Which stands for, amongst other things, "amazing", "awesome", "astonishing", and most importantly . . . "A-Team".
Yes, some of the words up there are a bit hyperbolic - I was rolling with the A-theme, give me a break. Still, I tried to be objective and critical when I saw The A-Team - a few things in the previews had gotten me a little worried, after all.
After about five minutes (if that), though, I had completely forgotten about that and was wildly enjoying myself. And with good reason - for a big "A-Team" fan like myself, this movie was nearly perfect. Yes, I had a few minor issues with it (mostly centering around Faceman's characterization - more on this later), but overall? It was just like watching a big-screen, modern-day episode of the original show. Specifically, a big-screen, modern-day version of "Dishpan Man"/"Trial by Fire"/"Firing Line", the fifth-season opening trilogy that explained a lot of the original Team's origins in flashback. Without going into too much spoilery detail, the new film (though not in flashback), covers a lot of the same ground (with double-crossings and CIA duplicity galore) , but with new, updated twists.
The new Team, themselves, don't disappoint, either. Liam Neeson and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson were instantly recognizable as Hannibal and B.A., and yet managed never to descend in parody (and, admittedly, the original show is an easy thing to make fun of). Sharlto Copley was an absolutely brilliant Murdock, straddling the line between acting crazy, and acting acting crazy, all to a kaleidoscope of voices and personae (including one very clever reference to his last major film in a three-second stint as a South African newscaster).
And as for Bradley Cooper's Faceman . . . well, as I alluded to above, my single major beef with this film revolves around this character. Now, don't get me wrong, Cooper did as well a job acting his part as the rest of the team, it's just that, well, Film Face was written wrong. It's not even that there were aspects of his character that were missing or added wholesale, it's just that they were there in the wrong proportion - the film writers really de-emphasized the conman/team scrounger aspect (he's not called Faceman just 'cause he's pretty!) in favor of the second-in-command/Hannibal's understudy role (which was hardly a main facet of his character in the show, though I admit it's there if you look for it). Film Face is also much more exuberant than TV Face was - it always seemed to me that TV Face had an element of the Only Sane Man* to him, as a counterpoint to the wackiness of Murdock and Hannibal and the comic irritability of B.A. Admittedly, I would have trouble not shrieking with glee if I was flying a tank, too, but would it have killed the writers to include at least one of Face's signature cons? (Although, just typing that has made me consider that the climax on the L.A. docks might be the writers trying to do just that. It's still not quite what I was thinking, but it helps.)
Hmm, I spent a lot of words on that point. I suppose being critical takes up a few more words than myriad variations of "It was awesome! I loved it!", but . . . it was awesome. And I did love it, or at least was totally satisfied with the effort. Just to put things in perspective, this is the first film this year I've really wanted to see again in theaters, and I don't feel that way very often. I would also go see a sequel in a heartbeat, and I can't imagine the producers weren't thinking the same thing, what with them ending with the theme voiceover and all.
To conclude, I have only two things left to say - first, for anybody who hasn't seen this yet (but plans to), stay through the credits. Secondly -
I love it when a film comes together!
*And there goes the next hour of your life into the black hole that is TvTropes - Bwa Ha Ha!
Review: Whispers From the Abyss
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