As a big fan of the original television show, when I first heard that an up-to-date movie adaptation was in the works, I wasn't exactly stoked. "How will they screw this up?" I wondered, what with there being so many slapdash remakes, re-imaginings and whatever you fancy, that haven't been up to snuff - or that have simply relieved themselves all over the source material.
Then the first snippets of information - notably, the cast list. Hannibal - check - Liam Neeson is generally awesome, but he was doubly-so in the kick arse action flick Taken, so I knew that was a good choice. Face - check - Bradley Cooper wasn't a particular name of note until The Hangover came along and he was good in that, and I could see him portraying the womanising charm of Templeton quite well, so that was another good choice.
Next up Murdock - check - I'd only seen Sharlto Copley in District 9, which was a great film, and I knew Copley would be able to bring out Murdock's lunacy. Afterall, he'd managed to turn a farty, pencil-neck bureaucrat into an arse kicking, metamorphosing hero in District 9. The only sticking point was Rampage Jackson, the UFC Fighter, as B.A. Baracus - hmmm - it was going to be a hard role to fill anyway, what with Mr. T being so iconic in the role.
Then the first footage came out, and then trailers, and still Rampage Jackson as Baracus was a sticking point for me - and others - his preview clips just weren't convincing, and it was starting to shape up as a properly fun time except for his involvement.
Then came the incessant advertising that was drawn out over months and months and months. It was cheeky enough that we in the UK were almost the last country in the world to get our mits on it, a full month after its native America got their teeth into it, but the endless trailers and Orange tie-in adverts in the cinema were just mind-numbing. A couple of viewings of the trailer is all I'd need as an average cinema-goer, so why on earth with the saturation?! It was an absolute relief to finally watch the actual movie, I can tell you!
Ah yes, the movie itself, thankfully it turned out as a good, solid fun time - Rampage Jackson included. Turns out in the context of the entire movie, and the other cast members, he was a good choice to bring Baracus into the 21st century. What relief indeed. The filmmakers might say "we told you so", but to be honest this sort of turn around is rare ... annoyingly your initial reactions are confirmed once you've stumped up your cash and endured the onslaught of car and vodka adverts (an odd sandwich of advertising, wouldn't you think?)
Adaptation wise, it's good. The transfer from Vietnam to Iraq is seemless, and the pre-amble showing how the team came together works well to introduce us all (franchise fans and newcomers alike) to the new breed of A-Team. Although more of the famous van would have been nice, but considering the plot it's understandable that it's not on screen for all that long. The filmmakers have done a good job of weaving in various nods and winks to the original show, while not being precious or cheesy or disrespectful about it - a nice balance is struck pretty much throughout, and like The Losers from a couple of months ago, this is a good slab of action movie fun and I look forward to seeing it again on DVD ... most of all so I can see the post-credits sequence featuring the original Face and Murdock.
When we went to see it in the cinema they put the big lights on part-way through the credits, which suggests that there's nothing more to see, so finding out there was another scene for the hardcore fans out there was most annoying. I'll just have to catch it on DVD - speaking of which, I hope we get a proper DVD release, not some half-arsed near-vanilla bit of old cobblers with sod all extras ... that's what happened to Kick Ass, a movie I really enjoyed, but which got a rubbish DVD and a solid Blu-Ray - and not being on the Blu-Ray bandwagon (can't afford it, plus the TV and surround to make it a worthwhile experience ... plus I don't like being bullied into a new format, nor do I like a DVD being half-arsed when I was ready and waiting to put down good money on it - well done movie studios, you lost yourself some money by screwing the DVD majority over on your releases!)
Anyway, rant over ... The A-Team was a welcome jolt of action movie fun and here's hoping the DVD is a quality release.