by Edward Adams
"I pity the fool who goes out tryin' a' take over da world, then runs home cryin' to his momma!"
- B.A. Baracus
Oh nostalgia. Remember when NBC's bad ass Army rogues ruled prime time. I'm talking about the A-Team: Hannibal, Face(man), Murdock and B.A. Baracus (even the name has a foot-to-ass quality about it). Each week we watched as these Awol soldiers of fortune - on the lam for a crime they didn't commit, brought down the bad guys with comedic misadventure and usually a pyrotechnic tour de force unseen on network television at the time. We were too young to realize just how cheesy the show really was, shit blew up and Mr. T was the man - 'nuff said.
When buzz about The A-Team movie began swirling about two years ago. People began speculating who would be cast as the new team. Rumors spread that Ice Cube would be cast as Baracus but we later found that would not be the case (thank God).
Although there's nothing like the real thing (baby), the new team looks pretty good. Liam Neeson is Hannibal and from the trailer is definitely channeling George Peppard's chauvinistic cigar smoking ring leader. Neeson seems to have reinvented himself as the new senior action go-to guy. At age 57, he's got recent action flicks to his credit including Taken and as Ra's Al Ghul in Batman Begins.
The guise of Faceman is being taken over by Bradley Cooper. I guess this will work, he was after all, he was the (pretty) face in last year's The Hangover. Cooper has that quality of playing the likable every man which we saw in last year's romantic comedies All About Steve and He's Just Not That Into You. I suspect he'll take the bulk of the zingers and act as comic relief in the film.
The last two members of the team were real shockers for me. First Sharlto Copley, the big-eyed South African actor who boomed on the scene as company man-turned-alien, Wikus Van De Merwe in District 9 will take on the role of "Howling Mad" Murdock. If you recall the show, Murdock was the pilot who didn't was a few cards short of a full deck when he joined the team. Can Copley bring the crazy, we'll just have to wait and see.
To cast Baracus, you have to have a serious bad ass who can give you just enough mean with twinge of teddy bear to pull it off. I think that's why they wanted Ice Cube for the part. Luckily they decided to put Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, the former UFC light-heavyweight title holder in the role. If you've never seen him in the octagon, you may have seen him in a couple of his straight to DVD movies - my favorite: Clive Barker's Midnight Meat Train. He's a good choice for B.A. simply because he's a menacing, kick-ass mofo.
Casting aside, I think the movie may be in good hands. The project is helmed by Joe Carnahan who gave us the sleek and dirty crime thriller, Smokin' Aces (and soon Smokin' Aces II). Carnahan's ability to frame an action intense film will probably up the ante on the expectations that are associated with the almost cartoonish feel of the original series. Another plus for Carnahan is his casting of Dirk Benedict and Dwight Shultz, the original Faceman and Murdock respectively in the film. IMDB doesn't mention what roles they'll play, but giving homage to the original team is always a plus in my book.
Does The A-Team have a foolproof plan to make this movie a hit, we'll just have to wait and see.
The A-Team. Directed by Joe Carnahan. Stars Liam Neeson, Sharlto Copley, Bradley Cooper, Quinton Jackson. Opens in theaters June 11, 2010.