Yikes.

  107. I think the film and the show are both great, but you get more out of the show, especially going back to it. The film’s like the big budget finale were they get their big moment, while the show is a bit more nuanced and smaller. A big theme with the show was winners and losers, and how the crew come out of things mostly just having to count surviving as a “good day”. It also had them doing other things to make money besides crime, like delivering cattle, or just ferrying the “companion” to her engagements. Plus the supporting cast of the movie got more exposure, like Adam Baldwin as Jayne, despite being dumber in the series is a lot sneakier, and there’s an subplot that he’s capable of selling them all out for enough of a reward, and even tries it a few times. But then they also do an episode where due to the events of a botched job he once pulled, he’s unintentionally hailed as a Robin Hood type folk hero by some people, and while happy to take advantage of it at first, it catches up with him. Also, more of Ron Glass as Shephard Book, who has the badass juxtaposition of being a preacher, but also an implied past as some sort of government operative, which comes in usefull a few times.

  108. After the excelent NARC, i have been a buit disapointed who this director’s carrer. I did enjoyed SMOKIN’ ACES more then most, but he’s constantly on this path of making this pueril movies. What happened to him? He was so excelent in NARC. What is this bullshit?

  109. Maybe I shouldn’t have seen this right after INCEPTION and TOY STORY 3 but I think you were easy on it, Vern. Terrible shaky-cam action sequences and overly-convoluted plot. I didn’t ask for much in a big-screen A-TEAM, and damn if I didn’t even get that.

  110. Jam – I think alot of people, the adults are welcoming INCEPTION, warranted or not, because it wasn’t in that mold of heavy CGI, shakey cam action/comedy like A-TEAM or SORCERER’S APPRENTICE or PRINCE OF PERSIA. And alot of the same people (and not necessarily children or Disneyphile adults) found outlet in TOY STORY 3 or HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON or whatever the heck because it wasn’t necessarily S.O.S. Same Old Shit, which isn’t giving people one thing they might not be getting from these CGI canvases.

    Indeed I wonder if the box office is truely accurate, that people are just tired of this sort of movie along with your comic book adaptations and perhaps even Jerry Bruckheimer in general. He’s had not one but TWO defeats this summer in America. When middle America can’t be arsed, you know this aint good.

    Or all this is a giant backlash at CLASH OF THE TITANS and ALICE IN WONDERLAND both somehow making fortunes despite being bullshit.

  111. Just watched this with my family and we (huge fans of the TV show) approve. Maybe the only gripe we have was the slightly questionable glorification of killing (as shown in B.A.’s subplot about his new found pacifism). I mean, I can understand that a soldier should better be able to kill someone, when the bullets are flying everywhere, but come on.
    (Also Face would never take several punches to the face and laugh it off.)#

    The two biggest problems I had were storywise. The minor of these two is how they spent first 20 minutes on an How-they-met caper and then another 30 minutes on even more exposition, before they break out of jail and do their thing. The other one is, as Vern pointed out, the whole convoluted double crossing thing. Until the last act I didn’t even know that Lynch & Pike were two different people! But whatever, all in all it were seriously entertaining two hours. (I watched the extended cut, where the cameos of Schultz and Benedict were re-inserted into the movie.)

  112. I liked it a lot at first, and then less so as the movie went on. Hannibal’s introduction was a seriously great Badass Intro, and the whole pre-titles “this is how the team (like a plan) came together!” struck exactly the right the perfect balance of fun/cool/action-y for me. Then the initial heist of the plates was clever and fun. But after that, the more the movie wore on, the more it became needlessly complicated with double crosses and the more it became episodic, with “this happens now” and then “ok now this happens, and then it’s over, shit, what can happen next? How about this?” etc etc.

    But overall I liked it. I mean, the original TV series is a piece of shit. Somehow they managed to stay true to the spirit of the source material without making something completely terrible; that alone is amazing. And I also enjoyed the interplay between the characters. Things like Murdock and Face bantering about how Face wants Murdock to cook his steak and B.A. being able to forgive Murdock easily if food gets shoved in front of him went a long way.

    Good job A-Team.

  113. Finally saw it – much better than expected but still not that good. The action was shot way too close, but I think that might be because the TV version isn’t letterboxed (the opening credits scene was, so Carnahan must have shot it super wide)

    I applaud the ridiculousness of the dock scene at the end and the tank scene, but yeah, the DTV-style doublecrosses were both tiresome and predictable. I do appreciate how Patrick Wilson’s (*SPOILER IF YOU’VE NEVER SEEN A MOVIE BEFORE*) suprise(?) villain literally changes attitudes and style from scene to scene. He’s your typical humorless corrupt CIA guy, then the next scene he’s chilling in jeans, snacking on french fries, staring at women’s asses. Then suddenly he randomly sings out commands to his goons. Even though the inconsistency of the villain was one of the main things I hated about Star Trek, I kinda loved it here.

    Also – I can’t remember much of the show except that not many people died. I liked that the movie version of B.A. had his crisis of conscious about trying not to kill and would have actually liked it if they managed not to kill anyone in the climax. Even though it would be really weird if they suddenly tried not to kill once the bad guys became (predominantly) white guys, when they sure as hell didn’t care about blowing up tons of Mexicans and Iraqis in the first half of the movie.

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