23. The A-Team

Speaking of mucking around with source material…

It certainly seemed like The A-Team was a movie that couldn’t miss. The original show was beloved, but nothing about it seemed sacrosanct, other than the necessity to avoid mocking Mr. T’s propensity for pitying “foo”s.

The cast seemed likewise stellar. Who doesn’t love a winking, wry Liam Neeson? Or Bradley Cooper in full-on crazy mode? Not to mention a severly unhinged Sharlto Copley? And Joe Carnahan’s the sort of director who knows how to shoot an action sequence, even if it sort of seems that maybe that’s all he knows how to shoot.

And on some level, The A-Team did kind of work. Watching Cooper grin maniacally while firing on fighter jets from a plummeting tank is great fun. I especially loved the way Copley seemed to actually be a mental patient who had somehow wandered in front of the camera while they shot the movie.

But somewhere along the line, I felt like maybe the screenwriter hadn’t been able to finish the script, and had instead written “BOOM!” on each of the last 20 pages. During the big finale, when the team was supposedly enacting a strategy of deception and slight-of-hand, we instead saw about ten minutes of explosions, followed by a random Jon Hamm cameo, then credits.

I love a good mindless action thriller as much as the next guy, but even those have some sort of vague plotlines and recognizable goals. Most of this was just muddled, boring madness.