THE A-TEAM "For the last time, please don't point your gun at my crotch."

IN THE DAWN OF THE '80s, NBC Entertainment President Brandon Tartikoff approached producer Stephen J. Cannell (The Rockford Files, 21 Jump Street) with the subtle idea for an adventure series that would be a cross between Mission: Impossible, The Dirty Dozen, and Mad Max--with "Mr. T driving the car." That show eventually became The A-Team, a hilariously macho series about adventuring mercenaries that ran from 1983-1986, and produced a generation of boys who worshiped lines like, "I love it when a plan comes together."

The plan in 2010? To revive the charm and violent magic first conjured by Hannibal, Face, B.A. Baracus and Murdock in today's grotesque cinematic landscape. At first glance it would appear to be an easy transition; while it may appear quaint now, the original A-Team was a violent, explosive spectacle--the Transformers of its day. The question is whether or not the charm (another central element of the original) could survive.

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The frustrating answer is both "yes" and "no." Liam Neeson and Bradley Cooper are certainly roguish enough as Hannibal and Face, while Sharlto Copley (District 9) acts sufficiently nutbaggy as Murdock, and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson as B.A. Baracus... well, he's doing the best he can in the impossible job of following Mr. T. And these guys do have chemistry together. The first half practically crackles with winky wit that pops up in unexpected places, and the cartoonish violence of the original plays surprisingly well in some of the over-the-top earlier scenes.

However the charm that dominates the first half falls victim to Michael Bay-style visual histrionics during the final reels, and the ensuing mess deadens any interest and good will they were so successfully building. Unlike many TV show reboots trying to refire the magic in this modern era, this A-Team showed some actual promise. Unfortunately (and I apologize in advance for what follows) this was just another plan that didn't quite come together.

SLAY Film Fest
In person at the Clinton St. Theater 10/29 & 10/30