Greg Hunter

A-Team Movie Rumor Rundown: A+ Casting or the Building of an A-BOMB!?

In Film and Television on September 19, 2009 at 1:03 AM

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There’s nothing about ’80s TV action show The A-Team that can’t be explained by its theme song. To catch up, click here

At first thought, Liam Neeson’s decision to play A-Team leader Hannibal Smith in the upcoming film adaptation seems like a real boon for the movie. He’s a talented actor, and his stock as an action star has risen in recent years with films like Batman Begins and the surprise hit Taken. The problem is, casting Liam Neeson in a film means giving Liam Neeson time to act, which may not be the best thing for The A-Team.

Consider two other recent films, J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek and Michael Bay’s Transformers. There was adequate attention to character in Star Trek, and sure, the movie would have suffered without it. But its appeal was in how briskly and vigorously the film moved from one action scene to the next–no one involved seemed to forget what a fun, exciting world its characters inhabited, even as they paused to show us the inner turmoil of Spock. In Transformers, conversely, a (presumable) lack of confidence in the source material leds to the creation of a tediously elaborate mythology that made the already-bloated film sag even more. (God only knows what the Monopoly adaptation’s gonna look like.) Giant robots don’t need to be meaningful, because they’re already cool. Giant robots are cool because they are giant robots. So it is with the A-Team, eclectic, well-intentioned soldiers of fortune who ride around in a conversion van. If Neeson uses The A-Team to chew scenery in a way he usually couldn’t get a way with, it could be a good time. But if he’s used to lend gravitas to a film that by all rights should have no gravitas, then probably best to skip it.

The A-Team‘s director is Joe Carnahan, a choice which reveals surprisingly little. Carnahan wrote and directed 2002’s Narc, a crime film that was a critical hit, as well as 2007’s Smokin’ Aces, a knock-off of Pulp Fiction knock-offs that didn’t seem to fare well with anyone. (According to Wikipedia, he’s also responsible for Blood, Guts, Bullets and Octane, a 1998 road movie with the tagline, “Two cats…one car…and a world of hurt…”) The casting of District 9‘s Sharlto Copley is promising; the rumor of a Bradley Cooper-Jessica Biel onscreen romance is not. Let’s hope Carnahan follows Abrams’ example and keeps his movie the right kind of dumb. Especially if the UFC’s “Rampage” Jackson (assuming Mr. T’s role) proves to not be an actor of Neeson’s caliber.

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  1. […] still up don’t allow embedding–and its minute and a half of footage basically satisfies earlier speculation here on The Gutter about what the film will be. (Liam Neeson gets to mug, but not too much, and […]

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