Before the remake: The A-Team

Before the remake: The A-Team

So, have you ever watched a remake, and suddenly everybody cheers, and you have no idea why?

Oh, wait…that would assume that people cheer remakes. 😉

Actually, as people who have read my earlier post Hooray for remakes! know, some of the movies most likely to get the audience cheering are, in fact, remakes.

Anyway, what I thought I would do here is giving you some background, kind of a bluffer’s guide, to a remake opening soon.

The A-Team

What was the original?

A US primetime TV series that ran for five years starting in 1983

What’s the set-up?

A group of soldiers are falsely convicted of a crime and escape from prison.  In hiding from the government, they help those in need, typically using their special skills to overcome superior odds.  They are pursued by various military figures (initially, Colonel Lynch).

What’s the feel?

It’s an almost cartoony adventure show.  While the A-Team may blow up a car with an improvised bazooka, we always see that the bad guys are okay afterwards.  It’s a fun show, with elaborate plans and the good guys winning.

Who are the main characters?

“Hannibal” Smith (George Peppard in the original) is the leader of the group.  He’s an offbeat thinker who seems to almost always be having fun.  His plans are often elaborate and may involve big “set pieces”.  After all, his namesake took elephants over the alps!  He is a master of disguise, although his disguises may not be subtle…they work, but may be quite broad.  His catchphrase is “I love it when a plan comes together.”  He also is an “actor”, especially “in-the-suit” monsters in movies.  His physical affectations are constantly having a cigar, and black leather gloves.

B.A. Baracus (Mr. T) is a mechanical genius and the muscle of the group.  His nickname comes from “Bad Attitude”, and he does get angry easily.  His typical role is to put together some contraption.  He has a very distinctive look, including a hairstyle commonly referred to as a Mohawk, although Mr. T. said it was modeled after a Mandinka style.  He has a fear of flying, and doesn’t drink alcohol (he drinks milk quite a bit).   He doesn’t seem to like Murdoch very much, or at least is not comfortable with his quirks.

“Face” (Dirk Benedict) is a charming con man.  He’s not necessarily the best in a fight, although he can hold his own.  Women are often attracted to him: that’s part of his charm.

“Howling Mad” Murdoch (Dwight Shultz) is a great pilot, but may be actually crazy (but may be faking).  He seems to like living in a mental hospital, but sneaks out to join the team on missions.  He talks to his invisible dog, “Billy”, spins fantasies, sympathizes with cartoon characters, and so on.  He’s also very smart and speaks several languages. 

Anything else iconic about the series?

They drove around in a van.  This was famous enough to be referenced on an episode of Friends.

Sly nods (smile, tilt your chin, nod your head, and raise your eyebrows)

  • Mr. Lee (a disguise used by Hannibal to conduct business with clients…he works in a laundromat
  • “On the jazz” (a term coined by B.A. to say Hannibal is feeling the adrenaline rush)
  • The Aquamaniac (a monster Hannibal played)
  • Templeton Peck (Face’s real name)
  • Amy Amanda Allen (“Triple A”), a first season character who was a reporter
  • General Stockwell (a last season character who manipulated the team into doing missions for the government)

How could they mess up the remake?

The biggest problem would be making it too serious.  It would be an okay step up to include real violence and the results, but it should be fun, with broad situations. 

There, that should help. 🙂

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

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