Trailer Tuesday: The A-Team
Just before I vanished in early January, the teaser trailer for The A-Team was released online. The A-Team film is of course based on the classic action-comedy TV series that thrilled kids and (undemanding) adults across the world in the 1980s.
The original A-Team centred on a close-knit band of soldiers who were accused of a crime they didn't commit during the Vietnam War, and forced into a life on the run from the military police. Despite constant pursuit the former commando outfit begins functioning as mercenaries for hire, frequently coming to the defense of the abused and exploited.
The A-Team is led by disguise-loving, cigarette-chomping Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith, and the other 3 Team members are smooth-talking, handsome Lt. Templeton "Faceman" Peck, mentally unstable pilot Captain H.M. "Howling Mad" Murdock, and plane-phobic Sgt. B.A. "Bad Attitude" Baracus, who brings thick slabs of muscle and mechanical support to back the Team's cause.
Fans of the original TV series will be pleased to know that the A-Team's origins and basic storyline haven't been substantially changed for the big screen. The only difference in the filmic reimagining is that the A-Team are now veterans of the Iraqi War. And the 4 quirky heroes are obviously played by different actors:
- Schindler's List and Taken's Liam Neeson as Hannibal
- The Hangover's Bradley Cooper as Face
- UFC fighter Quinton "Rampage" Jackson as B.A. Baracus
- District 9's Sharlto Copley as Mad Murdock.
Out of interest, the film's cast also includes Patrick Wilson, and, to counter the sausage fest, Jessica Biel as Lt. Carissa Sosa, a former lover of Face, who is part of the investigative team tracking down the A-Team.
It's taken a surprisingly long time for an A-Team movie to be made. However, the recent surge in nostalgia regarding 80's TV means that the film is finally here, 23 years after the show's final series wrapped. And yes, for the record, the original Face and Murdock - Dirk Benedict and Dwight Schultz respectively - make cameo appearances in the film. Everyone's favourite original A-Team star, Mr T, does not however appear, having turned down his invitation from the filmmakers.
Looking at the trailer above, it's surprising how well the actors look in their iconic roles - even if rising star and hunk of the moment Bradley Cooper seems like he should more accurately be called "Chest" and not "Face". For years I thought it was obvious that Jim Carrey would be the perfect Mad Murdock but South African Copley seems to be just as much of a genius choice. In fact the only member of the A-Team who seems to be a tad light in terms of screen presence is martial artist-turned-actor Jackson. Then again, who could step into Mr T's boots without an unfavourable comparison?
All this said, judging the new A-Team by its trailer the film does seem disappointingly "vanilla". The TV series was cheese deluxe, packed with over-the-top action and nonsensical explosions. The only moment in the trailer that gets close to this level of enjoyable ridiculousness is the final sequence involving the battle between parachuting tank and plane.
It's worth noting at this point that the creator of the original A-Team TV show, writer-producer Stephen Joseph Cannell serves as creative consultant for the film version, which is produced by accomplished action movie makers, Ridley "Black Hawk Down, Body of Lies" and Tony "Top Gun, Enemy of the State" Scott. The A-Team is directed by Joe Carnahan, the man behind Narc and Smokin' Aces.
Although there was an announcement early during The A-Team's development that it is going to be tonally more akin to the Daniel Craig Bond films and Bourne Identity series, my ultimate hope is that, like G.I. Joe, at least some of the series original cheesy 80's flavour will seep into the finished film. There could be no greater crime than an over-serious, bland A-Team movie.
The A-Team is set for release in North America on 11 June. Unfortunately for South Africans we've got a bit of a wait after that. We'll only be able to watch the film in local cinemas from 30 July.