“Overkill is underrated” muses Colonel Hannibal Smith (Liam Neeson) late in The A-Team, and in the case of this thoroughly unnecessary, doggedly silly, belligerently rollicking summer throwaway, he’s on the money. Joe Carnahan’s adaptation of Steven J. Cannell’s ‘80s TV series is as faithful as it needs to be in terms of character as well as set-up, finding the four Special Forces heroes – stogie-smoking Hannibal, cocky playboy Face (Bradley Cooper), schizo pilot Murdock (Sharlto Copley) and mohawked bruiser B.A. Baracus (UFC fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson) – attempting to clear their names after being framed for a crime they didn’t commit by nefarious government forces. Unlike Cannel’s episodic small-screen program, however, which for all its personality was generally a dully plotted slog, Carnahan ups everything to ludicrous heights. His A-Team is a smug, swaggering piece of cacophonous mayhem not tethered to any sort of emotionally engaging character drama or suspense narrative. Rarely has plot, or friendships and romantic relationships, been more superfluous, the proceedings instead guided by juvenile, demented can-you-believe-this verve. Carnahan’s combat incessantly devolves into incoherent camera-shaking in the dark but his insanity nonetheless has a goofy cartoon energy, just as his spastic cross-cutting – such as between team meetings where Hannibal and company lay out their schemes and footage of the schemes themselves – whiplashes the action into suitably frothy pandemonium. To be sure, it’s all mindless, pointless, self-satisfied carnage piggybacking on the carcass of a TV show no one cares about anymore, not to mention it’s a would-be blockbuster with the gall to invoke Gandhi quotes as motivation for a man to resume his murdering ways. Yet that doesn’t preclude the film from capturing the cheesy, giddy kill-‘em-all machismo that fuels countless disposable run-and-gun popcorn sagas, an admittedly aiming-low goal that it achieves in a cargo ship-exploding finale and, even better, an aerial dogfight involving a flying tank.