The A-Team (3/10)
by Tony Medley
Run time 117 minutes.
Not for children.
Steve Cannell produced some
of the greatest TV shows, including The Rockford Files. I was a
fan of all of his shows save one. That one was The A-Team, a show
that never captured me. Here is an excerpt from an interview I did with
Cannell in 2008:
Cannell: I created The A-Team with Frank Lupo. We put it on NBC
and saved the network with it. That was the show that turned the network
around and saved Brandon Tartikoff’s job and everybody’s job. When they
got that megahit, The A-Team, they had Hill Street Blues
on and stuff like that, and Cheers, but they weren’t doing any
And on comes The A-Team, which was critically reviled by
TM: But everybody watched it.
SC. But everybody watched it. It was a terribly entertaining show. It
literally turned the lights back on at NBC. Brandon in his book, The
Last Great Ride, credits the show. Brandon says he called everybody
up the night before we aired and said, “Get your resumes ready, guys,
because if this thing doesn’t work, we’re out of here.” That’s what he
TM: He knew everything was riding on that show?
SC: He knew it was riding on The A-Team, even though the
affiliate board hated the show…hated it. And it went on and it was the
number one show of the week, blew the lights out. The following week
when it went on in its normal time period, it got like a 40 share,
So now Cannell has made it
into a movie starring the inimitable Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, who
was largely responsible for the hit that The Hangover becamelast
year, and Jessica Biel. This conversion to cinema is shockingly
hackneyed for someone of Cannell’s talent. It was written by Joe
Carnahan, responsible for such dismal things as Smokin’ Aces
(2006) and Narc (2002). Carnahan shows no improvement with this.
This is little more than a
lot of noise and special effects without the fun that was supposed to
accompany the TV show. It uses more bullets per second than any film
I’ve seen in a long time and the bullets never seem to hit anything but
windows. It’s impossible to think that so many bullets could be fired at
human targets close by and never hit anybody!
How interminable is this?
It takes an hour to setup. That’s longer than half the movie, just to
get the theme setup for the A Team to get double-crossed and get out of
jail to try to right a wrong and wreak their revenge. By that time I was
doing everything I could just to stay in my seat for the remainder of
Liam Neeson is terribly
miscast as George Peppard’s replacement as Hannibal Smith, the leader of
the team. Peppard was a cocky, cigar-chomping leader. Neeson is just
thoughtful. The most disappointing part of the cast is former UFC light
heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson who takes over Mr. T’s
role as the B. A. Baracus, the black muscle of the team. Jackson
exhibits none of Mr. T’s charisma.
It’s not all terrible. For
one thing, Cannell keeps crude language out of the film. There isn’t one
f-bomb. Women might find Bradley Cooper’s constant appearances sans
shirt appealing. And Patrick Wilson is a fine bad guy.