— by BEN FOWLER —
At first glance, you may think that since this film has been in development hell since the mid-1990s and various writers have come and gone and even the original director bailed, that “The A-Team” is going to bomb bigger than any “remake” of recent years. But to me there is so much evidence to believe the opposite.
What’s more, if the story is told right, this could be the beginning of a successful new franchise. And you know that’s always what Hollywood is aiming for these days.
Joe Carnaghan was born for this job. His work until now has almost been to prepare him for this film. Under his stewardship, our favourite war veterans are gonna go with a harder edge (but not too hard, I imagine) into battle. And you can bet that a few of the bullets from this A-Team aren’t gonna be simply hitting the woodwork around the bad guys.
His 2006 movie, “Smokin’ Aces,” shows how he can do gun play and fun all rolled into one. And the criminally under-rated “Narc” shows how good he is at intense scenes and getting the best from the talent he has. Which brings me to my next point …
What an inspired lineup! It’s way too easy (and I fell into this) to simply roll off the obvious “Hollywood” choices for the iconic foursome. George Clooney as Hannibal, Brad Pitt as Face, Jim Carrey as Murdock and Ving Rhames/Michael Clarke Duncan as B.A. That’s probably why you and I are not casting directors.
Because what they have done with this production is put together an a-team of an A-Team! Liam Neeson-never-pictured-for-the-role-but-perfect-now-that-he’s-in-it as Hannibal Smith. Then you have the less obvious, but equally-fitting Bradley Cooper to provide the eye-candy for the ladies as Templeton “Faceman” Peck. Then, admittedly, you do have the more untested quantity in Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Sharlto Copley as B.A. Baracus as “Howling Mad” Murdock, respectively.
Copley obviously made an impact earlier in the year with his performance in “District 9,” and the buzz that seems to be spreading around about him is that he is a talent to watch. He certainly has the look, I think, to play Murdock. My very first thought, when hearing of “Rampage” Jackson to play Bad Attitude Baracus were that he wasn’t even an actor. But let’s remember that Mr. T had only one or two roles under his gold-plated belt before signing onto “The A-Team” TV show, and he was primarily known up until that point as a bodyguard. So, since the main role of B.A. is to bring the pain, I think Jackson can bring it.
And now, we have the cast picture that was released last week (see it below). Maybe it’s just me, but I think that if you squint very slightly, you can see George Peppard himself back in the iconic role. The image shows how they have updated and modernized the A-Team and yet at the same time, they are instantly recognizable.
To top it all off, they even have Stephen J. Cannell back onboard to help update the story and characters and yet, hopefully, keep the spirit we loved from the original show. They are updating the setting too, so that now the team are Iraq War veterans running from the military.
There are always some question marks over certain aspects of film production and whether it will work in the final cut. The one that springs to mind here is the role of Jessica Biel’s character as an ex of Cooper’s “Faceman,” but also the high ranking military officer chasing them. A little young to be on par with the previous colonels and generals that preceded her, perhaps?
All in all, I can see “The A-Team” taking a haul at the box office and, I hope, a successful new franchise is born. And unlike the previous “A-Team,” I can see these guys hitting the spot.
Follow Ben Fowler on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Localboy99.