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Review: Piranha 2: The Spawning (1981) by Jamie

Ah, Piranha 2. Whether he likes it or not, and believe me he doesn’t, this will be regarded by most people as James Cameron’s first film. I will be one of those people because James Cameron is a massive, massive douche bag. That’s not a comment on his film making abilities. You’d have to be an idiot to say he isn’t a great filmmaker but I just wish he’d knew when to keep his damn mouth shut because when he does speak, well, it makes him come off as a massive, massive douche bag. Take what he had to say about Piranha 3D’ recently. I hate pretty much every statement he makes in that interview. 3D is a gimmick whether you like it or not James. Piranha 3D understood that and it’s the first film using the new 3D technology that I’ve actually enjoyed due to the 3D rather than in spite of it. Still, I’m getting ahead of myself.

So yes, to be fair to Cameron, he was indeed replaced on this Italian produced sequel to 1978’s awesome ‘Piranha’ by Joe Dante. I’m not actually sure if the producers of this film got any kind of permission to make this sequel. I know that uber-B-movie producer Roger Corman, who produced the first film, isn’t involved at all which is a pretty bad sign because Roger Corman is awesome at what he does. Also because this is an Italian production James Cameron had the unenviable task of working with an all Italian crew who spoke no English though it probably couldn’t have hurt if maybe he learnt a little Italian. To top it all off he had to work with executive producer Ovidio G. Assonitis, a man who disliked everything Cameron did and had final say about everything. So in the end they fired Cameron, brought on an Italian director to do the film how they wanted it done but they left Cameron’s name on it because they were contractually couldn’t submit the film with an Italian name, leaving Cameron with this stain on his flexography for the rest of time. Poor James Cameron. He’s still a douche bag though.

So what’s this film about? Well, ostensibly piranha. Flying piranha at that but they don’t really show up much and when they do the screen is so dark that it can be hard to ascertain exactly what’s going on. The basic gist of the story is that a military ship has sunk carrying a batch of mutant piranha eggs. This time they’ve had their DNA mixed with a whole muddle of other fish including flying fish hence their new found powers of aviation. I don’t mean to be a stickler here but flying fish cannot fly like bats. They just sort of glide. Sure their “wings” might wobble a bit as they move from side to side to change direction but it’s certainly not flapping. Seriously, it’s a fucking B-Movie just mix the fucking piranha DNA with bat DNA. Do you know how awesome a piranha would look with bat wings?

That Fucking Awesome.

And why are the military still messing about with Piranha anyway? Didn’t they learn anything from the events of the first Piranha outbreak back in 1978? Did they actually manage to cover up that stuff? Did nobody find out that the military were behind it because if they did I can only assume that there would be massive investigations into their secret activities and any piranha-based research would be stopped immediately.

I’ll be honest. Describing the plot is going to be difficult because whilst I was watching this I kept on zoning out and just getting distracted by far more interesting things like practicing Guitar Hero without turning the game on and looking at bits of fluff I found on my bedroom floor. Also there are far, far too many different plot threads than there should be in a killer fish movie. Basically, there’s a diving instructor who has someone get eaten on her during one of their dives, one of her students is actually a government agent trying to find out if the piranha are there, her ex-husband is the sheriff who is played by Lance Henriksen (the only decent acting performance in the entire film really) who goes around kind of harassing people but mainly for their own safety, there’s their son who is hired to work on a rich guy’s yacht and his adventures with the rich guy’s sexy young daughter, there’s the resort owner who refuses to close the resort on their biggest day of business (of course), there’s the couple of girls who trick a retarded chef into giving them free food by offering him a threesome, there’s the local fisherman and his son who hunt for fish with dynamite, there’s the ugly girl who falls in love with the ugly dentist and there’s many more that I’m sure I’m forgetting. The point is most of that is completely ancillary. Just give me one main plot thread, maybe a side plot as well and then have piranha attack things. Is that so hard?

To top everything off, not only is the plot a mess but so is the film-making side of things. The camera work is atrocious, framing characters in such a way that it seems as though you’re supposed to be paying attention to what the extras in the background are doing sometimes and at others it just cuts the top of a characters head off at a bizarre angle in a way that just shouldn’t be done in any film ever. As mentioned previously the film is also really poorly lit, especially towards the end when most of the piranha action actually happens. Even so, the piranha look fucking atrocious as they fly towards people guided by sometimes clearly visible wires. It’s all such a massive, massive disappointment after the enjoyment that could be had watching the first film.

Well, there you have it. Piranha 2 is a very, very bad film and I mean genuinely b ad. It isn’t the kind of film you can watch and have fun watching because of it’s awfulness, it’s just awful. The one highlight is Lance Henriksen. He’s always enjoyable to watch and it’s kind of weird to see him looking kind of young here. Actually the rich guy’s daughter is kinda cute. Let’s look her up and see if she’s doing anything these days. Let’s see… Her name is Leslie Graves… Leslie Graves… Ah, here we go… Oh, she died in 1995 from an AIDS-related illness. Well, thanks for that movie. That’s really depressing. Just what you need after a bad film. Hopefully I’ll find some joy in tomorrow’s offering, the 1995 remake of the original Piranha! Join us then and find out… Oh, and the rating for Piranha 2 is one pint out of five. Laterz.



Review: Piranha (1978) by Jamie

Spoilers Ahead!

The Discovery Channel’s ‘Shark Week’ has been and gone, you’ve watched Jaws and it’s sequels a thousand times and Mega Shark VS Giant Octopus has begun to lose it’s lustre so what the hell are you going to do when you’ve still got an appetite for killer fish? Well, there’s always a few films involving killer fish that aren’t sharks. That’s right, I’m talking about those other fish which people seem to have hyped up as being some kind of serial killing eating machines, Piranha.

I’ve always loved Piranha. Even if their reputation is massively, massively exaggerated, they still look fucking awesome. They look like the kind of fish that deserve to have said about them the things that people say about them. Despite my love of the toothy little bastards, however, I have never watched any of the films in the ‘Piranha’ series. In fact, I don’t think I’d ever watched any films about piranha at all. Still, if there’s any time to start, now seems to be it what with the recent release of ‘Piranha 3D’. So over the course of the next few days, I’ll be reviewing each Piranha film plus a couple from outside the series including the Asylum produced mock buster ‘Mega Piranha’. Anyway, let’s begin at the beginning for it is a very good place to begin with Joe Dante’s original film, Piranha from 1978.

Now there’s one thing that confuses me about this film. Why is it always touted as being a parody of Jaws? I understand that the reason it was made was because Jaws existed in the first place but a lot of nature horror films followed the sharks release into the cinema and they’re not all considered parodies. Yes, the poster for the film certainly parodies Jaws and the film is definitely funny but then so was Jaws. The main reason I don’t buy this film as a parody is that the titular piranha are an actual threat in the film. The kind of thing I would expect in a parody would be the piranha doing weird and wacky things but in this film they are presented as a real threat. There’s no sense of parody in the piranha’s behaviour whatsoever. There aren’t any even any characters that I would consider a direct parody of the characters in Jaws either. Sure there’s that guy who always appears in Joe Dante films (Dick Miller) playing the owner of the water park who’s kinda like the mayor in Jaws in that he doesn’t want to close his water park because of the money he loses but those characters are invariably always in films involving killer fish so again, not really a parody. Sorry I went off a bit there but I jut don’t think it’s fair to just label this film as a parody of Jaws. It has merit of it’s own.

Anyway, if there’s one thing I’ve learnt about Joe Dante over the years it’s that he makes really good films about small things attacking people. Gremlins, Gremlins 2 and Small Soldiers (admittedly the weakest but still enjoyable) are all examples of this and Piranha is no exception. The basic gist is that the military had bio-engineered a new strain of piranha to use in the Vietnam war. The project was discontinued but the fish survived, studied under the watchful eye of Dr. Hoak (Kevin McCarthy). Unfortunately his watchful eye doesn’t prevent a pair of skinny dipping teens going into the piranha’s tank with predictable results.

The couples disappearance prompts the arrival of Maggie McKeon (Heather Menzies), a private investigator trying to find out what happened to them. She enlists the aid of local alcoholic Paul Grogan (Bradford Dillman) to guide her to where the teens may have gone. They head to the apparently abandoned military base and, finding stuff belonging to the couple, decide to drain the pool to see if they have drowned in it thereby releasing the mutant piranha into the local river. Hmm, guess Dr Hoak doesn’t have that much of a watchful eye after all. In fact he really, really sucks at watching out for anything.

The trio decide that they have to try and stop the piranha from reaching the summer camp down stream where Grogan’s daughter is in attendance. To do this they take a raft down river, hoping to reach the dam operator at the bottom in order to prevent him from flushing water through, granting the piranha access to the summer camp as well. As they travel they discover gruesome evidence that the piranhas are indeed incredibly vicious such as the half-eaten body of Grogan’s friend and a boy stranded on top of a capsized canoe after the piranha had eaten his father. Dr. Hoak meets his end whilst helping the boy onto the raft, perhaps hoping to make up for the mistake he made in creating the piranha in first place. Well, it doesn’t really. That boy’s father is still dead and so are you now, Dr. Hoak. The solution to death isn’t more death unless that’s what the voices in your head tell you in which case they are absolutely right and must be obeyed without question.

Anyway, they manage to prevent the flushing of the dam but unfortunately there is a tributary which circumvents it. Double unfortunately the military show up and prevent them from contacting the media in order to keep Operation: Razorteeth (The best name for a military project in the history of forever. In fact, I hope that the military is actually working on creating vicious, mutant piranha just so that they can use that name for real. That would be awesome.) top secret so there’s no way to warn anyone about the the school of killer fish heading for the summer camp and subsequently a summer water park (having it’s opening day no less, so you know it’ll be busy. What are the odds?) further down river. They even go to the length of having the local law enforcement lock them up so they can’t fuck up the secrecy of their little fish project.

I’ll be honest, this confuses the fuck out of me. They don’t even seem to do anything about the killer piranha heading for civilians so how the fuck they think keeping everything hush hush will work out well for them is anyone’s guess. Seriously, just admit you created a race of super piranha and they were accidentally released into the river. It’s going to go a lot better for you publicity wise than having the super piranha kill a bunch of people. Reporters will find out what happened, especially reporters in 70s America. They were all bolstered by the Watergate Scandal and that. They will find out that the piranha came from your facility and that you did nothing to prevent the deaths of innocent people. Shit will not look good for you, that’s all I’m saying.

Anyway, the piranha make it down stream and attack the summer camp though Grogan’s daughter is saved due to her fear of water and they head even further down to the water park with results that are just as predictable as those earlier involving the skinny dipping teens. There’s even bigger problems though. Grogan remembers that the pool in the research facility contained salt water meaning these super piranha can survive in the sea which further means that if these fish keep heading down river they’ll make it to the ocean and be virtually unstoppable.

Grogan and McKeown head to a smelting plant where Grogan intends to open the refuse tanks so that the industrial waste can kill the school. Unfortunately the control room is now underwater and so he must dive into the water in order to carry out his plan. He ties a rope to himself and tells McKeown to count to a hundred and then drive their speed boat away as fast as she can. He struggles to turn the valve that would release the waste and the school begin to attack him until finally he manages to release it and he is pulled away to safety. The industrial waste is released, killing the school and proving that pollution can solve any problem. Fuck you Captain Planet and that kid who‘s power was Heart. Heart? What the fuck is that about anyway? You know what eats hearts? Super piranha, that‘s what.

Oh, I guess the pollution didn’t completely work because it’s heavily implied that some of the piranha made it through when there characteristic sound effect is played over an image of waves breaking over the shore. My apologies to Captain Planet. Not you though Heart Kid. You suck.

So that’s pretty much it and you know what? It was a damn enjoyable film. You don’t really see the piranha that much which works to the films benefit because it kind of suffers special effects wise in the same way that Jaws did except more so because the piranha puppets are no where near as complex as Bruce the shark but hey, at least they worked under water! The acting is really quite good, Grogan in particular is a very enjoyable character and his general surliness is kind of endearing. McKeon is also entertaining. Her character is clearly quite intelligent yet also a little ditzy as well. Also she flashes her tits for a brief moment and they’re not bad. Not bad at all.

Too sum up, Piranha is just a damn fun film. It’s certainly far better a film than something dealing with it’s rather schlocky subject matter has any right to be and I’d probably be surprised if it where anyone else directing this other than Joe Dante. He just does this kind of thing really, really well. So if you haven’t seen the 1978 classic creature feature Piranha then I highly recommend it. Four pints out of five. Join me again tomorrow for a look at Piranha 2: The Spawning. This time the piranha can fly! Will it make the film any better? Who can say either way? Me and I will tomorrow.



Review: The Expendables by Jamie

How do you review a film like The Expendables? You certainly can’t use the same standards you would when reviewing a film like Inception. You can’t judge a film like this based on it’s deep storyline. The Expendables sits in a class of it’s own in today’s movie landscape. It’s a throw back to a simpler time when action heroes were rarely introspective, were more muscle than man and used an array and amount of weaponry that would make militaristic dictators seethe with jealousy. That time was the 80s, when men were men unless they were New Romantics in which case men were god knows what.

This is possibly going to be my shortest review ever. I don’t wanna give away too much of what happens in the action scenes. I’ll just say that this film is everything you were hoping it would be. If you have testicles and even a passing interest in 80s action films then you owe it to yourself to see it. A warning to women though. There is so much testosterone on screen that you may leave the cinema with the beginnings of a beard and a voice that’s a few octaves lower. Things explode, people quip and Mickey Rourke in particular is awesome in the few scenes he’s in. Oh, and the scene between Arnie, Stallone and Willis is one of the most entertaining things I’ve seen all year. In short, this film is fucking awesome.

Is there anything bad? Well, whilst the film is a throw back to the classic 80s era of action the camera work certainly takes a bit of a cue from modern action films. At times it’s frantic, too close up and it can be difficult to make out what’s going on. Whilst Mickey Rourke is awesome, the rest of the acting is a little sub-par but then again these are action stars. You don’t go to see masters of the craft. Finally, for what little plot this film did have, it actually could have done (and this may be the only time I say this) with a little less. I suppose the story and sub-stories did lead to some pretty sweet action scenes so swings and roundabouts I suppose.

To sum up, go fucking see The Expendable. Do it! Do it now! It’s just really fucking fun. Four and a half pints out of five. Laterz



Cinepub Presents SyFy Presents: Dinoshark Review Preview by Jamie
21/08/2010, 2:52 pm
Filed under: Trailers | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

A preview for the review that will launch a new review series on Cinepub that takes a look at SyFy’s original movies. First up is Dinoshark

[blip.tv ?posts_id=4048322&dest=-1]



Review: Vampires Suck by Jamie

Who in their right mind would choose to review films? It’s a question I found myself asking whilst once again deciding that I should torture myself by sitting through another film from those comedic black holes Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. Yes, they’re back with a brand new “parody” film! I know, just like me your nipples are tingling with anticipation. No wait, that’s not anticipation. That’s revulsion. Thanks movie, you’ve annoyed my nipples.

So what the hell is there to say about this parody of the Twilight Saga? Well perhaps the most important thing to note is the title ‘Vampires Suck’. Why isn’t this film called Vampire Movie? I can only assume that the ____ Movie brand has been so damaged that they had no choice but to name it something different. Does that mean that the word movie itself is so tainted that we have to stop using it? Fair play I suppose because according to my Google Chrome spell checker the word movie doesn’t exist anyway.

So what of the plot? Well, if you’ve seen the first two Twilight films then you’ve seen this movie. Just imagine those films greatly condensed into about an hour and fifteen minutes but with the actual plot points replaced with bad jokes about Twilight or bad pop culture references. It’s pretty much the standard Friedberg/Seltzer fare. And it is, of course, pretty much all deeply, deeply unfunny. It did get a few chuckles out of me, generally when Diedrich Bader was on screen playing the role of the main characters father. He was kinda funny and made it at least… Well, not watchable but you could potentially aim your eyes at the screen and they wouldn’t leak blood for the entirety.

I don’t know what more I can really write about this without just repeating things from my ‘Meet The Spartans’ review or my ‘Disaster Movie’ review. It’s all pretty much the same awful, awful shit. There is a quick reference to Psycho which, due to it being one of my favourite films of all time, I can never ever forgive Friedberg and Seltzer for because now whenever I watch Psycho as small part of my brain is going to remember this film and for that they must both be punished. Besides that there’s also references to Facebook, the Kardashians, Lady Gaga and much more empty pointless references to things that are popular at the moment which will only cause it to age badly and make it even worse as time passes if that’s even possible.

I’m done with this film and these two cock squirts. The only reason I really watch these films is to write reviews like this were I get to use words like cock squirts. So let’s just sum up and hope once again that their career is over just like we did after Meet The Spartans and Disaster Movie. So what’s the final verdict? Well, it’s about as funny as genocide but still manages to be a little bit better than Disaster Movie which was as funny as an AIDS-ridden puppy being gang-raped… during a genocide. A half a pint out of five. Don’t watch it, don’t look at the posters or trailers for it. If you do happen to come into contact with it in any form just drink until you forget it. If you were watching Vampires Suck and someone stabbed you in the eyes, they’d be doing you a massive favour and you should at least by them a drink or something. Laterz.



Review: Alice In Wonderland by Jamie

Spoilers ahead.

No long, extended set up to this review. My head hurts again. You all know the basic history of Alice in Wonderland, especially the Disney version and if you don’t then where the hell have you been hiding all of your life?

Alright fine, quick summary. Little blonde girl called Alice ends up falling down a rabbit hole and ends up in a surreal nightmare world called Wonderland where everything is crazy as shit, cats disappear, people celebrate days that aren’t their birthdays and people play golf with flamingos. After all the craziness she finds her way back home.

There are we all caught up now? Good. Anyway, earlier this year saw the release of Tim Burton’s ‘Alice In Wonderland’ which I guess you could call a kind of pseudo-sequel to the Disney cartoon version. The film takes place when Alice is nineteen years old and, after running away from her engagement party, once again she finds herself following the White Rabbit down the rabbit hole and ending up in Wonderland again. Well, sort of anyway. For some reason Tim Burton has decided to rename Wonderland to Underland, explaining that Wonderland is what Alice mistakenly called it when she was there when she was a little girl.

I’d just like to know why? Why would you change the name of Wonderland. I’ve never read the books but a quick search of Wikipedia, guardian of all human knowledge, implies that the lands real name was never Underland in the books, it was always Wonderland. It’s the same problem that the recent ‘Last Airbender’ suffered from. Why would M. Night change the way the names are pronounced? More comparisons to the Last Airbender to come later.

Like right now. The main problem with this film is the first half. Much like the Last Airbender, scenes seem to skip through without any real character development at all. It seems as though Burton is just trying to hit notes and include as many familiar things from Wonderland as he can before getting where he really wants to be, the Tea Party scene with Johnny Depp as The Mad Hatter. Thankfully after that things seem to calm down a bit and things develop a little more like a film should. Still keep in mind that the Tea Part scene doesn’t occur until half an hour into the film so that’s a lot of time spent on stuff that Burton doesn’t seem that bothered about.

To be fair, things do become a bit more entertaining after that scene and the story seems to come together with the characters involved becoming a lot more fleshed out, particularly The Mad Hatter who, from what I can recall of the Disney film wasn’t that big of a character. Still I haven’t read the book so maybe I can’t judge.

Still, whilst the film does come together a bit more towards the end, it never really seems to deal that much with Alice until the films very final scene. Sure, what comes before does build her character up a little and influence the way in which she acts in the final scene but it’s not really clear how. You see, the entire point of the film is that you should take charge of your own life and do what you want to do. Alice does this in the end by deciding not to marry the man who had been set up for her, instead deciding to go into the opium trade or something. I’m not sure if that’s exactly the case but it’s the Victorian era and she goes to China on business so I’m assuming opium is involved somehow.

The point is, I’m not sure where she has gotten the idea to be in control of her life. Upon reaching Wonderland she is told that an ancient prophecy says that she will slay the Jabberwocky, defeating the Red Queen and allowing the White Queen to reclaim her throne. She then does this which essentially means she has done exactly what everyone has told her to do. In fact, whilst a little hesitant, she seems far more willing to do what other people have told her in Wonderland than she did on the surface before going there so the whole sudden realisation that she has to be her own master (Or mistress, I suppose but that just seems oddly sexual for some reason… possibly my depraved mind) seems to come completely out of left field.

All in all, the film isn’t bad. The special effects are beautiful and Tim Burton doesn’t seem to go into full kooky gothic Burton mode. You know what I’m talking about. Well, I guess now that I think about it again, he does but it seems a little more subtle some how. The acting is all pretty good, no one stood out as particularly bad and Stephen Fry is awesome as the Cheshire Cat. His performance just seems to convey exactly the way a cat with magical powers would be. Johnny Depp is pretty much as good as you’d expect him to be as well though he does look eerily like an insane, ginger Elijah Wood. Still, the film isn’t particularly good either. It’s just lacking something somewhere and it’s hard to put my finger on exactly what which is a shame because I really wish I could tell you what it was. Maybe it‘s just another case of style over substance from Tim Burton. Yep, that‘s probably it.

All in all, I suppose it’s worth a watch if there’s nothing else on, maybe a rental but I’d definitely watch it first before deciding whether or not to buy it. Still, I bet it looks good on Blu-Ray. Two and a half pints out of five. Laterz.



Review: The A-Team by Jamie

Pretty much spoiler free.

In the early 80s a TV show burst on to the screen with a hail of bullets (bullets that never hit anyone but you were fucked if you were a tyre.) That show was ‘The A-Team’ and everyone loved it. Literally everyone. Seriously, who the fuck doesn’t love The A-Team? If you answered “Me” then get out of here. I don’t need your type reading this blog… No, that’s mean. You can stay, I guess, but re-evaluate your life. Something has gone very, very wrong.

Why did we love the A-Team? Well, the opening intro and theme certainly had something to do with it. Let’s watch it now, won’t we?

See? You open a show like that and there’s no way in hell that the audience is going anywhere until that show’s final credits are rolling. There’s something about that theme tune that stirs the very souls of men. All men from all walks of life. If you begin humming the first few notes of that song, any man around you will join in. Then try getting that theme out of your head. It’s damn near impossible. In fact it’s a pretty sweet song to use if you’ve got something else stuck in your head. Go on, go listen to something guaranteed to get stuck in your head say ‘Africa’ by Toto or something and then listen to The A-Team theme. See, worked didn’t it?

So yes, we all have great love for the original series. So I personally met the first rumblings of a big screen version of an A-Team film with some trepidation and slight excitement. I remember first hearing about it years ago with people like Ice Cube and Jim Carrey attached at various points but then for a while it seemed as though everything had died down and the film was pretty much dead. Then came the announcements in 2009 that it was most definetly on, Liam Neeson was Hannibal, Bradley Cooper was Face, Sharlto Copley was Murdock and MMA fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson was B.A. Baracus. That same mixture of trepidation and excitement found it’s back into my mind.

So does this film live up to our memories of that original series? Well, in a way. Let’s get things straight right of the bat. This isn’t ‘Inception’. This isn’t some massive, high-art experiment in film making. It’s a film based on The A-Team, a beloved but admittedly cheesy TV show from the 80s so it doesn’t need to be. All I went into this film hoping was that it would be fun and keep at least somewhat true to the feel of the series.

Well, it certainly succeeds on the fun part. I certainly felt as though I had been entertained by the time that the end credits rolled. There’s enough crazy action shit going on here to keep the average A-Team fan entertained. There’s a tank falling from a plane with the team using it’s massive gun to help them to land. There’s a great scene early on with the team executing a massive elaborate plan in order to recover some US treasury plates from a shady group of mercenaries called Black Forest (Yeah, it’s not the most subtle of films) and the whole final showdown, whilst not as fun as some of the earlier stuff, does have a bazooka blowing a whole in a massive freight ship. So that’s cool.Oh, there’s also a kick ass scene involving a 3D movie and the original theme but to say too much would be giving it away.

But what about staying true to the spirit of the show? Well, for the most part I thought it actually captured it pretty well. The characters are fun, fairly decent adaptations of the ones from the 80s. Their interactions are enjoyable and, especially in the case of BA and Murdock, fairly accurate to the way they interacted in the show. There are, however, a few problems. First off, they actually shoot and kill people. What the hell? That’s not the A-Team I know and love. Hell, BA even breaks a dudes back and kills him at some point. I can see why Mr T didn’t exactly enjoy the film and said it focused a little too much on the violence.

Still, I feel as though some of this can be forgiven because of the nature of the film. You see this is very much an origin story, beginning just before the team has actually formed. Murdock meets BA in a desert in Mexico in one of the most ridiculous coincidences put on screen since Kirk stumbled across future Spock on the ice planet in the recent Star Trek film. They then go and save Face before busting Murdock out of a mental institution. It then cuts to 8 years and 80 successful missions later and you actually get to see them getting convicted for he crime they didn’t commit before busting out of jail and trying to hunt down the bastards who framed them in order to clear there name. To sum up, these guys aren’t yet the soldiers of fortune hiding out in the Los Angeles underground. They aren’t going up against over-zealous land developers and corrupt law enforcement officers. They’re fighting military, mercenaries and agents of the CIA. It makes sense for them to be a little more violent at this stage in their lives. I just hope if they do make a sequel and they are taking jobs and going against smaller scale bad guys they don’t kill them. They’d better not accept any cash either.

So what of the acting? Did the new guys manage to bring the old characters to life as we remembered them? Well, Liam Neeson is pretty much doing what Liam Neeson does, playing kind of a more lighted version of his character from ‘Taken’ but it works quite well as John “Hannibal” Smith, the older, gruff guy who’s seen some shit in his time and has a plan worked out in his mind for every situation. A plan, by the way, he is always glad for the coming together of. Did they make sense? I don’t care. Speaking of plans though, there are certain goddamn times throughout the film where I swear every fifth or sixth word out of Hannibal‘s mouth is the word plan. It really started to grate on my nerves.

Bradley Cooper is pretty much the perfect choice for Templeton “Face” Peck. I never really liked Face in the original TV show and I can’t really put my finger on why. There was just something about his cocky, smarminess that never sat right with me but I really enjoyed the character here. He’s just as cocky and just as smarmy and it just works. Maybe it’s because he’s kind of the main character here so he gets more to do whereas in the original series he always seemed like the one who had the least to do and he just didn’t stand out as much compared to the other three. But yeah, Cooper really pulls Face of well. He‘s even got that same kind of smile that Dirk Bennedict used to flash in the show.

Now, what can I say about Sharlto Copley? The man is a fucking great actor. He was brilliant in my favourite film last year, District 9, and he is perfect in the role of H.M. “Howling Mad” Murdock. He manages to capture that wackiness that Dwight Schultz used to bring to the character and is pretty damn funny throughout. They even managed to make him a little bit dangerously insane, at one point even going so far as to set Face on fire, apparently just for the fun of it which I enjoyed because to be fair, the character in the show never really seemed Howling Mad, he just seemed a bit eccentric.

The weakest link in the film by far is Quinton Jackson as Bosco “Bad Attitude” Baracus. There are times when he’s pretty much just imitating Mr. T and I suppose that if you playing B.A. Baracus in an A-Team film that’s kind of all you can do. In the original show the other actors seemed to actually be playing characters whereas Mr. T was just being Mr. T. Still, there are a lot of times when his line delivery just falls really flat. Still this is his first film role and I do think he’s got a lot of potential and good be quite a good actor if he works at it. I also really enjoyed his on screen chemistry with Sharlto Copley. They really seemed to capture the antagonistic relationship that the two had on the show. You also get to find out just why B.A. is afraid of flying which is a nice touch. Still, having Pity and Fool tattooed on his knuckles is a bit much.

There’s also the ‘fifth member’ of The A-Team, the van. All I’ll say is what happens to the van really, really pissed me off. Mother fuckers. It seems as though remakes nowadays always have to do something to destroy or mock something from the original. There’s Bubo the Owl in the Clash of the Titans remake, the ruining of the fly scene in The Karate Kid remake and what happens to the van here. I love that van and this is a damn outrage.

As for the rest of the cast well, let’s do a quick summary. Jessica Biel is really just there to move the plot along and be a love interest for Face which she does satisfactorily. Patrick Wilson is actually pretty fun as the C.I.A. Agent Lynch, being just slimy enough to be a fairly convincing villain and Brian Bloom is also pretty enjoyable as the slightly unhinged Brock Pike, a man who at one point seems to accept death as long as he isn’t shot by the incompetent C.I.A. agent who can’t even attach a silencer to a gun correctly.

So, what can I really say to sum up? Well, all in all the film is a fun, summer blockbuster that captures at least something of the spirit of the original show. Whilst I said that the actors did I pretty good job portraying the original characters, they still aren’t THE A-Team and they never will be but they are probably the best we could have hoped for. Well, maybe not Quinton Jackson but could they ever really find someone to fill Mr. T’s boots? Of course not and I still have faith that he will grow as an actor and be better if they do a sequel. And I really hope for a sequel. I really want to see the team become the soldiers of fortune they were in the show, helping out the little guy in small desert towns. Until then I’ll say that if you’re a fan of the show, you’ll enjoy this. It won’t be everything you’d hope it could have been but you’ll have a good time, especially considering some of the shit that’s come out this year. I rate The A-Team three and a half pints out of five. Laterz.

BONUS CONTENT!: Here’s a special message from the big man himself. I pity the fool who doesn’t take his advice.




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